You just had a baby (or maybe you’re about to give birth) and you’re wondering what you can expect after birth.
I’ve got great news: you’re light years ahead of where I was when I was pregnant with my first baby. I didn’t even know what the word “postpartum” meant! (apparently I was living under a rock).
And you can forget me having any sort of reasonable idea of what to expect from vaginal birth recovery.
To be honest, I kind of thought giving birth would be like having a really big poop. And then back to life as normal.
Yeah, I though having a baby was like pooping.
I can’t even. What was I thinking?!!
Seven years and four babies later I know that vaginal birth is a whole more than that. And new moms need lots and lots of love and attention to rock their vaginal birth recovery.
Let’s take a look at what your life will look like those first few weeks after baby is born:
remember, I am not a medical professional. I am sharing anecdotal advice based off of my personal experience and the research I have performed. This content should not be taken as medical advice; if you have medical questions please seek the advice of a medical professional.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR VAGINAL BIRTH RECOVERY
IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR BIRTH
This might differ a bit if you’ve had an epidural. With my vaginal delivery I didn’t end up having an epidural (baby came too fast and there was no time!!) so I was up and walking within the first hour post birth. Which if you think about is pretty crazy!
If you’ve had an epidural you’ll probably be able to get up and walk once it wears off, which usually takes a few hours.
I remember feeling like I had to waddle a bit, and I had to lower myself very carefully to sit, but otherwise I felt great. I was definitely feeling that “new mommy high” and enjoying those sweet snuggles.
the first 24 hours in your vaginal birth recovery
You’re most likely going to be pretty tired. You might even find that your entire body is sore. I remember waking up from a nap about 8-10 hours after my first vaginal birth and my arm and back muscles were really sore and stiff.
But after my second vaginal delivery I wasn’t sore at all (at least not anywhere except my vagina). I think how sore you will be will depend on how you labor. If you have a long, physical labor or you’re very tense the whole time you’ll probably be sore.
If you can breathe and relax as much as possible during labor you’ll probably be fine. Either way the whole-body soreness isn’t a huge deal- it’s kind of like the sore you might feel after an intense workout.
Labor and delivery is incredibly trying and tough on your body. You’ll be on a high from meeting your baby for the first time! Truly, there is no greater experience that holding that sweet baby and looking into his eyes. It’s joy in it’s most pure form.
What to Look Out For:
- Urination: It’s going to sting when you urinate, it just is. I remember asking to go to the bathroom about 45 minutes after baby had been born. Just as I made it to the toilet I looked at the nurse and said “is this going to hurt?” She didn’t even answer me she just looked at me and I knew it was going to hurt. Was it worse than labor, no, but man did it sting. Using a squirt bottle filled with warm water and numbing spray before you urinate helps a ton! You’ll get both of these at the hospital. I highly suggest having a stash ready to go at home too.
- Ice: I was given a newborn diaper filled with ice. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing but man did it soothe my special place. Between the ice, the numbing spray and the tucks pads I was in pretty good shape.
- Waddle: You’ll probably waddle a bit when you walk. Some of that will be from the ice pad shoved into your pants. And some of it will be because you just pushed a baby out of our vagina. But don’t worry, in a few days the waddle will wear off.
the first week after childbirth
As the week progresses you will find that the tenderness in your lady bits is decreasing. You’ll find that you don’t have to do the whole bathroom routine every time you pee. Just sometimes. (bathroom routine, you know what I’m talking about:
- peri bottle
- numbing spray
- peri bottle again
- more numbing sprary
- postpartum spray
- new maxi pad
- new ice pack
- tuck’s pads on the ice pack
in that specific order. It’s kind of a lot of work but well worth it. Especially when you start to feel better and better each day. Take care of your vagina early on, it will pay off in dividends later!
If you end up needing stitches you might feel some stinging or pinching that hangs on longer than the tenderness. This is pretty normal and not cause for concern. Remember not to wipe with toilet paper and keep using all the soothing and cooling sprays.
What to Look Out For:
- Incontinence: Here’s something fun that nobody talks about, for the first week or two during your vaginal birth recovery you’ll probably experience incontinece (meaning you will pee your pants for no apparent reason, fun right?). This will vary for each woman, and the best thing to do was to make frequent bathroom trips. Try to use the bathroom before you feel the urge to go. Don’t worry, this goes away after a week or two.
- Bleeding:You’ll still be bleeding at this point in your vaginal birth recovery. Make sure you have plenty of maxi pads in the house, these are my favorites. Be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse before going home about how much bleeding is expected.
- Cramping: You’ll experience some cramping during the first week as your uterus shrinks back down. It can be pretty uncomfortable, although I’ve never found it to be any worse than normal period cramps. Cramping can be especially bad during breastfeeding so try relieving your bladder before you begin a nursing session. A full bladder puts added pressure on your uterus, making the cramping worse. Taking a minute to pee before you feed will help with some of the cramping.
TWO WEEKS POSTPARTUM
By two weeks postpartum you’ll probably be feeling pretty great! The tenderness in your va-jay-jay will be almost totally gone. And you’ll be on a high from all those newborn cuddles!
What to Look Out For:
- Continued Soreness: Even though I was feeling awesome by this point I still experienced some soreness, that’s not totally unusual. Just be careful when you sit, I definitely suggest easing into it instead of plopping down fast. If you sit or stand too much during the day try lying on your side to give yourpelvis a break
- Pelvic Floor: You’ve probably heard women mention their pelvic floor. I had never really paid much attention to mine, until I’d given birth. Suddenly I was very aware of my pelvic floor & I remember feeling like it might just fall out! Of course that wasn’t true, but it definitely needed to be strengthened. I recommend starting with some kegel exercises (if you don’t know what that is, Google it!) and building form there. Strengthening your pelvis floor will also help with any lingering incontinence.
the first month after your vaginal delivery
As you begin to resume some normal activities (with your doctor’s approval) you might notice that you feel sore or tender on some days. Pay attention to what you did that day (or the day before).
Most likely you’ll find that standing on your feet too long or sitting on a hard surface for many hours without a break could be the culprit.
Even though you’ll probably be feeling pretty good at this point try to remember that you just had a baby and it’s important to heal properly.
Give yourself plenty of time to rest and relax, enjoy the baby cuddles, master breastfeeding, and let your body do what it is made to do – heal & nurture your baby.
What to Look Out For:
- Occasional Soreness: Remember that you’re still healing form childbirth. Be sure to get plenty of rest. And give yourself plenty of space to heal before you resume all of your regular activities
- Tender Skin: Your skin around your vagina might be tender still. If it is, I highly recommend some high quality colloidal silver to promote further healing. A couple of sprays (after a good peri bottle rinse) a few times a day will have you healed up in no time!
week 6 of your vaginal birth recovery
When you see your doctor for your six week postpartum check-up your vaginal birth recovery will be just about done!
I say “just about” because for every postpartum woman there will be a new normal for your body. Maybe you have stretch marks, loose skin on your tummy, or a weakened pelvic floor – but hopefully by 6 weeks postpartum you’ll be feeling healed from birth.
What you’ll want to watch out for at this point is you mental and emotional health. Your doctor will check on your mental health at your 6 week check up. It’s important that you attend this appointment to be checked for signs of postpartum depression.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your emotional state and how you’re feeling overall as a new mom. This is a great screening for postpartum depression, which can be very serious.
Remember, if you feel like you are struggling with the postpartum blues or postpartum depression it’s ok. It does not make you a bad mom. It’s important to reach out to someone in your life who can help you.
Note: Be sure to talk with your doctor about resuming your normal activities.
Know what to expect from your vaginal delivery and prepare appropriately. You’ll be so glad you did when your vaginal birth recovery is smooth & easy.
What did you experience during your postpartum recovery? Leave a comment below!