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Your Postpartum Body: 6 Things To Expect

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 18, 2023

Your Postpartum Body: 6 Things To Expect

The minute you learn of your pregnancy, you’ll start noticing physical changes in your body. On top of your growing baby bump and morning sickness, little by little, you’ll likewise observe the tenderness in your breast, how you start getting tired easily, and the back pains. Once the baby is born, your body will start recovering and changes will occur yet again. What can you expect of your postpartum body

1. Body Aches

Women who have recently given birth often experience body aches. These aches are usually caused by hormonal changes, post-pregnancy weight gain, and the physical stress of childbearing. With the baby out and your body preparing itself for nursing, a change in your posture will also take place. This, too, can strain your body. 

Getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly can help alleviate your postpartum body aches. 

2. Engorged Breast

Engorged breasts usually occur as you prepare to breastfeed your baby. You will most likely experience it within the first week of giving birth, when the colostrum transforms into mature breast milk. 

Once you pump or nurse your baby, the fullness typically subsides in 3 to 5 days. A gentle breast massage and warm compress can also help with engorgement. Of course, don’t forget that breastfeeding helps prevent swollen breasts and the overall health and healing of your postpartum body. 

3. Lochia

Lochia is the vaginal discharge after pregnancy. It is a mixture of blood, mucus, and tissue that exits the uterus through the vagina.

The amount of lochia will be different for each woman. This is because there are many factors that influence how much bleeding a woman has postpartum, such as:

  • The size of her uterus
  • How long she was pregnant
  • Whether or not she gave birth vaginally or by cesarean section
  • If she had any complications during pregnancy or labor

There are three stages of lochia, and as you go along each stage, the flow and color of the discharge become lighter. Lochia typically lasts 6 weeks. This is all natural and normal especially for a postpartum body. 

4. Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are common among pregnant women, especially in the third trimester, which means they don’t actually develop postpartum. Women usually have varicose veins due to the pressure of their baby’s weight on the veins. 

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, varicose veins can be treated with surgery, injections, or compression stockings. But, experts say it’s possible for postpartum varicose veins to subside within months or a year with home treatment. These treatments may include compression stockings, proper posture, weight management, regular exercise, and wearing flat shoes. 

Talk to your doctor about the proper treatment and prevention of stretch marks. 

5. Stomach Pooch

We cannot talk about postpartum body changes without mentioning the notorious postpartum pooch or what others refer to as the “mommy tummy.”

In the weeks following birth, your uterus adjusts once more to return to its pre-pregnancy state. This process can take up to six weeks and your stomach will begin to look flatter. 

Of course, each woman is different, so the time mommy tummy lasts is not the same for everyone. Proper exercise, a healthy diet, and breastfeeding can help you manage your weight, and therefore, your pooch as well. 

6. Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are, as most moms will describe them, an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. They can be due to rapid weight gain, hormonal changes, or a combination of the two.

Stretch marks usually develop on the abdomen and breasts but can also appear on thighs, hips, shoulders, and buttocks. They typically look like thin lines that are reddish or purplish in color.

The thing with stretch marks is that they might not totally disappear, but they can lighten within a few months or a year. If you’re worried about stretch marks, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist. 

Postpartum body changes may not be convenient, but they are the battle scars of your pregnancy. If you’re worried about a particular change, please get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Learn more about Postpartum Period here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 18, 2023

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