When: From delivery to six weeks
Why: Really, wouldn't it be more surprising if you weren't sore? When you give birth vaginally, your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) will swell and may even tear; you might also have an episiotomy. "Honestly, I wondered when I would ever be able to sit down again!" says Liz Delizia, of New York City, mother of Morgan, now 2. "You have to look at birth as a trauma to the body," says Joel Evans, MD, coauthor of The Whole Pregnancy Handbook (Gotham). "But the good news is that the body has the ability to repair itself." Recovery time varies, but nearly all new moms see the soreness dissipate within six weeks. Until then, try sitting on doughnut pillows, which provide cushioning while preventing direct contact to the vaginal region; sink into a sitz bath, a shallow basin that allows you to soak only your bottom; or relax for a spell in a regular bath. And use the ice packs and witch hazel pads offered in the hospital. They'll help ease the swelling and relieve pain temporarily.