I've said it before and I'll say it again — your body is a wonderland. It's incredible how your body prepares for your pregnancy, but the things your postpartum body will do that are signs it's healing normally are just as amazing. Seriously — you just gave birth and your body is already working to put everything back together so that you can do it all over again. (Hold your horses, body. They're still in the hospital for God's sake.)
Of course, you have to do your own work in order to heal properly. Make sure you're not overdoing it, keep you incision or stitches clean, avoid intercourse until your doctor gives the green light — the basics. But those aren't exactly weird things and they don't make you second guess yourself. The way your body heals naturally after childbirth, however, may have you wondering if you need to call a doctor. Is it normal to keep bleeding for a few weeks? Are those uterine cramps supposed to happen? Is waking up in bed sheets soaked with your own sweat something you need to panic about?
Nope. In fact, those are just some of the seven things your postpartum body will do that are signs it's healing normally. So take a deep breath, follow doctor's orders, and let your body take care of itself the best way it knows how.
1. Your Uterus Cramps
Feeling crampy? It's OK, despite how achy it may feel. According to Baby Center, these postpartum cramps are caused by the contractions in your uterus as it shrinks down to its pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding can bring them on or make them more intense, but all cramping should subside by six weeks after delivery.
2. You Go Through Night Sweats
Think of all those extra fluids you toted around during pregnancy. They've got to leave your body at some point, right? What To Expect noted that postpartum sweating is a very real thing and, like cramping, it should tamper off a few weeks after delivery. But don't be alarmed if you find yourself with some uncomfortable sleep as you sweat (like you were getting a ton of sleep anyway) — it's just your hormones flushing all of the fluids out of your body.
3. You'll Experience Bleeding
I know, it can be super scary to bleed after you've given birth, but it happens, and to a certain point, it's normal. Mayo Clinic noted that postpartum bleeding is often heavy the first few days after delivery (you'll need some heavy-duty pads) and it can get heavier if you do too much soon after childbirth, like too much walking or moving around. If you notice you're passing large clots or that, even after resting, your bleeding still remains incredibly heavy days and weeks after delivery, it's worth reaching out to your doctor.
4. You'll Feel Vaginal Discomfort
I mean, it's bound to happen, right? Even if you didn't tear during delivery, your perineal area and rectum will be swollen after birth and you can feel vaginal discomfort for several weeks after delivery, according to What to Expect. If you have a wound that needed stitches, you may find it itches as it heals or requires extra ice and care to keep the pain away.
5. Your C-Section Scar Will Itch
As a C-section mama, this one drove me absolutely crazy. But it's nice to know that your C-section is healing, even if it itches like crazy while it's happening. According to Baby Center, an itchy C-section scar just means it's healing, so there's no need to panic. Ointments can help keep it from driving you bonkers, but it won't take long for it to fully heal.
6. You'll Pee A Lot
Yup. The overactive bladder didn't end with pregnancy. According to Parents, your need to pee every 20 minutes is because your body is flushing out those extra fluids. Try and go often, especially if you've had a vaginal delivery, as the stress on your muscles can make it hard for you to tell when you have to pee.
7. You'll Lose Some Weight
OK, so don't expect to bounce back immediately, but according to Fit Pregnancy, you can plan on some kind of weight loss immediately following your delivery. Think about it, you've pushed out a baby, lost a lot of fluids in the process, and are going to be losing more fluids over the next couple of days. A 13 to 15 pound weight loss isn't unheard of as your body heals.