Congratulations! On successfully delivering your little one and bringing your immense joy to the world. These nine months must have been an incredible journey for you and your partner. You have changed a lot as a human being and also physically. Now, you might be thinking What is the Postpartum recovery timeline. Well, this whole nine months, your body has gone through immense changes, which you cannot even imagine. After all, there was a human being living inside you.
You will get a lot of suggestions for Postpartum recovery tips, but you have to give your body some time to get back in pre-pregnancy shape and energy. Just like every pregnancy is different, everybody is also different. Never compare your recovery time with anyone else. Recovering fully from pregnancy and childbirth will take around months, but you will start to feel yourself in just 6-8 weeks.
So, let’s see what to expect every week and how to recover from it-
Postpartum Recovery Timeline Week By Week
Right now, you might not even be aware of what’s going around you. You also might be sleeping a lot and might be seeing your little one only at the time of feeding. Well, all this is normal, your relatives are giving you space and time to rest and heal. Be patient, enjoy this phase because soon everything has to be taken care of by you.
You need strength and energy to recover from the delivery right now. In this week, you can go through the following things-
- Incision Healing- If you had vaginal birthing or c-section birthing, you would have stitches. Right now, the incision healing process is going now. Some stitches will dissolve on their own but some will take time.
Healing will take some days and even weeks. You can ask your doctor and start with kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
To speed up the healing process try the following things-
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- While breastfeeding, support your belly with pillows.
- Try to rest as much as possible.
- Do not lift anything heavier.
- Perineal Pain- Perineum is the space between the vagina and anus, which gets stretched up in the birthing process. If by chance there is a perineal tear, you may see some swelling in that area as it heals.
- Apply cold packs or witch hazel pack.
- Try numbing spray.
- Sit on a pillow to be more comfortable.
- Have a sitz bath with warm water.
- Vaginal Discharge- You can notice a great vaginal discharge after the baby is born. This discharge is called Lochia and it can last for a few months or just a few weeks. In the starting, the bleeding will be red and heavy. Slowly, it will get lightened up in volume and color.
- Urination Pain- Chances are you may feel a burning sensation while peeing. You may also feel an urge to pee, but are unable to do it. This is completely normal and it happens due to the pressure between the bladder and urethra, which causes swelling.
To reduce swelling-
- Drink lots of water and fluids
- Have a sitz bath
- When you have urge to pee, water your genitals it may help with peeing.
After birth, the vagina takes time to shrink. At this time, urine may be inconsistent. So, you can wear sanitary pads and also doing some kegel exercise will help.
- Hemorrhoids– This will occur if you had varicose veins or hemorrhoids in your vulva during pregnancy. And some may face it during the birthing cause of strain. It goes away slowly on its own.
- Bowel Condition- This will be a difficult time for you to empty your bowel. Your abdomen has gone through a lot during birthing. It is also stretched, so everything will be different. You may feel uncontrollable bowel movements or the passing of gas too. It will be okay, once you start drinking water and eating something.
- Baby Blues- This is like Monday blues. You feel sad after your baby’s birth. Many experience it because all the attention now has gone to your baby.
Symptoms of baby blues are-
- Being upset
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling depressed
To cope with this, be patient and talk to your partner. Try to go out for 15 minutes out of your house. This will help you feel better.
During this week also, you might be onto some pain-relief medications. Try to walk around, this will help to increase your blood circulation and also smoothen out the bowel movement. You are not expected to work or help in any chores, you just need to walk around.
Swollen Breasts- Your breasts are filled with milk, which results in hard, full, and tender breasts. As long as you are breastfeeding, your breasts will remain enlarged. If you do not want to breastfeed, you may feel engorgement discomfort.
To reduce the swelling, you can do the following things-
- Wear sports bra.
- Take medications, after consulting your doctor.
- Apply ice pack on your breasts.
- You can also try cabbage therapy.
It’s just been three weeks of your motherhood, probably a lot of things might be going down in your body and also in your house. Continuous visit of relatives and friends, baby crying, you unable to rest and much more. You and your partner might be trying to adapt to this new phase.
Above all things can take a toll on your emotions and you may feel stressed out and have anxiety.
This is very common, around 10-15% of women suffer from postpartum depression. And this thing starts between the first three weeks, after giving birth. Postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to take care of your baby. Some of the common symptoms are-
- A loss of appetite
- Panic attacks
- Feeling of guilt or low
- Fear of touching your baby
- Having trouble sleeping
- Thinking of harming your baby
- Having low energy
Your healing process is still underway. Just remember, that everybody’s healing process is different. Do not compare yourself with anyone. Do not be impatient and restless, give yourself and your body time to recover properly.
If you have given birth vaginally, your doctor might suggest you start your workout now. But if you have had C-section, then you need to wait for two more weeks to start the exercise. Also, it is better to check with your doctor first.
- Fatigue- You may be probably tired with all your midnight feeding and getting adjusted to your motherhood phase. To have some rest and gain some energy, you can do the following things-
Sleep when your baby sleeps- you must have heard about that from everyone, that sleep when your baby sleeps. This will help you gain little energy in your body.
Organize different plays– If you are a mother of two, then you might be worried about your elder one. Make your elder one understand the situation, and ask him to play quietly so that you can rest.
Ask for help- Never be hesitant to ask for help. Friends and relatives will be visiting you and your baby, you can ask them to bring some groceries or pick something from the store also.
Eat healthily– Yes, now is the time when you are actually supposed to eat healthily. Say no to fast foods and oily foods. Right now, you want your body to be healthy and strong from within.
The healing process is an ongoing process. This week, you may feel a little better in your vaginal area. You can feel both tightness or looseness in your vaginal area. For many women, it takes a longer time to return to basic. If you feel any concerns, it is better to talk to your doctor.
If you are a breastfeeding mom, your period may take time to start. But if you do not prefer breastfeeding, then you can expect your period between 6-8 weeks after the baby’s birth. Your menstrual cycle will be different in the starting, it can be both short and long than before.
The best thing you will notice your menstrual cramps to be less noticeable after pregnancy. But you need to be careful, once your period starts, your chances of getting pregnant again increase.
Till this week, you might be feeling a little better in your health. Your stitches are gone, you are now able to understand your little one, and also, now you can help your partner in this parenting thing. This will be the week when you can start to reconnect with your partner again, have a heart-to-heart talk also.
From this week onwards, you both have to work as a team and support each other immensely. Together, you have a child and it is your both’s duty to look after the baby.
- Sex after Birth-
This is totally up to you, your partner, and your feelings. You can expect both things, you may be interested in sex or you may not be interested in sex, both situations are normal. It is better to be open to your partner about this thing.
Sex after delivering a baby may feel different. You might feel a little uncomfortable since you and your body both are different now. Following tips may be handy-
- Find that time of day, when you and your partner both are free and are not in the rush to do sex.
- Try some different positions, which is comfortable and satisfying both.
- You can also try being intimate with each other by kissing and hugging.
- Try to connect emotionally first and then go for the physical touch.
Postpartum Recovery Kit
- Maxi Pads- You will need this until your postpartum bleeding stops. So, have some maxi pads stocked up for weeks. You can also purchase it later from the hospital.
- Ice Packs- Ice packs will help you cool down any swelling in the perineal area. There are a lot of ways to do it. You can have frozen padsicles to ice blocks for your ice packs requirement.
- Witch Hazel Pad– You will have to use it in combination with ice packs. This will help to ease your vaginal pain.
- Peri Bottle- Not many know about the actual purpose of this. But peri bottle will come in handy if you go through a C-section. With the help of this bottle, you can rinse off your perineal area before/after peeing.
- Cotton underpants- This is very necessary, as after delivery you will most probably have stitches and at that time you will need comfortable underpants. Also, try to have a bigger size than your regular ones, so that you stay comfortable.
- Nursing bras- Yes, very much necessary. Gone are the days of your sexy lingerie right now. You have a child to look after and feed, so invest in some good nursing bras which fit well.
- Stool Softener- If in case, you suffer from constipation. This will help you to get things going.
- Recovery Belt- You need a recovery belt to shrink down your belly back to its pre-pregnancy size.
- Heating Pad- It helps to ease your backache and pain in your breasts too.
So, above are some of the ways and tips for a Postpartum recovery timeline. Just remember your body is not aware of your expectations and timeline. Do not get frustrated, when you are not able to do anything, embrace this phase and give yourself time and break from any work.
How much time did you take to have a Postpartum recovery timeline?
Q: How long are you considered Post-Partum?
A: Well, post-partum generally lasts for 6 months. But every women’s body is different, the minimum time to recover is 6 weeks and the maximum is 6 months.
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