Surviving the First 6 Weeks Postpartum

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Postpartum is an absolute emotional roller coaster

During the first 6 weeks postpartum, there will be days when all some one does is look in your direction and you will cry.

You will cry big huge tears and not have a clue why you are crying.  I did this A LOT!

I was attempting to have an important conversation with a nurse in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and I burst into tears. Ugh! Hormones will get the best of you.  Just cry it out!

Luckily this random postpartum crying only lasted 2-3 weeks, for me.

I still struggled controlling my emotions during my first 6 weeks postpartum, but I wasn’t crying anymore if some one looked at me funny.

The blood, the pain, and the hormones. There is nothing I can say that will describe any of that accurately at all.  Know it’s coming and enjoy the ride. (haha!)

Pre-eclampsia postpartum

I was in the hospital for 4 and a half days because of pre-eclampsia.  You can read about how I handled my pre-eclampsia diagnosis and bed rest.

I went in on a Tuesday and left midday Saturday when my blood pressure was finally at a stable enough point to go home.

Pre-eclampsia does not go away once the baby is delivered, but delivery is the safest option for mom and baby because high blood pressure can be extremely dangerous.

I still had high blood pressure well after the 6 week mark.  It wasn’t dangerously high, but it was still in the 140 range.  I had to continue taking my blood pressure meds until it came back down to normal.

So, if you had pre-eclampsia, you will still want to take it easy, record your blood pressure readings, and continue taking your blood pressure medication if it was prescribed to you.

Or, if you get anxious with each blood pressure reading, like me, do not take your blood pressure and just take your medication appropriately.

Just expect to have at least the high blood pressure from the pre-eclampsia well throughout the fourth trimester.

C-section 6 week postpartum recovery tips

My situation is a little different than some you will read.

I didn’t come home with my baby because she was still in the NICU.

We had to deliver 6 weeks earlier due to my pre-eclampsia and her lack of growth in 2 weeks.

On top of that, I had to have a c-section because the baby was breech.

If you are having a c-section, this post about my c-section experience has some things you can expect.

How soon after a c-section can you drive?

If you have had a c-section, you will not be allowed to drive or lift anything heavier than your baby.

My doctor said to me I could drive when I could press the brakes and no longer feel pain or discomfort.

Due to my baby being in the NICU, I probably started driving well before I should have.

In the meantime, I put a towel or blanket between myself and the seatbelt so it wouldn’t touch or rub against my incision.

If you are having a c-section, have something soft and with good cushion between you and the seatbelt.

Being in the car was pretty awful.  You feel every bump, turn, sudden stop, you name it you will feel it.

C-section pain management

Most new moms are prescribed a pain killer and an anti-inflammatory like Motrin when they leave the hospital.

Either pick them up on the way home or have your husband go back out and get them.

You will want to stay on top of this if you are still experiencing a lot of pain.

I just took the Motrin (personal choice).

You won’t need these the full 6 weeks after delivery, but you may need them the first week or two.

Going home after delivery

**Remember, I don’t have a baby to look after, so my at home time is going to look a little different than yours.  It is the strangest and worst thing to come home without your baby.

But, once I was home, I took a shower.  Taking a shower at the hospital is great but nothing beats taking a shower at home.

My baby may not have been at home, but I was still pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock as if she were home.

So, after my shower, I was pumping immediately.

I was still fully sleep deprived.  Believe me, I didn’t miss out on that part. 😉

6 weeks postpartum bleeding

I never needed the maxi pads or depends; I simply used panty liners and this high-waisted underwear as my bleeding was not super heavy, but it did last all 6 weeks.

This doesn’t mean you won’t need them, so if you haven’t gotten them already, do get them just in case.

I believe the light bleeding may be contributed to the c-section, but it could also be to the fact I wasn’t super active for the first 6-weeks postpartum.

When I was active, the bleeding would start again.

Caring for your c-section incision

Once you are home, make sure to keep your incision clean and dry.

Watch it for any sudden changes and if you notice anything notify your doctor immediately.

Don’t be afraid to rub your wash cloth or loofah over the incision to make sure it gets soap and stays clean.

I will add our bed is somewhat high for me.  Our bed is high enough I feel as if I have to climb into it.

This was a no go for at least a week.

I slept in the guest room with a pillow under my belly and between my legs.

There is no shame if you are more comfortable on the couch.

Sleep wherever you feel the least amount of pain.

Can you do house work after a c-section?

The plan was to have my mom at our house for at least a week. But, if you have read any of my other posts you know NOTHING goes as planned, at least with me.

Because of my hospital stay at 32 weeks, my blood pressure spike and delivery at 34 weeks, and a baby in the NICU, there was no point in having my mom at our house and she wasn’t able to take any more time off work by time Baby G came home. ☹

If you are close with your mom or mother-in-law, have them come to your house and help you.

They can help with tasks around the house because if you have had a c-section, you are also not allowed to do major house work either.

That is one tiny check in the pro column for a c-section. (Finding the silver lining :p)

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Your mom or mother-in-law can also help you get on a schedule and normal routine.

Even if you are nursing or feeding on demand, it is really nice to have a set time or schedule for other things around the house.

They can even care for the baby while you nap.  You will want to get some sleep.

Have your friends set up a meal train.

This way you won’t have to even think about cooking for the first week or so.

This wasn’t possible for us, but I highly recommend getting it set up.

Hire help if you need to and are able

We hired a wonderful lady to clean our house for 6 months.

It was amazing!

That was one less thing to worry about.

I can’t begin to explain how much this helped because when my baby was able to come home our feeding situation was beyond stressful plus all the hormones.

It was nice to not have to worry about keeping our house clean too.

Spend the first 6 weeks postpartum taking time to heal

If you have your help lined up, spend that “extra time” concentrating on yourself and your baby.

Sleep when your baby sleeps.  The sleep deprivation that comes postpartum is something fierce.

Depending on your baby will depend on how long this lasts.

I always felt there was something I needed to be doing.  I didn’t want to look like I was sitting at home sleeping or watching tv all day.

Truth be told…it is ok to look like you have done nothing all day.

You have done something even more major than house work or shower or whatever else you think needs to be done.

Keeping a tiny human alive all day is a huge task.  You have kept them content, fed, and loved.

That is more important than house work.

Learn this now and life will be golden moving forward.

Get out of the house and get some fresh air

What can you do if you want to leave the house, but you are hesitant to do so?

Make up a reason to go to Target, or just go to Target.

I say Target because that is my go to store, but you can obviously pick whatever store is your favorite.

I would do this, and If I am honest, I still do this almost 11 months later.  There are times we just need to get out of the house and see the world even if it is just Target.

Find a mom group in your area.

Check your local library for story times.

It was so nice to have a neighbor let us know about baby story time.  This is something we both look forward to once a week.  It is also interaction with other babies that Baby G doesn’t normally get.

Walk around your neighborhood.  It is great for healing, and you are likely to pass many moms just like yourself along the way.  Say hello to them.  Set up a play-date.  Play-dates at this age are just as much for mom as they are baby.

6 weeks postpartum check-up

I will be discussing this in more detail later on in another post, but I wanted to touch on this really quick here.

What can you expect at your 6 weeks postpartum check up?

My 6 weeks postpartum check was highly uneventful.  The doctor checked my scar and that was about it.  He gave me the green light for exercise, sex, etc.

But, I still wasn’t feeling right.  I wasn’t in pain, but I was uncomfortable between my scar and my belly button.

The doctor pretty much just said I was still healing and to give it a little more time. This made sense, so I left it at that, and I assumed that I would eventually feel better.

This is where knowing what to expect postpartum is sooo important.

My 6 weeks postpartum check up was in May, and I was still feeling the same way in July for my annual visit, but I didn’t speak up then.

It took me 9 months postpartum to finally ask my doctor to refer me to a Pelvic Physical Therapist.

If you have had a vaginal birth or c-section, I highly recommend you go see one postpartum.

In this post, I discuss the different reasons you might need Pelvic Physical Therapy.

Don’t just start doing kegels and expect to feel better because it is likely you won’t.

You can survive the first 6 weeks postpartum

You got this!

Be sure to fight for yourself AT ALL TIMES!

Long story short, ask questions, push the limits, and demand options and answers.

This isn’t for anyone but you and you need to be the best version of yourself for your new baby.

**If you are still experiencing symptoms after 6 weeks postpartum, you need to contact your doctor right away.

What really helped you your first 6 weeks at home postpartum? Let me know in the comments below.

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