Mum & Baby

Recovering from labour

This article may help answer:

When will I feel back to normal after giving birth?

How long will it take me to recover from labour?

What can I do to help my body recover from labour?

Natural birth or c-section; labour is called so for a reason – it can be hard work. Which is why it’s extremely important for you to look after your body as it recovers from the birth of your baby.

Find out more:

    The shrinking uterus: Your uterus has been stretched like a balloon and will take a few weeks to go back to its usual size. As your uterus contracts – breastfeeding can trigger this – you may experience cramping that feels a bit like mild contractions or period pain.

    Bleeding: For the first four to six weeks after birth, you’ll have vaginal bleeding called lochia – this will happen whether you gave birth vaginally or via caesarean. The bleeding may be fairly heavy for the first few days after birth, like a heavy period, but should then turn pinky-brown and eventually stop. If you breastfeed, you probably won’t get a period until you stop breastfeeding. If you don’t breastfeed, you’ll probably get a period as soon as five or six weeks after the birth.

    Haemorrhoids (Piles): It’s quite common to get haemorrhoids after giving birth, but they usually disappear within a few days. Avoid getting constipated by eating plenty of fibre-rich foods like fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, and drinking lots of water. You can get medication for haemorrhoids from your doctor or pharmacist if you need relief.

    Tenderness: If you had a vaginal delivery, you will be sore. Ice packs can help reduce swelling. If you had a caesarean your incision will be tender. Stand up slowly and bend at the knee if you need to reach something on the ground. It can help to place a hand on your scar section if you sneeze or cough. 

    Emotional: It’s quite common to feel sad and weepy three to four days after giving birth. Hormones and tiredness are conspiring against you. If the feelings worsen and you find it hard to manage, speak to your doctor or midwife.

    Incontinence: Some women may experience some incontinence following labour. Tell your doctor or midwife and get some advice. Start doing your pelvic floor exercises again, which will help strengthen those muscles and reduce issues.