A Timeline for Postpartum Recovery

A Timeline for Postpartum Recovery

The postpartum period describes the first six weeks after the birth of your child. During this sensitive time, there's plenty you need to do to manage your baby's health – and yourself. During the postpartum period, which some medical experts believe lasts up to 6-months, your body goes through a healing process that involves several significant changes.

Changes in hormone levels cause mood swings, and some women experience anything from mild depression to devastating bouts of psychosis. The physical damage to the vagina and pelvis takes time to heal, and some women state they took a whole year to recover from the effects of the birth fully.

So, what can you expect from the postpartum process? How long does recovery take? In this post, we'll look at a timeline of the postpartum period.

 

The First Week

Post-vaginal or after C-section delivery, you're likely in a hospital, and you might have to stay there anywhere from three to seven days, depending on your condition.

With a vaginal delivery, your vagina will be painful, and you will probably experience tearing of the area between the vagina and the anus, otherwise known as the perineum. You may be experiencing bleeding, pain, and inflammation from the affected area.

The remaining tissue in the uterus will discharge through the vagina in both a C-section and natural birth.  As the uterus contracts, it pushes out the lochia, discharging through the vagina. The uterus takes up to three weeks to return to its pre-pregnancy size.

Women who undergo C-section birthing will find that the scar feels sore and tender for the rest of the week. The stitches may also irritate you and feel tender. It's going to be challenging to move around at all for the first three days, and the first week comes with plenty of pain during movement. Take it easy.

Suggestions for aiding recovery

You'll need a spray bottle and witch hazel pads in the first week. Use the spray bottle to wash down after going to the bathroom. Ice packs help to manage pain and swelling, as do OTC meds like Advil and Tylenol.

Take your temperature up to four times a day. During this phase, it's easy to catch an infection that moves into the uterus or kidneys.

Your Mental Status in the First Week

The first three days see a cascading flow of negative emotions called the "baby blues." You'll feel sad even though this is the most joyous occasion of your life. These emotions fade as your estrogen production balances, and your hormonal system returns to normal.

 

Week 2

Most women see a reduction in bleeding, but it may stick around for up to 6-weeks. Both are normal and no cause for concern. However, if the bleeding is heavy, consult with your doctor. You'll also start to feel itchy in your vagina, and that's a sign of the healing process.

The internal sutures start to swell as they disintegrate, and that process irritates the incision area. For women with a C-section scar, they'll also feel itchy in that area, showing signs of healing.

You'll probably be experiencing the full extent of the "baby blues" by now, but things should be starting to turn the corner soon. However, if you're experiencing worsening signs of depression, it could be a sign of the onset of postpartum depression (PPD). Speak to your doctor if you have intensifying negative emotions around yourself, your relationship, or your child.

Suggestions for aiding recovery

Breastfeeding can cause cracked nipples and sore breasts. Keep lanolin cream on hand. Remember to eat well to build your strength and heal properly. Start exercising with a light walk around the house.

 

Week 6

By this stage, the uterus is back to its standard size, and the bleeding stopped a few weeks ago. Some women might find that they stop bleeding, and then notice renewed bleeding at the six-week to 8-week mark. It's nothing to worry about, and a sign of the placental scab removing itself from the wall of the uterus.

The doctor should clear you for exercise and sexual activity. And the first thing on your mind will be, "how can you make your vagina tighter?"

At this stage, starting red light therapy with a device like our MyElleVibe is ideal for accelerating the healing process. These devices push out concentrated red light into the vaginal walls and the cervix. The red light stimulates collagen production in tissues, enhancing the healing process.

How do I tighten my vagina? Using one of those devices for 12-minutes every other day will do wonders to rebuild the tissues, muscles, and ligaments in the pelvic region. It's ideal for women who undergo both natural and C-section birth.

Your mental health should be improving, and you should be over the baby blues by now. The red light therapy from our device will help you remove any lingering depression symptoms. If you do find your depression accelerating, make sure that you speak to your doctor about the effects of postpartum depression.

Suggestions for aiding recovery

Some women take up to a year to return to a healthy state of mind and body after experiencing childbirth. Don't worry if you aren't fully recovered back to health after the postpartum period. Keep taking good care of yourself and your child. Rely on your partner for support to overcome the baby blues and remember to eat well and drink water.

It's vital to start a recovery exercise program at this stage. Practice Kegels daily to build strength in the pelvic floor and vaginal walls. These exercises, in conjunction with your red light therapy, will fast-track the healing process.

 

Six-Months

With regular Kegels and light therapy, you should be almost back to feeling like your old self. You should overcome any incontinence symptoms (leaking of urine) and find that you have full control of your bladder.

Your mental health should be back to normal, and there should be no lingering feel9ing of depression. If you do feel slightly depressed, speak to your doctor. They'll recommend you take a blood panel to check on your hormone levels.

Keep exercising and eating well. Rely on your partner for emotional support, and you should be feeling find soon.

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