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Body Changes After Baby

It is normal for your body to undergo changes after you give birth. It will take time to return to normal so be patient and realistic. Expect body changes and some discomforts as your body recovers.

  • Your uterus contracts, returning to its previous shape. Some people experience abdominal cramps or ‘afterpains’.
  • You will have vaginal bleeding or ‘lochia’. This is how your uterus heals. Over six weeks it will change in colour and decrease in amount.
  • Your breasts may be tender as your breastmilk changes in the beginning from colostrum to mature milk.
  • Your perineum, the area between your vagina and anus, may be swollen, tender and bruised, especially if you have a tear or episiotomy. If you have stitches, they will dissolve as the area heals.
  • If you had a caesarean birth, the incision will heal and internal stitches will dissolve. Your skin may be closed with staples that will be removed by your health care provider.
  • Right after birth, you may have trouble peeing due to swelling or tears. You may also have trouble pooping since muscles were stretched and are less effective, and you may have not eaten much during labour.

Within six weeks of giving birth, book an appointment to see your health care provider for a checkup for yourself. Call your health care provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Passing blood clots larger than a plum, soaking a pad in an hour, or  if you think you are bleeding more than what is normal.
  • Stitches in your perineum or caesarean incision start to open or are not healing properly.
  • Foul-smelling or yellow or greenish discharge from your stitches or vagina.
  • Fever greater than 38.0 C or flu-like symptoms.
  • Pain that is not relieved by pain medication.
  • Severe headache that is not better after taking pain medication, spots or stars before your eyes, dizziness, and/or sharp upper abdominal pain.
  • One or both of legs becomes very painful and swollen.
  • Can’t pee or are having burning or pain when you pee.
  • Can’t have a poop.
  • Red, hot, or swollen breast, or a sore, hard, red or painful area on the breast.
  • Postpartum blues last longer than two weeks.

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