After Delivery: A Freakout-Free Guide to What Happens After Childbirth-- and How to Prepare!

You've knew having a baby would be different, but wow! Here's the scoop on new mom care from after delivery bleeding to postpartum weight loss (17 Photos)

Kelly Grant on Oct 12, 2011 at 9:56AM

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16 Things to Expect After the Baby Heads Out

Adrian Weinbrecht/Stone/Getty Images

a Kelly Grant on Sep 21, 2011 at 5:58PM

You know that your body goes through some serious changes as your baby grows during pregnancy -- from thicker hair and bigger boobs to swollen fingers and even larger feet. What you may not realize: In the days and weeks following childbirth, there are almost as many changes that occur -- in a shorter amount of time! -- as your body starts to recover from pregnancy. Here's what you can expect after delivery -- besides an adorable newborn, of course.

Some Serious Pain Down There
An episiotomy or vaginal tear will be painful for seven to 10 days post delivery, and then sore for about two to six weeks after that. “Sitz baths twice a day are very soothing,” recommends Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School in New Haven, CT. You can also expect achy postpartum uterine contractions, cramping and backaches. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen (Motrin) are a good choice; if the pain is very strong, your doc may prescribe a mild narcotic like Tylenol #3 (with codeine) -- both are fine to take if you’re nursing. An ice pack, witch hazel pads and a squirt bottle for spritzing post-potty will also ease pain.

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