A lot happens in the first few days after the birth of your child. There’ll be physical and emotional changes.
What will be happening in my body?
In the week or so after birth, you’ll bleed from your vagina. The blood is called ‘lochia’. It is bright red and heavy and might have clots. This is normal, but if you pass a clot bigger than a 50 cent piece or notice a bad smell, tell your midwife. You can expect to see lochia for 4 to 6 weeks. Eventually, it will become lighter, reddish-brown or pink.
Some women have pains for a few days after birth. After-birth pains can feel like labour pains or mild to moderate period pain. This pain comes from your uterus contracting towards its pre-pregnancy size. They are more common in women who have had other babies than in women who have just had their first baby.
You might notice after-birth pains when you’re breastfeeding. As your baby suckles, your body produces hormones that shrink your uterus. A warm pack on your back or belly may help. You can also ask your doctor or midwife for pain relief.
If you’ve had stitches after tearing or an episiotomy, bathe the area often in clean warm water to help it heal. Have a bath or shower with plain warm water and after bathing, dry yourself carefully. In the first few days, remember to sit down gently and lie on your side rather than on your back. Pelvic floor exercises can also help to heal.
You will have a free check-up 6 weeks after the birth of your baby called the post-natal check. This will be done by your GP or obstetrician. The aim of this check is to ensure you are recovering from giving birth, and that you are feeling well.
When recovering post-birth:
Drink plenty of fluid and eat plenty of fibre so your bowel motions are soft. Your bowels should open within 3 days after birth. If you have swelling, stitches or varicose veins in your vulva, your first bowel movement may be uncomfortable. Avoid straining.
Talk to your doctor, midwife or pharmacist if you have severe headaches, blurred vision, leg swelling, heavy vaginal bleeding, severe wound pain or other signs of being unwell such as fever.
You might find that you go up and down a lot, from being elated to feeling very down. That’s normal.
Many women feel teary, irritable or more emotionally sensitive than usual a few days after giving birth. These feelings are known as the baby blues, and they’re normal, too. It’s a physically and emotionally challenging time. Most women feel better a few days after birth with support and understanding from those around them. If you don’t feel better after 2 weeks, please seek help.
How We Can Help
We have a range of live online classes which you can attend from the comfort of your own home where you will get the chance to ask a midwife any questions you have throughout the class making you well-prepared for labour birth and more. You can see our range of available classes by clicking the button below.