Your body after birth

It’s a relief to have your body to yourself again after the heaviness and discomfort of the last few weeks of pregnancy. But your body won’t snap back to normal within an hour. Expect at least a week or two of powerful emotional and physical adjustment.

Bleeding You will have heavy vaginal bleeding for several days – you will not be able to use tampons, but only huge maternity pads, the likes of which you have never seen before. If you are still passing clots after the first 2 days tell your doctor.

Breasts Your breasts may become heavy, swollen and tender as the milk begins to come in. If you struggle to feed your baby, ask at the clinic or hospital for a consultation with a lactation specialist.

Scrapes and tears After a vaginal birth you will have to keep your vaginal area and perineum (area between your vagina and anus) clean to prevent infection.

Toilet trouble After vaginal delivery you might have difficulty urinating as the muscles are sore and stretched. Bowel movements will also be difficult after vaginal delivery and a c-section. Placing a clean sanitary towel over stitches can give you confidence to relax and go. Using a laxative suppository can also help ease things along. Some women also experience incontinence of the bladder and bowel after a vaginal delivery – doing pelvic floor exercises can help restore things to normal. Pain from piles could be worse after labour as they are subjected to pressure when you push.

Contractions You will also experience afterbirth pains (contractions) as your uterus begins to return to its normal size. These are often most intense when you are breast-feeding.

Aches and pains You may also experience pain due to the C-section incision, or stitches in your perineum (between the vagina and anus) from a vaginal tear or episiotomy. You may get a headache if you had a epidural spinal block. You may have back pain hanging over from stresses and strains of labour.

Baby blues You might feel teary and depressed by day 3 – this is common-or-garden baby blues. If your baby blues don’t go away and persist for longer than one week and you have feelings that you can’t cope or bond with your baby, seek help as you may have Post Natal Depression (PND).

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 479 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
73% - 2695 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 541 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.