How to Heal after Giving Birth

It has been almost 40 weeks. It's finally over and you are now holding your bundle of joy. What's next? This question is most likely the largest in your mind. You can do it. Just take a deep breathe...

Numerous things are likely to change over the weeks, months and days following delivery. You might have expected exhaustion, nighttime breastfeedings, and constant diaper changes. You might have not anticipated how your body will react and heal after giving birth . Your body will be adjusting to the new baby.

Elizabeth Beach, CNM Midwife gives us an overview of the six weeks following a baby's birth and how to recover.

Is it possible to get healed after giving birth for up to a year?

Um, 18 years? But seriously. It takes approximately six weeks for your body to heal completely after giving birth. Although we know how the body changes during this time period, each person is unique. Have you had a C-section. You recovery will be different.

This is what to expect every week after vaginal birth.

It takes time to recover from postpartum

1-3 days postpartum

Beach says that the postpartum healing process begins in the exact same place you gave birth. Before you can be transferred to the unit, your nurses will perform a check of your vitals.

The six-week period that begins on the day after you have given birth will be the beginning of a healing process for your body.

Hospital care

You will spend the first few days after giving birth in hospital, unless you opt for a home delivery. The majority of people will stay in the hospital for between 24 to 48 hours following a vaginal birth. Beach says, "They're still looking for bleeding and vitals to make certain you're okay once you get in the postpartum unit."

Talking to a specialist in lactation or a nurse can be an excellent time to get advice, if your plan is to breastfeed at home.

Beach points out that "sometimes, this hospital stay can be longer than expected if there are additional tests or labs to complete." If your baby has jaundice or needs additional tests, this is a common scenario.


After giving birth, it is possible to still feel cramping or contractions for a few days. This pain can be uncomfortable but not something you should worry about. Your uterus shrinks to this extent.

Beach says that many people believe the birth of the baby and placenta means it is over. Your body will continue to do things to stop you from bleeding. You can feel the cramping in your uterus.

The cramping will subside within a few days. You can also try heating a pad to your stomach for more comfort. If you feel the pain is too severe, your doctor should send you home with painkillers (Ibuprofen(r) or Tylenol(r).

2 to 3 weeks

For the first 2 weeks following birth, "take it slow". This applies to everything from feeding baby to adapting to feeling like yourself. It's important to take your body's healing process slowly and not rush it. Your healthcare provider may recommend a 2- or 3-week check-in for you to evaluate how your body is doing after birth.

Breastfeeding (chestfeeding)

You probably have many thoughts if you decide to breastfeed or to breastfeed. What is the best way to tell if my baby's latched correctly? Do they have a problem? Know that you don't need to be a solo mom when breastfeeding. There are lactation specialists and other moms who can help you.

Beach states that "when you leave the hospital it is likely your milk hasn't yet come in." It's a good idea for every patient to have a lactation appointment within the first week. They can assist with changing feeding habits and latching problems that may arise when they return from hospital.

Your body starts producing milk around three to four days after you give birth, regardless of whether you choose to breastfeed. You can expect tenderness in the area around your nipples if you choose to breastfeed. But, you may be able to use nipple milk after each feeding.

Beach advises you to seek medical attention if your breasts are tender or irritated. This is something you should discuss with your Ob/Gyn provider.

You can dry your milk if you don't breastfeed. However, you can speed this process up and feel more comfortable by wearing a sport bra.

Postpartum bleeding and discharge

In the initial weeks of pregnancy, you may experience vaginal bleeding and discharge (called lochia). It is an inevitable part of the body's natural healing process after giving birth. This should begin to decrease (become less common) by the middle of the second week.

Beach says that the bleeding begins like a very bad period. It should continue like a period. It should be becoming lighter with each passing day.

Beach says that the other sign you might notice is a difference in the color and consistency of your urine. It is a sign that your body has gone through three phases of lochia to eliminate blood , tissues and mucus .

The initial color might be bright red. It'll then develop into a deeper, brownish-colored red. She continues, "And then it might turn to a lighter pink." It might develop a yellowish-colored discharge at one point. All of these are within normal limits.

Vaginal pain

You just accomplished a great feat. It is normal for your body to feel slightly sore. It is normal to feel some pain around the vaginal areas. This can vary depending on whether there was a vaginal tears during labor or if an episiotomy was performed.

This is how you can ease some of the discomfort or pain at home:

You should not push yourself too hard during your first and second weeks of recovery. The gym is not the best place to get rid of pregnancy excess weight. Take small, steady walks daily to help the pain ease. Beach says that you should feel better every day.

Bowel movements

You may also notice a shift in the way your bowel movements behave within the first two weeks following birth. Due to weakening pelvic muscles, it is possible that you have difficulty bowel movements during this time.

Motivation and Mental Health

The next thing you know, your mood has changed. One minute you're feeling fine, the next you experience a surge of emotions that hits you like a tsunami. Many people feel this during their first few weeks of pregnancy. It's often called "baby blues."

If you experience sadness and depression that lasts beyond the first two weeks of your pregnancy, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider. This will ensure that you don't have postpartum depression.

Beach says mood swings can be normal during the first 2 to 4 weeks following birth. This is because hormones change. If you feel depressed or moody, or if you are feeling down about your child or yourself, you might need to talk to your doctor.

(Physical status )

Within a matter of weeks, most of what you call your "delivery weight" should be gone. Although your body slowly returns to its pre-pregnancy weight, this process can take time and may be different for each person.

Beach says that everyone experiences a different weight loss process after becoming pregnant. Beach says that some people may notice a more visible change in their abdomens within the first few weeks. Others come back from the hospital feeling like they're pregnant. "It really does depend on the individual."

Three weeks

You are halfway to full recovery after three weeks. Phew! You're probably more familiar with the routine of your baby and have begun to transition into bottle or breast feeding.

Physical strength

At this point, it is important to be kind and gentle with your body. There is good news. The good news is that you can gradually return to your normal activities, but the half-marathon may have to wait.

Beach states that you can feel your body returning to its normal state within three weeks. It takes time for your body to heal completely from the procedure.


Three weeks later, your strength should return. Beach says that you should be able to walk around your block.

Ask your doctor if they have any suggestions for exercises to help you get back on the treadmill. However, you should know that your body is still healing and may not be ready to resume sexual activity.

Postpartum bleeding

While a little is acceptable, you should see a decrease in bleeding. Beach says that your bleeding should have stopped completely or at minimum significantly decreased.

6 Weeks

Amazing how quickly the time flies! Six weeks into the program, you will be able to visit your Ob/Gyn to review how things are going. You're probably feeling well and will be asked questions about your mental and physical health.

These are the things that you can expect from your six-week physical state:

How to See a Doctor

Be aware of any body signals before your six week checkup. Beach advises that you consult your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:

While we are aware that it may take up to six weeks for your body to recover from childbirth, you will find yourself living a completely new life. You should spend the first few weeks after giving birth taking good care of yourself and listening to your body. Also, be patient as you heal. Don't be shy to contact your healthcare provider should you find something unusual or out of the ordinary during your healing process.