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Post-pregnancy body

Post pregnancy body


Preparing yourself for post-birth changes

Being pregnant and giving birth can both have a huge impact on you physically and emotionally. It can take time for you to get your energy back and feel ‘normal’ again. To help you be more prepared, find out about some of the things you may experience.

Your breasts

Your breasts will feel soft to begin with because, during the first few days, your newborn only needs a little colostrum (the nutritious milk that’s full of important protective antibodies). Once your milk comes in, after three or four days, your breasts will feel firmer and may be hot and tender as they adjust to the new supply.

“During the first week or two, I was sore, tired and having trouble breastfeeding. Luckily, my husband and mum took care of all the chores and gave me time to rest.”

Your nether regions

Unsurprisingly, you may feel sore, bruised or swollen around your vagina after giving birth.

If you have had stitches, healing time can vary depending on the type of stitches. Perineal stitches can take between two and four weeks to heal, whereas caesarean stitches generally take around six weeks.

There will also be some discharge called lochia. It may start off blood-coloured, but becomes lighter and browner, slowly changing to pale pink over the following two to six weeks.

You may experience a weaker bladder too, so tone up your internal muscles with regular pelvic floor exercises.

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Your emotions

With nine months of anticipation, the stresses of labour, the joy of meeting your baby, the realisation that you’re a mum, and major hormonal changes, the first few days after birth are hugely emotional.

So, you may well feel weepy during the week after giving birth – particularly if you are very tired, in pain or experiencing other problems.

However you feel, try to rest as much as possible to give your body and mind a chance to recover and get used to motherhood.

Next Steps

  • Stock up on paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Cook and freeze a few days’ worth of nutritious meals
  • Get a ‘doughnut’ cushion, to help you sit more comfortably
  • Practise pelvic floor exercises
  • Buy comfortable sanitary towels
Last reviewed: 4th February 2016

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