At three weeks postpartum, you may start feeling a little more like yourself. Of course, everyone is different, and even if your body is up and running, caring for a newborn is a whole other ball game.
Here’s what you might experience in terms of physical changes, mental health, self-care needs, and intimacy this week, as well as what to expect at your next healthcare check-up.
Postpartum bleeding will probably be lighter at this point. You may notice an increase in bleeding if you take on new activities — like trying to go for a short walk. This is your body’s way of reminding you that you’re still in recovery and may need to take it easy. It can be frustrating to want to get back to normal activity, but honoring the healing process will make it shorter overall. If you had a C-section, you might still experience a little pain at the incision site or even numbness as the nerves around the scar continue to heal.
It can take six or more weeks for your uterus to shrink back to its normal size, so you may still appear pregnant for the next few months. Hot flashes and night sweats are also relatively common around this time, but if they’re frequent, don’t hesitate to check in with your healthcare provider.
If you’re breastfeeding, you may still be finding your rhythm, but hopefully are experiencing less discomfort. Because nursing can require a lot of energy, eating a nutritious diet with frequent snacks and drinking plenty of water are important for keeping your milk supply and energy levels up.
While you should be scheduled for a six-week postpartum appointment, reach out to your provider if you have questions or concerns before then.
With hormonal shifts, the major lifestyle adjustment of becoming a parent, and body changes, it’s normal to feel emotional around this time. It’s common to feel sad, weepy or worried in the first few weeks after birth. That said, if these feelings are extreme or persistent, it’s time to call your provider. You know when you are just not feeling like yourself, and there are many options available to help you feel better.
Coupled with an out-of-whack sleep schedule, feeling like you can’t get anything done around the home might make you feel stressed or anxious. If you experience depression or severe anxiety for more than a couple of weeks, get in touch with your healthcare provider or call the Postpartum Support International hotline.
Managing to clean your home, get laundry done, and cook meals might be near-impossible these first few weeks, let alone tending to your own needs. Go easy on yourself.
Now is this the time to accept help from your friends and family (they really do mean it!) and to focus on caring for your little one and healing. If you don’t have a partner or if you’re struggling to find support, reach out to a postpartum doula or find an in-person or online breastfeeding support group.
Sex and intimacy
Healthcare providers usually recommend waiting at least six weeks after delivery (whether vaginal or via C-section) before having intercourse to make sure your body has plenty of time to heal.
Even once you’re cleared, it can still take time to refamiliarize yourself with your body and feel up for sex. There’s no rush.
Your postpartum check-up
If you didn’t have an appointment last week, your healthcare provider might want to see you this week for a postpartum check-up. They’ll look at any stitches you may have had, ask you about your mental and physical symptoms, and may chat with you about birth control. Getting pregnant again might be the last thing on your mind right now, but it’s possible to ovulate within a month after childbirth.
We recommend tracking your physical and mental symptoms these first few weeks. That way, you’ll be able to give your provider the full picture, and they can figure out a care plan that works for your unique needs.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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