Please be aware that your body will go through changes after a delivery. These changes occur over a 6 week process and happen whether you have a cesarean section or vaginal delivery.
It takes about 6 weeks for the uterus to return to its prepregnancy size. The uterus should remain firm and will gradually get lower in your abdomen. Cramping is normal, especially with breastfeeding. Your stomach will gradually decrease in size as the uterus decreases in size during this period.
Vaginal flow or lochia will decrease over the 6 week period. It changes from dark red and clots to pink and then can be a white discharge.
Menstrual periods may return soon after or in many times months after your delivery, usually not resuming until you are not breast-feeding exclusively. However, ovulation varies and may resume before you have your first period, therefore birth control is paramount to pregnancy prevention if you are sexually active. Dr. Ayoub will discuss your birth control options with you at your 6 week visit.
Occasional leakage of urine or even stool is common usually resolving with time. Kegel exercises and pelvic floor exercises may help strengthen the pelvic muscles after delivery.
It may take several days to resume normal bowel movements, expecially after a cesarean delivery. 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.
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 and this usually improves during the 6 week postpartum period. 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.
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.
Breast changes are common after delivery. Wear a supportive bra. Watch for engorgement 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 a mastitis or infection of the breast. If you have difficulty breastfeeding, please contact the lactation consultants or our office for assistance.