What to expect after you give birth
In the first days after giving birth, it’s normal to feel a range of physical and emotional changes. Your doctor will provide care and advice appropriate for your pregnancy and delivery experience.
Some physical changes to expect include:
- Aches and pains: Your body has been through a traumatic experience. Pain is to be expected. You will also experience ‘after pains’ as your uterus contracts, which can range from dull aches to sharp pains. Paracetamol and anti-inflammatories are available if needed.
- Constipation: Your first bowel movement may not come for a few days after giving birth. Don’t force or strain yourself during this time. It can cause complications with your perineum or c-section incision. Drinking two to three litres of water per day and eating a high fibre diet will help.
- Hot and cold flashes: As your hormones even out, so too will your body temperature.
- Vaginal discharge: Known as lochia, you will experience a heavy menstrual flow following your birth. This will eventually fade to yellow or white discharge, which can take up to six weeks.
- Sore nipples and breasts: as your milk comes in, your breasts may be full and engorged and your nipples may be tender through the first few days of breastfeeding. This should ease if your baby is latching well.
- Weight: You can expect to lose three to six kilos after giving birth. Further weight loss will be slow and take some work. This is normal for all women.
Our physiotherapists will visit your room during your stay, and provide invaluable postnatal advice, helping you get started with key exercises that can ease some of the postnatal aches and pains.
Emotionally speaking, many women will go through the ‘baby blues’. It’s normal to go through a range of emotions as your hormones change following the birth of your baby. These feelings should start to subside after a week or two.
If these feelings don’t go away, it could be an early sign of postpartum depression. We offer a number of support options for new mums. Speak to your doctor for more information.
Find out more about the recovery process in our natural birth and caesarean birth sections.