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Recovering from birth

Recovering from birth is quite an ordeal especially if it is the birth of your first child.

Looking after yourself in the first weeks after birth

In hospital

  • You're likely to feel exhausted after giving birth. Rest as much as you can and make the most of the support you get in hospital, like meals and help with your child
  • In the first hour after birth, you and your child will be getting lots of checks to make sure you're both okay

The first few days after birth

  • You're likely to be very sore
  • It's normal to feel very unsure about how to look after your child
  • So don't be afraid to ask your doctor, your partner, your mum or anyone else who is involved for a little extra support

The blues

  • Many new mums find they have inexplicable bouts of tears
  • Your body and hormone levels readjust to being a mum, rather than being pregnant
  • You might find it helpful to share your experience with other new mums, as they are probably going through the same thing
  • It should pass within a few days. If it doesn't, mention it to your doctor.

Priorities

  • It's important to make the most of this very special time
  • To give yourself a chance to recover from the birth and get to know your child, make them your number one priority
  • Be willing to ask for and accept as much help as you can from your partner, family and friends
  • Rest as much as you can and eat and drink regularly over the next few weeks. Tiredness can affect milk supply, so try to sleep when your child does

Contractions

  • Once you've given birth, contractions don't immediately disappear
  • Your uterus still has lots of contracting to do to get to its normal size
  • Contractions also help prevent excessive bleeding
  • Breastfeeding can make the contractions stronger but helps the uterus return to its normal size quicker

If you've had tearing/episiotomy

  • The area between your vagina and anus maybe very sore
  • You'll be offered medication and sometimes ice packs to help with the pain and swelling
  • Your nurse or doctor will show you how to take care of this area  

Medication

Medication is available to help with the after pains, but it's not given normally so make sure you ask if you think you need help.

Bleeding

  • It's normal to bleed for up to two weeks after delivery
  • Over time it will change colour from bright red to brown. If it becomes heavier or bright red again, you must contact your GP as soon as possible.

Going to the toilet

  • It's normal to feel uncomfortable when you urinate. This shouldn't last long and doesn't necessarily mean you have a bladder infection
  • If it doesn't get better, mention it to your doctor
  • Drink plenty of fluids, fruit juices and eat regularly to help your bowels return to normal

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