Legacy Women's Health

Postpartum Recovery

Your physical, mental and emotional postpartum recovery

The postpartum recovery period is the time after a woman gives birth. For a vaginal birth, it lasts six weeks, for a Cesarean birth, it is eight weeks. During this time, you are focused on caring for your baby, but it is also important for a new mom to be caring for yourself. Attending to your own physical, mental and emotional needs – with support from our San Antonio obstetricians – will help you recover more quickly and be able to care for your child more fully.

Postpartum recovery and your physical health

Changes will continue to occur in your body as it recovers from pregnancy and delivery.

  • You will have vaginal bleeding. Initially, it will be heavy and red but will become lighter over the next several days, ending within a few weeks. It’s important to only use pads, not tampons, during this time. If you are concerned about the amount of bleeding or the color, contact your OBGYN.
  • You will likely have abdominal cramps as your uterus contracts back to its normal, pre-pregnancy size.
  • Your breasts may feel tender and uncomfortable as your breastmilk comes in. If you choose not to breastfeed, apply cold packs to your breasts to relieve pain until your body stops producing milk. If you decide to breastfeed, the discomfort is best relieved by feeding your baby. Our San Antonio obstetricians offer helpful information about breastfeeding.
  • You may feel constipated after giving birth. Drinking plenty of water and eating vegetables, fruit and foods with fiber are key to getting your bowels moving.
  • After a vaginal birth, you may have a tear or incision. A Cesarean delivery will leave an incision. In both cases, your doctor will give you specific instructions for caring for your wound and what level of activity you are allowed. Be sure to follow those instructions closely to ensure the best recovery. If you are concerned about how your wound is healing, contact your OBGYN.

Mental and emotional health

Caring for your mental and emotional health is as important to your postpartum recovery as physical care.

Getting enough sleep during the postpartum period is challenging, but it is crucial to your mental and emotional health. Rest and sleep when you can, and try to nap when your baby naps.

Accept help when it’s offered. If you have a community of people willing to make meals, help with chores, or care for other children, say yes. Taking these responsibilities off your plate will give you more time to focus on your recovery.

It is common for new moms to feel anxious, sad or unprepared. These “baby blues” typically resolve within a week or two. However, if you are experiencing stronger feelings that last longer than a few weeks or interfere with your daily life, you may have postpartum depression.

Because there are treatments for postpartum depression, it’s important to contact your doctor as soon as you become aware of symptoms. Please do not wait until your scheduled postpartum appointment. Our San Antonio obstetricians offer more information and help for postpartum depression.

You will best care for your baby when you also care for yourself. Our San Antonio obstetricians are available to help you with your physical, mental and emotional postpartum recovery. Contact us for answers to your questions or an appointment with Legacy Women’s Health.