What to Expect After Delivery
Just as your body went through many changes before birth, it will go through transitions as you recover from childbirth. Physically you may experience the following:
Pain at the site of the episiotomy or laceration
An episiotomy is a cut made by your Provider in the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) to help deliver the baby or prevent tearing. If this was done, or the area was torn during birth, the stitches may make walking or sitting difficult. It also can be painful when you cough or sneeze during the healing time. Our Providers do not routinely do episiotomies.
Your breasts may be swollen, hard, and painful for several days as your milk comes in. Your nipples may also be sore.
Hemorrhoids (swollen varicose veins in the anal area) are common after pregnancy and delivery.
Having a bowel movement may be difficult for a few days after delivery. Hemorrhoids, episiotomies, and sore muscles can cause pain with bowel movements.
Hot and cold flashes
Your body’s adjustment to changing levels of hormones and blood flow can cause you to perspire one minute and reach for a blanket to cover yourself the next.
Urinary or fecal incontinence
Muscles stretched during delivery, particularly after a long labor, may cause you to leak urine when you laugh or sneeze or may make it difficult to control bowel movements, causing accidental bowel leakage.
After giving birth, you will continue to experience contractions for a few days as your uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy size. You may notice contractions most while your baby is nursing.
Vaginal discharge (lochia)
Immediately following birth you will experience a bloody discharge heavier than a regular period. Over time, the discharge will fade to white or yellow and then stop entirely within two months.