What to Expect After Delivery [Infographic]

Posted: 
November 2019

From the first hour to the first year, these are a few of the milestones during the postpartum recovery process.

Giving birth is often the beginning of a journey of joys, stresses, and changes. And as you adjust to parenthood, you’ll also be on a path to postpartum recovery. Knowing what to expect after delivery will help you plan how to take care of yourself after your baby’s arrival. With that in mind, let’s look at what your postpartum recovery process might look like as time passes:

  • The first hour
  • The first day
  • The first few months
  • Six months later
  • Your first year

Below, learn more about what to expect after delivery at each one of these milestones.

This infographic depicts what to expect after delivery.

The first hour

After labor is over and your baby is delivered, you can expect a few notable things to happen in the first hour or so. First, your women’s healthcare provider will cut the umbilical cord. Your body will also shed the placenta and amniotic fluid shortly after birth. Then, your provider will assess and treat tears or any other trauma that occurred during delivery. Of course, your baby will also be examined and cared for during these precious first moments.  

The first day

The World Health Organization advises that both moms and babies continue receiving postnatal care for a full 24 hours after a vaginal birth. After delivery, expect to remain in the hospital for at least a day and often longer. Your women’s health team will continue monitoring bleeding, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and address any concerns as they arise. If you had a C-section delivery, your recovery will begin today and continue for weeks to follow.  

The first few months

During the first weeks after birth, your body will be healing. You may have vaginal soreness, which you can manage with ice packs, water therapy, and painkillers. Since you don’t want to strain this area, stool softeners can help you use the bathroom and prevent constipation. If you feel something like menstrual cramps, these may be “afterpain” contractions.

As your body sheds its uterine lining, you’ll also notice vaginal discharge that may be heavy at first and lighter over the next few weeks. Changing color is normal, from reddish-brown to yellowish-white. You may also have symptoms like tender breasts, hemorrhoids, or temporary incontinence (like peeing a little when you sneeze). 

After six to eight weeks, you’ll likely be feeling better and regaining your strength. Be sure to schedule a comprehensive postpartum evaluation within 12 weeks. 

During this phase, also be sure to keep tabs on your mental health and let your doctor know if you’re having mood swings, anxiety, or depression. When it comes to your emotions, knowing what to expect after delivery can let you know when you may need to ask for help. A mix of ups and downs are to be expected after you give birth, but what sets postpartum depression apart is its severity and how long it lasts. Stay in touch with your emotions and keep an open line of communication with your loved ones and women’s health care professionals.

Six months later

During these months after delivery, expect changes in your body to continue. You might experience hair loss for up to five months, but this is temporary shedding as your body amps up new hair growth. If you have stretch marks from your pregnancy, these tend to get lighter, changing from red to a more silver tone. 

Your first year

By the time your baby’s first birthday rolls around, you’ll be just about feeling back to normal. Although, expect some of your body’s changes to last. Around the first year after delivery is a good time to address any excess “baby weight.” Every woman’s situation and timeline for losing any weight is different, but practicing healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and appropriate exercise is an excellent start. You may also want to check out this infographic with ways to lose weight after giving birth.

When considering what to expect after delivery, keep in mind that every woman is different. We can help you navigate this exciting time in your life no matter what may arise. For pregnancy care before, during, and after delivery, make an appointment with our doctors, midwives, and women’s health team today. Call 885.6090 or contact us online.

This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

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