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Postpartum recovery

No. Uterus Recovery Perineal Recovery C-Section Recovery
1.
  • Your uterus shrinks about a finger’s width every day.
  • Within 6-8 weeks it would have shrunk from the size of a watermelon to an orange.
  • Feel your uterus around the navel; make sure it remains hard post delivery.
  • If it feels soft, massage it to make it firm.
  • For normal vaginal birth, recovery usually takes several weeks.
  • Sex will be less appealing due to hormonal change and it is advised that you refrain from any sexual intercourse until you have stopped bleeding or when it’s no longer painful or uncomfortable
  • C-Section can cause a lot of discomfort after delivery as you will not be that mobile.
  • Breastfeeding, sleeping or even simple tasks could cause pain.
  • Expose your incision to air and keep it dry once the bandage is removed.
2. Pain

  • You will feel pain for several days after delivery as the uterus contracts, especially whilst breast-feeding or expressing milk. Also known as afterbirth pains.
Pain

  • The wound caused by stretching, cutting or tearing during labour can cause pain to the perineum.
  • Good news is that the pain doesn’t last too long.
  • It should disappear around 3 weeks or just up to 6 weeks.
Cut

  • Most of the time a “Bikini Cut” is made just below your pubic hair line.
  • Occasionally a “Vertical Cut” is made down the middle of your tummy.
  • The scar will fade in time. Some will be more visible than others.
3. Contractions

  • Helps prevent heavy bleeding and returns the uterus to its normal size.
  • Breastfeeding will intensify your cramps, but it’s a good thing as it helps control bleeding.
  • Ease your cramps by lying on your back or take pain killers.
4. Lochia

  • May last up to 6 weeks
  • Vaginal discharge – a combination of sloughed uterine lining and blood.
  • Changes colour from bright red to pink and then whitish tone over several weeks.
  • Use sanitary towel, NOT tampon or douche until lochia disappear.

Seek Immediate Attention if!

  • Lochia remains bright red after 3 weeks.
  • Lochia smells foul.
  • Soaking through a large pad every hour.
Urinating

  • Can be painful due to the sting at the cut area.
  • Try to urinate standing or under running water to minimise the stinging effect.
  • Drink lots of fluid to dilute urine.
Staples

  • The staples used to hold the top layer of your skin together will be removed before you are discharged from hospital.
  • Careful when applying ointment on the incision to avoid injury.
5. Menstruation

  • Different for every woman.
  • Breastfeeding can delay menstruation.
Stitches

  • Can cause discomfort.
  • Stitches take about 2 weeks to dissolve and around 2 – 4 weeks to heal.
  • Alleviate discomfort by:
    1. Reducing physical activities.
    2. Soak your perineal area regularly for 20 minutes in a bathtub with salt added to bath water. Several times a day
    3. Avoid sanitary pad from rubbing against stitches.
    4. Apply cream/ointment on cut.
  • Take medication as prescribed.

Note:
Postpartum recovery in general is unique and different for each individual. Do not over-work yourself as it might cause injury that will further delay your recovery. Take slow steps and gradually increase your activities or exercise routine to a level that you are comfortable with. What’s important is to stay healthy and fit at all times. Start by taking your baby for a walk, it gives time for you to bond with your baby while building up your stamina. Exercising is important to:

  1. Build stronger bones, muscle and joints for a healthier you.
  2. Reduce body fat and weight.
  3. Increase your mental wellbeing, thus reducing postpartum depression, anxieties or stress.

Remember to book your 6-week check up with your doctor.

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