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Your Postpartum Body

In a perfect world, you'd come home from the hospital weighing exactly what you weighed the day your pregnancy test turned positive and feeling as good as you felt before conception. Unfortunately, you live in an imperfect world where your postpartum body is shockingly similar to your pregnant body, except for the big belly--and instead of a big belly, you have a medium-size belly.

Your body won't feel like your own during those first couple of weeks postpartum. Your breasts will fill with milk; your vaginal area, episiotomy or not, will ache, as will a cesarean delivery incision; you'll soak a sanitary napkin every hour or two; your eyes will be bloodshot; and you'll feel sore all over. If you had a vaginal delivery you may have trouble urinating, moving your bowels, walking, and sitting. You'll also be shocked to find out that the number that comes up when you step on the bathroom scale will be only about 10 or 12 pounds less than it was before delivery. (If someone tells you she came home from the hospital and slipped right into her prepregnancy jeans, she's lying.)

Hang in there; things will get better fast. Within a week or two your aches and pains will go away, your vaginal discharge will slow down, and you'll grow accustomed to your new milk-producing breasts. Sitting, walking, and using the bathroom will get easier every day. The pounds should gradually start to drop off, particularly if you are nursing and you stick to a healthy diet.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.