Physical changes after a woman has given birth
There are many different ways your body reacts after birth, and some of this is dependent on the experience you had and how your baby was born. If you have any questions please ask your midwife or obstetrician.
After caesarean section
You may have lost blood during the operation and hence may feel tired and weaker than usual. As your body makes new blood to replace that lost this will improve. Your midwife or obstetrician will advise if you need to eat a special diet or go on iron tablets, or occasionally you may need a transfusion after the birth. If this is the case this will be discussed in detail with you.
Your caesarean scar will need to heal; it may be stitched or stapled and may have a dressing on it, but you will be advised how to keep it clean. If it becomes red and inflamed (infected) please let your midwife or obstetrician know. There are also things you should not do whilst your scar is healing; you should not be driving or lifting anything heavy, and if possible, your baby can be given to you rather than you picking them up for the first few days at least.
You will need to rest to recuperate from the surgery, so get as much help as you can in this period.
If you have 'torn' during vaginal birth
If you gave birth vaginally you may have 'torn' as you gave birth. There are different degrees of tears, and whilst some can be stitched up and will heal quickly, others will have bigger tears that can affect the perineum and anus. You may require surgery for this and need to be given advice on how to look after this wound.
You may also require physiotherapy after birth to give you exercises to support your pelvic floor and prevent problems with incontinence later. If you have any questions about this ask your midwife and they will be able to refer you through to the right professionals.
After all births
You will continue to bleed after you have given birth; as though you are having a heavy period. This may continue for several weeks after birth, but let your midwife or GP know if it continues beyond this.
Whether you are breastfeeding or not your milk will start to come in after a few days. This can be very uncomfortable, so please speak with your midwife if you are not intending to breastfeed and they can support you through this. For more information about the different types of infant feeding see here.