During this time, your hormones are changing and you may be more emotional. If you feel overly sad or depressed, talk to your doctor.
Depending on whether your perineum ripped during childbirth or you had an episiotomy, it could take several weeks for soreness to go away. Sitting on an ice pack or taking a warm sitz bath can help.
During the first week postpartum, your focus should be on resting and taking it easy. You have just experienced the equivalent of a major athletic endurance event, and your body needs time to recover.
You may still be experiencing some vaginal bleeding and discharge (called lochia) at this point, though it should begin to taper off during the second week. In addition, your bowel movements might become irregular as you work to get rid of the “delivery weight” from your body.
It’s also common to experience emotional highs and lows in the days immediately following delivery. These are called the ‘baby blues’ and usually go away within a few days, but if they persist, make sure you speak to your midwife or health visitor.
By week two you should be getting a feel for your new body. It may still be sore, particularly if you had a cesarean or a vaginal birth that resulted in tearing or an episiotomy. Talk to your healthcare provider about pain-relief medications if you need them. Try not to overdo it with chores around the house and instead focus on resting and looking after your baby.
You should also be able to resume some light exercise (such as walking) if you feel up for it, though you should avoid any high-impact activities until after your six-week check-up. Try to eat a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
You may also notice that the vaginal bleeding and discharge, called lochia, is starting to slow down or become less frequent. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about the way your incision site is healing.
Three weeks after delivery, it is likely that your lochia (vaginal bleeding and discharge) has started to taper off or change colour. Some new moms experience sore nipples this week as well.
If you are able to breastfeed, this may help alleviate sore nipples. If you had a C-section, it is also important to be gentle with the incision site and to let it heal. Keeping it elevated with a splint like the ReCORE PostNatal FITsplint can help reduce pain and speed healing.
If you are feeling up for it, you can begin to resume a light exercise routine. However, remember that it is important to listen to your body and avoid jumping back into a high intensity workout too soon. A pelvic health physiotherapist can recommend safe and effective exercises for you to try during this time.
By the end of this week, you may notice your bleeding and discharge — lochia — tapering off. This is a good sign, but remember, it takes time to fully recover from childbirth.
You may also notice your nipples become hard, full and tender as your milk comes in. This is normal and can be alleviated by breastfeeding.
At about this time, if you had a C-section delivery, you’ll likely have a two- or three-week check-up to make sure your incision is healing well. During this time, it’s important to focus on recovery and avoid any high-impact exercise until cleared by your doctor.
This is a great time to resume some light exercises, such as walking and yoga, but it’s important to ease into them. Talk to your pelvic health physiotherapist about the best way to do this. Using a pelvic support, like our ReCORE PostNatal FITsplint, can help you feel comfortable while doing these exercises.
By this point you’re settling into your baby’s routine, and by this time you should be feeling more like your old self again. But take it easy – your body is still healing, so don’t push yourself to resume high-impact exercise until after you have your six-week postnatal check.
It’s also common to experience the ‘baby blues’ at this time, which can leave you feeling anxious, low and irritable for a few days, but be sure to look after yourself by taking it easy.
If you’re able, try to get in some light physical activity, such as walking and stretching. It’s also a good idea to help your perineum heal, so you can avoid pain after bowel movements by spraying warm water over the area or trying a warm sitz bath (see our video on how to use the ReCORE PostNatal FITsplint). By this time your lochia should have largely finished, Beach says.
At this point, you should have a better grasp on your newborn’s routine and should be feeling a bit more like yourself. Your lochia should be mostly gone, and you may experience some itchiness from the nipples (or scars if you tore while delivering). Be sure to keep up with your follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider, and be sure to have some lanolin on hand for sore nipples if you are breastfeeding.
You should also be able to resume a light exercise schedule (think walks and stretches), but be sure not to try anything new or strenuous right away. Focus on healing, and let your body rest as much as possible.
We recommend using a supportive brace during your postpartum recovery, such as the ReCORE PostNatal FITsplint. The flexible, comfortable material of the FITsplint is fully adjustable to provide maximum support and comfort. Postpartum care