Even after 9 months of pregnancy, your body will continue to change once your baby is out in the world. So what does recovery from childbirth look like? How long does it take? What can you expect?

The first thing to know is that the timeline tends to happen in stages. “Some of the ways the body recovers happen quickly, and some of them will take more time,” says Doctor Elizabeth Rice. In this episode of the For Health’s Sake podcast, Dr. Rice shares what to expect in the days and months following birth, including:

  • Weight and blood volume changes
  • How the uterus shrinks after birth
  • Postpartum incontinence and bowel issues
  • Why you might start birth control while breastfeeding
  • How to tell if you’re doing too much
  • When you’ll start to feel like your pre-pregnancy self again

Ask questions if you have them

Postpartum recovery may take a while, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until your 6-week appointment to bring up anything that’s uncomfortable or unclear. As Dr. Rice puts it, “If something feels wrong or it feels like you’re going backwards in your recovery process, definitely reach out and meet with us.” Your care team can help you understand what’s happening and keep you moving forward.