Recovering from giving birth

Your body takes 9 months to grow your baby and prepare for birth and then suddenly it’s time to get back to normal! There are plenty of physical and emotional changes to come as you adjust to just being you again. This should give you some idea of what to expect. And remember, if you ever need a little reassurance or support about what’s going on, we’re here to help.

How your body will change after the birth


  • Your bump will be gone but it’ll look like a pregnant belly for a while.
  • Your breasts will feel soft to start with because your newborn only needs a little colostrum (the nutritious milk that’s full of important protective antibodies) for the first few days. Once your milk comes through after three or four days, your breasts will feel firmer and may be hot and tender as they adjust to the new supply.
  • You might feel sore, bruised or swollen around your vagina after giving birth. If you’ve had stitches, you may feel sore for a couple of weeks.
  • You’ll have some bleeding after giving birth, which is a blood coloured discharge called lochia. It’s like a period and usually lasts for about 10 days. It will then become lighter and more of a brown colour, slowly changing to a cream colour over the following six weeks.

  • Your uterus will take about 6 weeks to return to its pre-pregnancy size and you might actually feel it contracting sometimes, especially in the early days or while breastfeeding.
  • Your vagina and your pelvic floor will gradually get back to their usual tone over the coming weeks, especially with the help of your pelvic floor exercises.
  • You shouldn’t get heartburn as often, if at all once your baby is born.
  • Any constipation should improve too, although you still need to eat well and stay hydrated with plenty of water to give your digestive system a helping hand.
  • You may still have piles or haemorrhoids but they should get better over the coming weeks or months.

Your emotions after giving birth

The stresses and strains of labour, the joy of meeting your baby for the first time and the realisation that you’re a mum can stir up all kinds of emotions. You may feel euphoric, exhausted, contented, overwhelmed, relieved, bruised, tearful, happy and everything else in between! It’s a real emotional rollercoaster between days three and ten especially.

Whatever you’re feeling, you’re bound to need lots of rest. Try to sleep as much as possible to give your body a chance to recover and prepare for the job of being a mum.