What to expect after delivery

Your due date has arrived, and your new baby is finally here. Here’s what to expect after the delivery

However you delivered, it’s called labour for a reason. Many women compare pregnancy to preparing for a marathon and the labour like the marathon itself. No matter how the marathon went for you, everyone needs to recover afterwards. It’s common to feel exhausted, stiff and generally sore after giving birth. If you had a vaginal delivery your perineum will probably be swollen and uncomfortable, and if there have been stitches (after a tear or an episiotomy) it may be a little painful for the first few days. Use an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or cooling perineal pad to provide relief. It can burn when you pee, as the urine passes over the stitches. You can make this a lot more comfortable by using a jug to pour warm water over the area while you urinate. Don’t be a hero; take enough painkillers to leave you pain-free. Indeed, evidence has shown that you recover more quickly if you are not in pain.

Unfortunately most women tend to get constipated because they’re dehydrated, haven’t eaten much over the last 24 hours and the nervousness of pushing a poo out of this area makes them ‘hold it in’. In addition, some pain-relief medications can make women constipated. So drink plenty of water, snack on high-fibre foods and take a stool softener.

Regardless of whether you’ve had a caesarean or vaginal delivery, you will bleed for four to six weeks after birth. This bleeding is the lining of the uterus shedding itself. For the first few days it will be heavy, generally much more so than a period, and you will need to wear heavy-duty maternity pads.

Most women are relieved to leave hospital but it is common to feel anxious. We advise getting back into your nightwear as soon as you get home. Although you don’t need to be confined to bed, being in your pyjamas will make you less likely to overdo it. And don’t leave the house for, at the very least, three or four days after leaving hospital.

This guide is provided to you by sisters Marina Fogle and Dr Chiara Hunt, founders of The Bump Class.


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