There are a number of changes your body will go through over the next 6 weeks. These occur whether you had a cesarean section or vaginal delivery.
Uterus – It takes about 6 weeks for the uterus to return to your pre-pregnancy size. The uterus should remain firm and will gradually get lower in your abdomen. To maintain firmness, massage the fundus and keep the bladder emptied. Cramping is normal, especially with breastfeeding.
Lochia – Vaginal flow (lochia) will gradually decrease and become lighter in color over approximately 4-8 weeks. First it will be dark red with clots, then pink, then white in color.
Menses – Return of ovulation varies, but ovulation may resume before your first normal period, so use birth control if sexually active. Your physician will discuss birth control options with you at your 6 week visit.
Urination – Occasional leakage of urine is common; this usually resolves. Do Kegel exercises to help strengthen the pelvic muscles after delivery.
Bowel Movements – It may take several days to resume normal bowel movements. Constipation is common after pregnancy and the use of certain medications may exacerbate constipation. Drink plenty of water, eat fiber-rich foods, and take a stool softener if needed to avoid constipation. Hemorrhoids are common after delivery and take several weeks to resolve. You may use Tucks pads/Preparation-H to ease the discomfort.
Circulation – Mild anemia is common after delivery. Continue to take prenatal vitamins and use iron if instructed by your physician. Swelling, especially in the feet and legs, is to be expected. If you develop redness or pain in either leg or asymmetric swelling, notify your physician so that you can be evaluated for a blood clot in the vein.
Mood – Feelings of depression are normal after delivery. Notify your physician if these feelings last longer than several days or if you are unable to cope.
Breasts – Breast changes are common after delivery. Wear a supportive bra. Watch for engorgement (fullness and tenderness) even if not breastfeeding. Apply ice packs and take pain medication to relieve the pain of engorgement. If pain, redness, fever or severe tenderness develop, contact your physician so you can be evaluated for mastitis (infection of the breast). If you have difficulty breastfeeding, please contact the lactation consultants or our office for assistance.
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