The Post Royal Baby Body: Kate After Labour

The Duchess of Cambridge is receiving the best of care in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital we are told. With a menu that includes champagne, roast lamb and some royal cheesecake we’re betting the Kate’s after birth diet splurge will be short lived. As a mother of an heir to the British throne, its likely Kate will take a lot of time to recover and bond with the baby. Here’s what’s to be expected.

How will I feel after giving birth?

Giving birth is a major event for you and your body. Even an uncomplicated bith your body after labour can be very sore. If you have a vaginal birth then you may need stitches from an episiotomy or tear1. It’s also common to develop piles after a long pushing stage and have difficulty walking for several days1.

Caring for stitches after delivery

Shortly after your baby is born your midwife will check your vagina and establish the degree of tearing. For a bad tear you may need an epidural whilst the stitches are put in place. Your midwife will use dissolvable stitches, which will usually dissolve by the time you’ve healed1. Avoid sitting on hard surfaces for several days and eat plenty of fruit to aid healing.

Your body after a caesarean

If you have a caesarean, either planned or by emergency, you can expect to stay in hospital for three to four days and should not lift anything other than your baby for several weeks, giving your abdominal muscles time to heal2.

A normal caesarean wound sits just above your pelvic bone and will take around six weeks to heal fully2. In this time you will need plenty of rest. Avoid too much activity; even climbing the stairs too often can cause pain and slow healing.

Whilst in hospital you will have your wound checked regularly for signs of healing and infection. Once at home, keep your wound clean and dry and avoid tight clothing.

Lochia – bleeding after delivery

With both vaginal births and caesarean births you will experience heavy bleeding for several weeks afterwards3. This bleeding, called Lochia, is completely normal and is your body’s way of removing the lining of the womb3. You will need special maternity pads for the first few days when the bleeding is at its heaviest. Lochia can stop and start or come in a continual flow like a period3.

References:

1. NHS Choices, 2011. You straight after the birth. [online]. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/you-after-birth.aspx#piles [Accessed 14 May 2012]

2. NHS Choices, 2011. Recovering from a caesarean section. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Caesarean-section/Pages/Recovery.aspx [Accessed 14 May 2012]

3. Baby Centre, 2010. Lochia (Postnatal bleeding). [online]. Available at: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/baby/youafterthebirth/lochia/ [Accessed 14 May 2012]

10757 Published September 2012

Review Scheduled September 2013