Postpartum Recovery Timeline: What to Expect and When

About 40 weeks of pregnancy and several taxing hours of labor aren’t the end of your pregnancy journey. The standard postpartum recovery timeline spans six weeks and can get even longer if you’ve had any comp0lications. The good news is that it can get shorter as well. In some cases, the recovery might go so smoothly, you’ll barely notice it. However, to achieve that result, you’ll need to take very good care of your body.

Postpartum Recovery Timeline: Most Notable Benchmarks

First of all, you need to understand that the duration of your recovery depends on the method of giving birth. The complications during the process also have a huge effect on your healing time. Unfortunately, the changes caused by them cannot be predicted.

If you had a cesarean section, you’ll need to spend up to 4 days in the hospital. You might also need to take pain medications for up to 12 days. In case your scar heals well and no other issues occur, you should be feeling fine within three weeks. The aches will continue until your body heals completely, but they shouldn’t be severe.

Please bear in mind that because of the painkillers, you might not be able to nurse the baby. You’ll need to consult a lactation professional about this matter as well as your postpartum weight loss. Nursing will require you to observe a special nutritious diet, so shedding extra pounds will be very difficult. Once you stop breastfeeding, you can ‘catch up’ on the time by using highly efficient supplements that facilitate weight loss after pregnancy.

While you are at it, be sure to talk to your lactation professional about breast engorgement and various issues associated with breastfeeding. These include cracked nipples, aching breasts, thrush, etc. These matters are also a part of your postpartum recovery. They are one of the reasons why its timeline is so unpredictable, as women often have very different reactions to breastfeeding and might develop serious health issues because of or alongside it. These include mastitis, infections, etc.

For a vaginal birth, you should prepare for at least a 3-week recovery. That’s what you can expect if everything went smoothly and you had no tears. If you had an episiotomy or a perineal tear, the recovery can take six and more weeks. Its duration will greatly depend on how well you take care of yourself during this time.

Tips for Speeding Up the Postpartum Recovery Timeline

  • Do not use tampons. You’ll need to use pads because the vaginal discharge can last for up to 4 weeks. This type of bleeding is called lochia and it’s completely normal as long as it doesn’t become too severe (you need to change a pad every 2 hours) or the clots aren’t too big.
  • Use ice to reduce the swelling of the breasts and vagina. Be careful and wrap it up in a cloth. Don’t hold an icepack to these areas for more than 10-20 minutes.
  • After using the toilet, clean yourself using warm water and soft cloth instead of toilet paper.
  • Sit in a shallow warm bath up to 3 times a day. You’ll need to keep the water comfortably warm but not hot. Pat yourself dry after 5-10 minutes. You can also repeat this procedure after bowel movements.
  • Rest as often as possible, especially if you had a C-section. Have your husband, friends, or relatives help with the baby, especially during night feeds. Use a breast pump as having solid 7-8 hours of sleep is one of the most important requirements for a speedy postpartum recovery.
  • If you had a C-section, wear specialized belts or underwear that will offer extra support to the incision area. You also should hold a pillow to your stomach when you laugh or cough to ease the strain on the muscles.

Speak Your Mind



  1. vickie couturier says

    good information,,my daughter just had a baby in Nov..going to pass this along to her

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