There are a lot of physical changes to a female body after childbirth, especially for the first time.
These physical changes occur both in the internal body and the external body and they’re due to hormone changes in the body and the strain of pregnancy.
The following are the common physical changes women experience after giving birth, and what you should understand about these physiological changes and others.
The uterine lining is renewed
It is normal for women to bleed for about 2-6 weeks after a vaginal delivery or cesarean section.
The menstrual period (lochia) is a mixture of mucus, blood, and tissue that is shed after childbirth as the lining of the uterus is renewed.
Here’s what you can do: “Shower daily, change your pads regularly, and refrain from intercourse until the bleeding has stopped completely, recommends Dr. Chaktty.
When to see your doctor? “If you suddenly start bleeding more heavily or see blood clots, you should see your medical doctor immediately.
You should know that there are going to change between your before and after pregnancy body, and for example, part of the placenta or lining can remain after the birth and you may need medication to dilate the cervix again – in rare cases surgery may also be necessary.
If you get a high fever after giving birth, you should also see your doctor as a fever could indicate an infection or other issues.
The vagina becomes dry and sore
It’s normal for the vagina and the area around it to feel sore after childbirth, according to sexpally.
Also, due to low estrogen levels, the vagina can become very dry, which can make sex painful.
Here’s what you can do: You can put ice packs on the swelling, apply a topical numbing cream, and take pain medication if needed.
Also, follow the general tips for pelvic floor problems above.
When to the doctor? If you’re still having painful urination after a week, it can be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
A GP can easily confirm this with a test and prescribe you antibiotics.”
Gap between the abdominal muscles
In about 60% of women, a gap forms between the straight abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis) during pregnancy.
It is caused by a split in the muscles that run down the middle of the abdomen as the baby puts more pressure on the abdomen during pregnancy.
The width of the gap varies from woman to woman. In most cases, the tummy will begin to recede around 8 weeks after birth.
Here’s what you can do: Start with a gentle abdominal and core workout.
Ask your midwife about exercises to reduce the gap between the muscles.
When to the doctor? “If after 2 months you still have a cleft that is wider than 2 cm or is causing you pain. You should see a doctor,” explains Healthpally boss.
Your doctor can prescribe physical therapy for you to help avert the condition.
Skin and hair change
The hormonal changes during pregnancy can have very different effects.
Some women report having glowing skin while others suffer from acne.
women report hair loss after childbirth, but that’s actually due to fluctuating estrogen levels.
During pregnancy, estrogen levels are high, which means hair doesn’t fall out as quickly as it would without pregnancy.
When estrogen levels drop again after childbirth, you then lose the hair that would normally have fallen out anyway, but which has stayed on your head even longer because of your pregnancy.”
Here’s what you can do: “It’s important to eat a nutritious, healthy diet and get as much sleep as possible, and consider taking a multivitamin for new moms.
“Iron tablets can also help. You should be careful with these though, as they can cause constipation.
When to the doctor? If you’re only losing hair in one spot and not all over your head, you should see a doctor.
Hair loss can be a sign of an overactive thyroid. This is unusual in women after childbirth, however, as doctors keep a close eye on thyroid levels throughout pregnancy.