What should I expect for recovery from delivery?
Real Mom Problem
“Few people talk about the recovery portion of childbirth and how bad that hurts. I'm a first time mom, so I have no idea what to expect.”
- 1. Some pain, bleeding, and soreness are normal after childbirth
- 2. How long your recovery takes may depend on what type of delivery you had
- 3. You may continue to feel contractions after birth, especially if you are breastfeeding. Postpartum contractions can last up to a week after delivery
- 4. Manage your pain by using witch hazel wipes, taking stool softeners, rinsing your vaginal area, and resting as much as possible
- 5. Always discuss your recovery questions and concerns with your doctor or midwife
Real Mom Solutions
You've read about what labor and delivery will be like, but are you wondering what to expect AFTER your delivery? You need to be prepared for your recovery as well as giving birth. The moms of CafeMom tell you what to expect regarding post-delivery pain, bleeding, and more.
Some Pain is Normal
I tell all my friends who don't have kids that recovery is the worst (it was for me) and I'd do labor twice if I could just walk out feeling normal, just skip the recovery. I was in so much pain and could barely sit for like a week. It was too painful.
NO ONE told me how bad it was going to hurt after the baby was born. I was in complete shock the day after when I felt like I had just sprinted 100 miles in the rain. When I was talking to my mom I told her every muscle in my body hurt, even ones I didn't know I had. She just said, "Well yeah, you just had a baby!" Well no one told me it was going to hurt THIS bad. Then there's the postpartum contractions. They didn't stop for DAYS. Which makes sense, because it took my uterus nine months to get this big it would stand to reason that it would take a bit of time to get back to normal, but still I was not prepared. I swear I'd labor for twice as long if it meant I didn't have to go through the aftermath of giving birth. Recovery is by far my least favorite part of pregnancy.
Recovery with my son wasn't really painful but very uncomfortable because I tore a lot and had lots of stitches and bled a lot. Recovery for me took a little longer than the six weeks. My second child was not bad at all. Only took me three weeks.
How You Deliver Can Impact Recovery
With my daughter I had an epidural and I pushed when I was told to and how long I was told to. I bled for five weeks and I was sore from tearing. With my son I went all natural and I pushed when I felt like it, not when the doctors told me to, and my bleeding stopped after about 10 days. I was only sore for a few days here and there and I'm all good! I found recovery to be much easier after a natural birth.
I've had three c-sections. I could walk around just fine without pain after the three days I stayed in the hospital. I was even wearing my heels again. The pain and soreness was gone by two weeks later, and I felt completely fine. I only needed help with the kids (lifting and such) for the first two or three weeks, and then I was fine on my own. It wasn't that bad for me. I realized that the sooner I started getting up and walking, the faster I healed and could stand upright and walk normally. The pain was never that bad. Just avoid sneezing!
I had both of mine naturally and with no cuts or tears or anything. Since I didn't have an epidural or meds, I got up and walked around immediately. No problems at all. I was a little crampy but nothing major. With my first, we were having sex ten days later. Not a big deal at all.
I've had two vaginal deliveries with episiotomies and recovery wasn't trouble for me, actually. The worst part is the first week or so. Peeing stings terribly and sitting is extremely uncomfortable.
I had easy recoveries for my first two vaginal deliveries -- one natural delivery and one epidural delivery. Both were the same recovery. No tearing, no episiotomy. My third was a c-section and recovery was hard for the first week at most for me. I didn't think it was as bad as I thought it would be. A belly band helped a LOT.
Discomfort Doesn't Last Long
I was expecting pain after birth. After my son's head came out I never felt any pain. I was tender sure, but not in pain.
I don't remember having any pain afterwards. I didn't tear either. Two hours after I had my son I was ready to get up and take a shower because I didn't want to be in bed any longer.
It is not that bad! I got out of the hospital two days after my c-section and was driving the next day. I never took anything stronger than ibuprofen! My advice; get up and walk as soon as the spinal wears off! The sooner you start walking the less sore you will be. I am basically back to my normal activities minus the gym and lifting heavier items but doing great.
Learn How to Manage Your Pain
Recovery is painful, but think of what your body does during birth. When you think of that, I think the recovery is a bit more understandable. After giving birth, I was quite sore for a couple of weeks. I think the witch hazel wipes really helped with the swelling and using the peri bottle in the restroom helped as well. I think my biggest piece of advice would be to continue taking your stool softeners after birth until you start feeling a bit better. Try not to fear it too much, fear makes it so much worse. Instead, focus on education. Ask your midwife/OB about recovery and ways to minimize pain. Finally, take it easy after you give birth. Don't try to be supermom, going grocery shopping the day you get out of the hospital and cleaning house the day after that. And look at that little bundle in your arms, s/he'll be totally worth it all!