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5 things to expect after giving birth

While a cesarean section may be medically-necessary in some cases, most experts recommend vaginal delivery because this method has a quick recovery time and does not require major surgery.

After a woman delivers her baby vaginally, she can expect her body to go through several things, says Beth Smathers, RN, a mother/baby nurse and clinical educator at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.   

  1. The uterus will take about six weeks to get back to its pre-pregnancy state. During this time, you may experience contractions that feel like menstrual cramps.
  2. Your body will still think it is pregnant for a period of time, so your hormones may cause hot flashes and mood swings.
  3. It will take time for the fluid buildup from pregnancy to flush out of your system. Your wrists and ankles may remain temporarily swollen.
  4. Discomfort and swelling in the perineum area. If you had an episiotomy, it will also take some time to heal.
  5. Tender breasts and nipples. Whether or not you plan to breastfeed, your body will still produce milk.

“The bottom line is, having a baby and giving birth is just the most natural thing there is,” says Smathers. “Your body is going to go through a lot of changes, but in the end, it’s all worth it when you have a beautiful, healthy baby.”  

For more information on childbirth at Piedmont, visit Piedmont Women’s Services. For more women’s health advice, visit the Living Real Change Women’s Health page. 

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.


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