Your Body After the Birth: What to Expect

Pregnancy is one of the biggest physical changes you’ll go through, and it takes a while to get back to normal. Find out what to expect after the birth.

 

First few days

Whether you’ve had a natural delivery or a Caesarean, you can expect to feel pretty delicate for the first few days after the birth.

Your breasts will start producing liquid, which is called colostrum. It’s a yellow colour and is packed with nutrients for your newborn. After 3 or 4 days, you’ll produce your first milk. See more on breastfeeding basics

Your tummy will still be quite big at first, as your muscles will have stretched and your uterus is still enlarged. You may feel cramps, a bit like period pain, as your uterus returns to its normal size. Try to avoid taking painkillers if you’re breastfeeding.

You may have less control over your bladder because your pelvic floor muscles are weakened. Find out how to strengthen your pelvic floor

If you had stitches for a tear or an episiotomy, they’re likely to be sore and tender at first.

You will bleed from your vagina after the birth, so make sure you have a stock of very absorbent sanitary towels ready. The flow will be heavy at first, but become lighter over a few weeks and then stop.

Mums who have had a Caesarean will need to stay in hospital for a few days and may not be able to drive for a few weeks.

 

How to take care of yourself

  • Get as much rest as you can. Lie on your side, not your back.
  • Don’t strain to move your bowels, especially if you have piles. You may not need to go at all for the first few days, and that’s normal.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • If you’ve had a Caesarean, avoid baths for the first few days.

 

When to see a doctor

Check with a doctor or midwife before taking painkillers while you are breastfeeding.

Talk to your doctor or midwife if your stitches are sore or uncomfortable.

 

First few weeks

During pregnancy, your body produces a substance called relaxin which makes you flexible enough to give birth. Your relaxin levels will still be high after birth, so you may be more prone to injury as your joints are highly flexible. Take extra care while exercising.

Some mums go through periods of low mood and tearfulness after giving birth – known as the baby blues.

You’ll probably notice some hair loss, too. During pregnancy, high oestrogen levels mean you shed less hair than usual. But once things get back to normal, the ‘extra’ hair will fall out and your hair will return to its old volume.

 

How to take care of yourself

If you’re feeling low or anxious, seek support from your partner, friends and family. Lots of women go through the baby blues, and luckily it usually passes quickly.

 

When to see your doctor

Seek help if you have been feeling low or depressed for longer than a couple of weeks.

 

Read more about tackling the baby blues

 

Did you know…?

Some new mothers feel a ‘phantom kicking’ in their wombs after the baby is born. Nobody is sure why this happens, but it could be contractions in the uterus as it shrinks back to normal size.

 

How dads can help

Listen to your partner and make sure she is comfortable. In the first few days especially when it’s hard for her to move around, take over practical tasks like housework, feeding and changing nappies.

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  1. Willie says:

    I’m so glad that the inetenrt allows free info like this!

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