After months of waiting, meeting your new baby is an incredibly exciting moment. Whether you had a lengthy or speedy labour, your body will need time to recover, especially for Cesarean section recovery. We help you to navigate the recovery process by answering some common questions you might have, along with some simple tips to help you in the early days following birth.
Will I Bleed?
Whether you’ve had a Cesarean delivery or vaginal birth, you can expect some vaginal discharge1. This is normal during Cesarean section recovery and could last for weeks. You’ll notice the discharge is red and heavy for the first few days, then it should become watery and change from pinkish brown to yellowish white. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
When Can I Exercise?
When you can exercise will depend on the type of birth you’ve had. If you’ve had an uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to start some very gentle exercise a few days after birth or when you feel up to it2. If you’re going through Cesarean section recovery or if you had a complicated birth, you’ll probably need to wait a little longer3. In these cases, you should always talk to your doctor who will advise you as to when it’s safe to resume any exercise. Return to a more active lifestyle gradually; don’t expect your body to bounce back immediately after C-section.
What About Stitches and Scars?
Sometimes during vaginal childbirth, your doctor will need to make a cut between your vagina and anus. This is called an episiotomy, and if this is something you experience, a doctor will stitch your incision and afterwards advise you on how to keep the wound clean to avoid infection. In most cases you’ll be prescribed a suitable painkiller4 to help ease any discomfort. Your stitches should heal within about a month of giving birth, but if you have any concerns, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
During Cesarean delivery, your doctor will need to make an incision to deliver your baby. This kind of cut will take a while to heal and you’ll need to take good care of it. Your doctor will let you know exactly how to do this, but you should rest whenever possible5, avoid lifting anything too heavy, and only take the pain relief medication recommended by your doctor. Over time the incision will heal, leaving a Cesarean scar.
Will I Lose Weight After Birth?
Your body will have undergone some astounding changes during your pregnancy and after birth, it will no doubt be different from before. While you should feel no pressure to lose “baby weight”, you may want to know how your body could change in the weeks and months after birth.
Most women can expect to lose around 13 lbs (5.9kg) in the first couple of weeks after giving birth. This includes the weight of your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid6. You may also lose a little more over time as your body continues to reduce excess fluids built up during pregnancy. What’s key is that you have a healthy diet, rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, and try to take some form of gentle exercise when it’s safe to do so. It is important to do only what is right for your body and your baby.
Why Do I Feel So Emotional?
It’s completely normal to experience all sorts of different emotions after giving birth. Pregnancy and childbirth can be quite a rollercoaster ride, so it’s natural to feel happy, sad or anxious at times (often all in the same hour!). A change in mood is often nothing to worry about, but if you find you’re struggling with a consistently low mood, you might have postpartum depression7. If this is your experience after birth, you should talk with your doctor as soon as possible, so they can give you the help and support you need.
Interested to learn more about dealing with post-delivery matters? Join the Enfamama A+ Club today to access exclusive content on taking care of yourself and the new bundle of joy.