Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
Raytheon Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Parents
Your baby’s finally here, and you’re thrilled — but you’re also exhausted, uncomfortable, on an emotional roller coaster, and wondering whether you’ll ever fit into your jeans again. Childbirth classes helped prepare you for giving birth, but you weren’t prepared for all of this!
After your baby arrives, you’ll notice some changes — both physical and emotional.
Physically, you might experience:
Emotionally, you may be feeling:
Also, when it comes to intimacy, you and your partner may be on completely different pages. Your partner may be ready to pick up where you left off before baby’s arrival, whereas you may not feel comfortable enough — physically or emotionally — and might crave nothing more than a good night’s sleep. Doctors often ask women to wait a few weeks before having sex to allow them to heal.
It took your body months to prepare to give birth, and it takes time to recover. If you’ve had a cesarean section (C-section), it can take even longer because surgery requires a longer healing time. If unexpected, it may have also raised emotional issues.
Pain is greatest the first few days after the surgery and should gradually subside. Your doctor will advise you on precautions to take after surgery, and give you directions for bathing and how to begin gentle exercises to speed recovery and help avoid constipation.
Things to know:
You can become pregnant again before your first postpartum period. Even though this is less likely if you are exclusively breastfeeding (day and night, no solids, no bottles, at least 8 times a day, never going more than 4 hours during the day or 6 hours at night without feeding), have not had a period, and your baby is younger than 6 months old, it is still possible.
If you want to protect against pregnancy, discuss your options with your doctor. This may include barrier methods (like condoms or diaphragms), an IUD, pills, a patch, an implantable device, or shots.
You need plenty of sleep, lots of fluids, and good nutrition, especially if you’re breastfeeding. An easy way to stay on top of drinking enough fluids is to have a glass of water whenever your baby nurses. At least until your milk supply is well established, try to avoid caffeine, which causes loss of fluid through urine and sometimes makes babies wakeful and fussy.
If you have any breastfeeding problems, talk to your doctor, midwife, or a lactation specialist. Your clinic or hospital lactation specialist can advise you on how to deal with any breastfeeding problems. Relieve clogged milk ducts with breast massage, frequent nursing, feeding after a warm shower, and warm moist compresses applied throughout the day.
If you develop a fever or chills or your breast becomes tender or red, you may have an infection (mastitis) and need antibiotics. Call your doctor if this happens. Continue nursing or pumping from both breasts, though, and drink plenty of fluids.
Engorged breasts will feel better as your breastfeeding pattern becomes established or, if you’re not breastfeeding, when your body stops producing milk — usually within a few days.
Continue sitz baths (sitting in just a few inches of water and covering the buttocks, up to the hips, in the water) using cool water for the first few days, then warm water after that. Squeeze the cheeks of your bottom together when you sit to avoid pulling painfully on the stitches. Sitting on a pillow may be more comfortable than sitting on a hard surface.
Use a squirt bottle with warm water to wash the area with water when you use the toilet; gently pat dry. After a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to avoid infection. Reduce swelling with ice packs or chilled witch hazel pads. Local anesthetic sprays also can be helpful.
Talk to your doctor about taking an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen to help with the pain and swelling.
Exercise as soon as you’ve been cleared by your doctor to help restore your strength and pre-pregnancy body, increase your energy and sense of well-being, and reduce constipation. Begin slowly and increase gradually. Walking and swimming are excellent choices.
Alternating warm sitz baths and cold packs can help with hemorrhoids. It also can help to sit on an inflatable donut cushion.
Ask your doctor about a stool softener. Don’t use laxatives, suppositories, or enemas without your doctor’s OK. Increase your intake of fluids and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. After your doctor has cleared it, exercise can be very helpful.
Your body needs time to heal. Doctors usually recommend waiting 4-6 weeks to have sex to reduce the risk of infection, increased bleeding, or re-opening healing tissue.
Begin slowly, with kissing, cuddling, and other intimate activities. You’ll probably notice reduced vaginal lubrication (this is due to hormones and usually is temporary), so a water-based lubricant might be useful. Try to find positions that put less pressure on sore areas and are most comfortable for you. Tell your partner if you’re sore or frightened about pain during sexual activity — talking it over can help both of you to feel less anxious and more secure about resuming your sex life.
Urinary or fecal incontinence often eases gradually as your body returns to its normal prepregnancy state. Encourage the process with Kegel exercises, which help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. To find the correct muscles, pretend you’re trying to stop peeing. Squeeze those muscles for a few seconds, then relax (your doctor can check to be sure you’re doing them correctly).
Wear a sanitary pad for protection, and let the doctor know about any incontinence you have.
You’ll get greater enjoyment in your new role as mom — and it will be much easier — if you care for both yourself and your new baby. For example:
Remember, Wonder Woman is fiction. Ask your partner, friends, and family for help. Jot down small, helpful things people can do as they occur to you. When people offer to help, check the list. For example:
You should call your doctor about your postpartum health if you:
While recovering from delivery can be a lot to handle, things will get easier. Before you know it, you will be able to fully focus on enjoying your new baby.
Bonding, the intense attachment that develops between you and your baby, is completely natural. And it’s probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care.
If you’re a new mom, breastfeeding your baby can feel like a challenge. Check out this article for information on common nursing positions, proper latching-on techniques, and how to know if your baby is getting enough to eat.
Learn which nutrients you need while pregnant or breastfeeding, and easy ways to add them to your diet.
Making a decision to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a personal one. There are some points to consider to help you decide which option is best for you and your baby.
Whether your baby comes home from the hospital right away, arrives later, or comes through an adoption agency, homecoming is a major event.
Some women choose to give birth using no medications at all, relying instead on relaxation techniques and controlled breathing for pain. Get more information on natural childbirth.
Advice and information for expectant and new parents.
Learning all you can about childbirth pain is one of the best ways to help you deal with it when the time comes.
When you first meet your newborn, you may be surprised by what you see. Here’s what to expect.
Your baby’s here! Find out what to expect on that special day first day of life.
If you’re a first-time parent, put your fears aside and get the basics in this guide about burping, bathing, bonding, and other baby-care concerns.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.