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  • "Breastfeeding will prevent pregnancy."

  • We hear this all the time.

  • "Your vagina will become loose after giving birth."

  • I really do think this is a myth,

  • and one that we hear quite a bit.

  • [sighs] My favorite.

  • "Once you have one C-section,

  • you'll need to keep having them."

  • One C-section doesn't mean always a C-section.

  • I'm Dr. Laura Riley,

  • and I'm the chair of OB-GYN at Weill Cornell Medicine

  • and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

  • I'm a high-risk obstetrician,

  • otherwise known as maternal fetal medicine specialist.

  • And I'm Dr. Dena Goffman.

  • I'm the chief of obstetrics at Columbia University

  • and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

  • I'm also a maternal fetal medicine physician,

  • and today we will be debunking postpartum myths.

  • "Your baby bump disappears after you give birth."

  • We wish.

  • Your baby bump is probably going to last

  • several weeks after birth,

  • so don't bring anything too tight

  • to the hospital to go home with.

  • You still have the baby bump because your uterus

  • does not completely contract down to its normal size

  • after having a baby.

  • There is normal weight gain in pregnancy,

  • which isn't lost immediately.

  • Decrease in bowel function.

  • Everything needs to sort of take time

  • to move back towards normal.

  • So don't be discouraged if it takes time

  • for your baby bump to disappear.

  • "Your vagina will become loose after giving birth."

  • There may be changes in the short term.

  • And they'll say, "Oh, it just doesn't feel right."

  • You know, my answer to that

  • is just give it a little bit of time.

  • The blood flow to the vagina is great,

  • and so it's going to heal really quickly.

  • Those lacerations will heal,

  • but it may take a little bit more time

  • for some of the swelling to go away,

  • but that's going to all get better within weeks.

  • The other thing I would add

  • is that there are muscles in the vagina,

  • and those muscles may not have been used as much

  • during a nine-month pregnancy

  • or the immediate postpartum period,

  • but they can also be strengthened and improve over time.

  • "You can have sex right after childbirth."

  • So, this is a myth.

  • I can assure you that you won't want to have sex

  • right after childbirth,

  • no matter what your birth experience is.

  • For most patients,

  • this isn't something that they're thinking about doing

  • in the immediate postpartum period.

  • Yeah. I think that there's kind of two parts to this.

  • One is comfort.

  • It's unlikely that you'll be comfortable.

  • But the other reason is sort of a safety thing.

  • If your cervix is open, which we know it will be,

  • our concern is that the organisms in the vagina

  • will get into your uterus and increase the likelihood

  • that you get an infection.

  • And so that's part of the reason that we tell people

  • don't have intercourse

  • until the bleeding is completely stopped.

  • Oh, boy. OK.

  • How bad is it?

  • "Breastfeeding will come naturally." Oh.

  • Many patients after having gone through

  • pregnancy education, childbirth education,

  • and lactation education

  • still feel like they're supposed to know how to do this

  • as soon as they have their newborn in their arms.

  • And I would just really want to debunk that myth,

  • that somehow we're born to know how to breastfeed.

  • I remember my own frustration.

  • I thought, "I've been a physician for six years.

  • I've done all the education,

  • and I've educated other people."

  • And I get this baby, and the breastfeeding,

  • it felt like a disaster.

  • Breastfeeding is a process.

  • You got to be patient with yourself,

  • you got to be patient with your baby,

  • and sometimes it's working and you just don't believe it.

  • The way you know that the breastfeeding is working

  • and your baby's getting enough is weighing your baby.

  • You'd go to the pediatrician, and the pediatrician says,

  • "Your baby looks beautiful."

  • Maybe he's gained a little bit of weight,

  • or your baby's not continuing to lose weight,

  • and your baby's not jaundiced.

  • All those things point to the fact

  • that the breastfeeding is working.

  • And I think sometimes our patients feel like

  • because it's breastfeeding

  • that they're single-handedly responsible

  • for this piece of the newborn's life.

  • I like to make it a team sport

  • where everyone's participating,

  • to have someone else do some of the other stuff,

  • the burping, the changing, putting down to rest,

  • while you actually get some rest

  • so that your body can do this important work.

  • "Breastfeeding will help you

  • lose all the baby weight quickly."

  • You do need to increase your calories,

  • but most people will burn somewhere

  • around 800 extra calories a day in breastfeeding.

  • That is going to help you lose the weight.

  • I just wouldn't say

  • it's going to help you lose all the weight.

  • Breastfeeding is wonderful, but it's not magic.

  • Patients will come back at the six-week visit,

  • "Why am I still holding on to this?"

  • It took you nine months to put this weight on.

  • It's going to take some time to take it off.

  • Four months, six months for most people.

  • Is it normal for nursing to hurt?

  • It's not normal for nursing to hurt.

  • It shouldn't be excruciating or painful.

  • I think there are discomforts in the initial period.

  • Getting your newborn to latch appropriately

  • is a new sensation,

  • and then the first time the milk lets down,

  • that's another new sensation.

  • I hear what you're saying,

  • but the very first time that baby latches properly

  • and puts a huge amount of suction

  • on an area that is incredibly sensitive,

  • that is not nice.

  • I think that that's pain,

  • but the issue is it initially is uncomfortable,

  • and then it starts to get better.

  • It shouldn't continue to hurt for weeks.

  • So if it is seriously painful,

  • that's when you want the consultant to come in and say,

  • is this baby properly placed?

  • Because if the baby isn't properly placed on the nipple,

  • it really will hurt.

  • You can get little cuts.

  • You don't want to go down that road.

  • I tell people to get frozen peas.

  • That cold will help reduce

  • some of that discomfort and engorgement

  • and will actually conform to your breast,

  • and you can just plop them right into your bra.

  • "Your milk supply can't be improved."

  • Your milk supply can be improved.

  • Your body makes milk

  • when it perceives the need for milk.

  • So the more you put the baby to the breast

  • or a high-quality pump

  • that can do almost as well as a newborn

  • to drain what's currently in the breast

  • is the signal for your body to make the next batch of milk.

  • You just have to keep feeding, stimulating,

  • telling your body that there's a baby here who needs milk,

  • and your body will make it.

  • Your body learns that habit,

  • which is just fascinating to see and to have experienced.

  • It really is about breastfeeding regularly, pumping,

  • and then paying attention to the fact

  • that hopefully you're not dehydrated,

  • you're not overly stressed,

  • you're not running around doing all these other things

  • that can make it hard for your body to continue to keep up.

  • "Breastfeeding makes your baby clingy and dependent." Myth.

  • This is definitely not true.

  • Breastfed babies end up needing you for those feeds,