While many pregnant people spend time preparing for labor and the arrival of their newborn, it’s also important to know what to expect for your own recovery after birth. You’ll be getting less sleep with a newborn around, but what else can you expect?
The obstetrician and gynecologist team at Rochester Regional Health covers some of the common physical and emotional changes you can expect after birth and when to call your provider.
If you had a C-section delivery, you may experience pain in your lower abdomen at the incision site. Your wound will take about six weeks to heal and you’ll have a scar that fades over time. You may lose feeling in the area of your incision which may come back at a later time.
“You may need to take pain relief medication for 7-10 days after your C-section, which your provider can prescribe and guide you through dosing on.”
If you had a vaginal birth, you may have experienced some tearing and pressure in your vaginal area. When you’re sent home from the hospital, we’ll give you a peri-bottle, ice pack and other tools to help keep the swelling down, the area clean and the pain minimized.
You may experience some pain in the first 2-3 days after birth, as your uterus contracts and goes back to its normal size pre-pregnancy.
New moms still look pregnant after delivery. While you’ll lose some of the weight immediately after delivering your little one, your body needs time to lose the remaining weight. Eating healthy and finding ways to be physically active, once approved by your provider, are great ways to boost your energy and make you feel better.
Vaginal bleeding after birth is normal – called lochia, your body sheds the tissue and blood that lined the uterus during your pregnancy immediately after and for up to six weeks following the birth.
“Lochia is like a very heavy period, with bleeding being the heaviest during the first three to ten days after birth. The color of the blood will go from dark red to pink to brown to yellow-white. Until the bleeding stops, we recommend using pads rather than tampons, which can cause infection.”
If you’re losing blood in large clots or need to change out your pads every hour or more, call your provider.
It’s important to try to stay hydrated and avoid getting constipated after birth. Drink as much water as you can and eat food with lots of fiber, like fruits and vegetables and wholegrains.
Avoiding constipation can help reduce abdominal pain and softer stools make those first few post-birth poops easier.
Throughout pregnancy and the months following delivery, your body goes through many hormonal changes which can lead to mood swings. These mood swings are natural and common.
Some women also experience more severe mood changes like postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. Postpartum depression affects up to 1 in 4 moms. Common signs include:
If you have any of these symptoms, call your provider right away – they can help you access resources and services, including therapy and medication.
In the first week after birth, your breasts will swell as they fill with milk for your newborn, causing them to feel sore and tender. This discomfort typically goes away as your baby breastfeeds more regularly. If you’re formula feeding, the engorgement will only last a few days until your body stops making milk.
If you are breastfeeding, you may experience some nipple pain and cracking during the first few days as you and your baby learn which positions work best and the optimal way to latch. If this pain does not go away, you should meet with a lactation consultant to make sure that your baby is latching correctly and for other breastfeeding tips.
You should call your provider right away if you:
“Your care team is here for you every step of the way, and that includes during your recovery after birth. Make sure to call us if you are feeling unwell, have a temperature or just want to make sure that the changes you’re experiencing are normal. We are happy to answer any questions you may have as you adjust to being home with your newborn.”
Explore the Rochester Regional Health childbirth centers at Unity Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital and United Memorial Medical Center. Our website includes virtual tours, links to online classes and easy ways to learn more about our team.Tour Our Childbirth Centers
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