Postpartum Recovery: How Your Body Heals After Childbirth

Congratulations! Your little bundle of joy is finally here. It’s been a long journey through pregnancy and childbirth, and you have watched your body change in so many ways. Now that your baby is finally here, we know you would love to bounce back to your old self as quickly as possible. 

postpartum recovery

However, you need to understand that your recovery postpartum will take longer than a few days. This holds true whether you gave birth naturally or through a C-section, or whether the delivery process was simple or difficult. 

Nevertheless, while you are waiting for your body to feel like it used to, it may be helpful to know what to expect through this recovery process. As always, we have compiled useful information to help you.

How Long Will Postpartum Recovery Take?

The first six weeks following delivery are typically regarded as the “Postpartum Recovery Period.” However, many women say they feel fully recovered by 6–8 weeks. Still, it may take other women longer to feel like themselves again.

These weeks after childbirth are crucial for healing and recuperation. Your body will require a lot of rest after nine months of growing and eventually birthing another human being. 

What Should You Expect During The Healing Process?

During postpartum recovery, your body will undergo or experience some changes as it heals. These changes are called ‘Postpartum Symptoms.’

The postpartum symptoms you experience may differ from those of other mothers. This is because  every new mom is different, so every woman will recover at a different rate with different postpartum symptoms. Postpartum Symptoms Include:

  • Tiredness.
  • Contractions (After-birth pains).
  • Hormone changes after childbirth.
  • Aching muscles.
  • Vaginal soreness and discomfort.
  • Sore or engorged breasts.
  • Cracked or sore nipples.
  • Constipation.
  • Lower abdomen discomfort on and around your C-section incision.
  • Vaginal discharge and bleeding.

Bleeding During Postpartum Recovery

It is important to remember that bleeding and discharge will occur even if you had a C-section. The blood will start as a bright red for one to two days before progressively fading to pink, light pink, light brown, or light yellow. 

Your bleeding and discharge will be at their heaviest in the first several days after giving birth, similar to when you have a really heavy period flow. However, this flow gets lighter as time passes. 

Usually bleeding lasts for four to six weeks, with the amount of discharge gradually reducing. Thus, be sure to inform your doctor right away if you’re soaking through one pad an hour for more than two hours and if you continue to pass blood clots or have bloody discharge for longer than four weeks. 

These signs do not immediately indicate that there something is wrong, but it is always best to call just to be safe and sure.

When Can You Expect Your First Postpartum Period?

Postpartum periods typically start again six to eight weeks after giving birth. Although, it is possible to get them as early as week 4 or 5.When you experience your first period after childbirth depends on many factors. One major factor is whether you’ve chosen to breastfeed your baby and if your breastmilk is their only food source.

The majority of mothers who breastfeed exclusively usually see their periods after they’re done nursing. If they temporarily stop nursing, they might also start their periods, especially at night. 

On the other hand, mothers who use formulas  or a mix of a formula and breastmilk may begin to see their period as early as five weeks after childbirth.

How to Speed Up the Postpartum Recovery Process

Although your body will not magically recover overnight, you can do a few things to speed up your postpartum recovery. Some of them include:

  • Stay healthy and active by eating well to ease fatigue and constipation and going on walks.
  • Use a heating pad to relieve pain and aches and, if required, take the medication your doctor has prescribed.
  • Help your perineum recover. To do this, you can apply ice to the region every couple of hours for the first 24 hours after giving birth, soak in warm water for about 20 minutes many times a day in the bathtub without using soap, and spray warm water over the area before and after urinating to prevent urine from irritating the torn skin.
  • Do your postpartum Kegel exercises.
  • Treat the scar from your C-section. Keep in mind to gently wash your C-section incision once daily with soap and water and dry with a fresh towel. 
  • Take good care of your breasts. In this case, nursing bras are a good suggestion as they are comfortable and provide easy access for breastfeeding or pumping. Also, use a warm compress, cold packs, or a light massage to ease aching breasts. 
  • Keep your doctor’s appointments since doing so will allow you to make sure that everything is healing as it should be.

When You Should See A Doctor

Before your next check-up, make sure to pay attention to your body to catch any signal it might be sending you. Contact your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any of the following: 

  • A fever over 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Vaginal discharge with a bad smell.
  • Severe headaches that don’t go away with medication.
  • Dizziness, nausea, or lightheadedness.
  • Lack of control over bowel movements or poop leakage.
  • Signs of postpartum depression.
  • Vision changes.

Take Home Message

After childbirth, your body will require sometime to heal and recuperate. You can speed up the process by eating healthy, staying active and getting enough rest. Take it one day at a time, and you would be back to your old self before you know it!