After giving birth, you may notice some changes with your body that you may not have been expecting. Remember that it took nine months to get your body ready for childbirth so don’t be surprised when you don’t immediately return back to your normal self. It takes time, but you can get back to that state! On your journey towards recovery, be prepared for these primary changes.
Bathroom break, again? Your body stores fluid during pregnancy, but as your body is returning back to your pre-pregnancy state, it needs to get rid of the extra fluid, tissues, and blood via your kidneys. Thus, you will be peeing more often and in larger quantities the few days after giving birth. Furthermore, your pelvic floor muscles will be numb, so if you don’t feel when you need to go to the bathroom, don’t be scared as that numbness will go away. While you will be getting rid of a lot of fluid, you should continue to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Cramps, cramps, cramps. Your uterus begins to contract within minutes of giving birth, but it does not return to its normal size until weeks later. If you are experiencing cramps, it is probably your uterus contracting. This might feel like period cramps but in some cases the pain is more severe. Additionally, the inner layers that lined your uterus will need to clear out of your body. This will appear like period discharge, bright red at first, then it becomes a lighter color pink until it looks whitish-yellow before it ends. It is possible for this process to last up to six weeks.
Baby belly. Because your stomach muscles have been stretched and weakened, it will take a while for your belly to shrink back down to its pre-pregnancy size. After a vaginal birth, you can begin exercising your belly muscles as soon as possible to jump start your recovery.
Sitting may not be comfortable. After vaginal birth, nine out of 10 women have a tear or graze between the opening of their vagina and perineum (back passage). Although this tends to heal quickly, about one in 100 moms have a more severe tear or cut. Additionally, you may experience pain from your stitches for a few days or weeks, but cold gel packs can be used to soothe your perineum. In order to reduce the swelling and speed up healing, remember to do your kegel exercises.