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Post Childbirth: Changes In Your Body

Mother and baby with computer

Your body has been under a lot of strain over the last nine months and then through the birth so you will notice a lot of changes over the coming weeks.

You will have a blood-filled discharge from your vagina that’s known as lochia and this discharge will appear even if you’ve had a caesarean birth. At first the lochia will be red, before becoming brownish. Finally it will turn to a yellowish white. It will feel like a heavy period for around 10 days but it can continue sporadically for up to six weeks. The lochia will be lighter the more you rest, so get those feet up as much as possible!

Meanwhile, your womb is shrinking down to its usual size and position. As it contracts you may experience what’s known as ‘after-pains’, which can feel a lot like mild labour contractions. After-pains often occur when you’re breastfeeding because oxytocin, the hormone which encourages your womb to contract, gets released when you’re feeding your little one. It may also cause brighter or heavier blood loss.

Gradually your vagina will regain a lot of its former tone. And although your pelvic floor is stretched it will return to near its usual position. Help move this process along by doing pelvic floor exercises regularly as soon as you can after the birth.

Try to keep in mind that you will feel better soon. Any little tears and grazes to your vagina, cervix, and area between your vagina and back passage (perineum) should heal quickly so try not to worry. If you’ve had an episiotomy that can take longer to heal, and stitches can be sore for a few days or even perhaps weeks. Remember if you’re at all concerned about your healing process then do get in touch with your midwife.

Post Pregnancy Body

You might still have a few niggles such as:

  • Piles – but they should disappear gradually
  • Stretchmarks – on your tummy, thighs and breasts, especially if you gained a large amount of weight quickly during pregnancy
  • Swollen ankles – because of the extra fluid you have retained in pregnancy
  • Hair loss – because your hair became thicker in pregnancy, since hormones stopped normal hair loss. Once those hormone levels fall, you might find you lose the hair that you retained in pregnancy, but don’t worry – your hair is simply returning to how it was.

If you have had a caesarean you will be very sore and will often find it painful to move in the early days after the birth. Having said that, it will help your recovery along if you get mobile as quickly as you can.