At seven weeks postpartum, you might be feeling more like your old self again, both mentally and physically. That said, there are still a handful of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms to look out for at this stage.
Read on for a rundown of what you might experience, along with tips for ensuring you get the self-care you need.
Every pregnancy and labor is unique, and the same goes for postpartum recovery. It took nine months to grow your baby in your belly, and sometimes, it can take just as long (or longer) for your body to fully heal.
Bladder and belly
A couple of months after childbirth, you might feel an urge to pee as frequently as you did while pregnant. On a similar note, it can take more than six weeks for your uterus to retract back to its normal size. It’s not uncommon to still look like you’re expecting, so don’t sweat it if you’re still most comfortable wearing maternity pants.
While your uterus may shrink back to close to its pre-pregnancy size, your pelvic floor may need some support to get strong again. Strengthening your pelvic floor can help with bladder, rectal, and sexual function. Learn more here.
Hair loss and skin changes
While you may have enjoyed a thicker mane during pregnancy, postpartum hair loss is normal. It can be alarming but is usually nothing to be concerned about and should subside within about 6 months of when it begins.
You might also notice some skin changes this week, like acne, dryness, eczema, or melasma (hyperpigmentation). Check in with your provider about any unusual symptoms that last longer than a few weeks.
Back strain is common among pregnant people, and it can stick around for a couple of months after childbirth while your loosened core muscles regain their strength. Coupled with holding your baby for hours a day, aches and pains are pretty standard at seven weeks postpartum.
Your mental health
Postpartum depression (PPD) is most common in the first eight weeks postpartum, but symptoms can arise later. You might feel hopeless, anxious, irritable, restless, or moodier than usual. Some people with PPD have trouble bonding with their babies, finding joy in new parenthood, or focusing on simple tasks.
Experiencing waves of emotions is normal for new parents. However, if your symptoms don’t go away within a couple of weeks, check in with your healthcare provider or call the Postpartum Support International hotline.
Your energy levels
The first few months of parenthood are undoubtedly exhausting. With late-night feedings, the stress of caring for an infant, and not being able to sleep for longer than a few hours at a time, it might feel nearly impossible to find the energy to tackle your to-do list.
Feel like you’ve been going non-stop but somehow didn’t accomplish any household tasks at the end of the day? This is normal for new parents, and it’s OK if you’re not as productive as usual. Try to go easy on yourself, rest when you can, and accept help from your loved ones when they offer it.
Your baby is a top priority right now, but tending to your own needs is important too. Your pre-baby self-care might have been a bit more indulgent, whether it was bubble baths or binging on your favorite show uninterrupted. But this week, it might be as simple as going on walks, taking a daily shower, stretching for a few minutes every day, or getting back into a regular skincare routine.
Sex and intimacy
You’re most likely medically cleared for intercourse at this point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re up for it. It can be hard to get into an intimate mindset while navigating your new identity as a parent — not to mention finding the time and energy.
If you have a partner, connecting with them is likely important to you, but there’s no rush to have sex just yet if you’re not feeling ready. There are many other ways to get quality time — even if it’s just watching a movie or going on family walks. It’s also possible to ovulate and get pregnant again before having your first postpartum period, so when you do have intercourse, be sure to have a plan for birth control if you could get pregnant from sex.
Returning to work
You might also be going back to work this week (or in the near future). Balancing your professional and family life can be overwhelming, especially if you’re commuting to a job and pumping during the workday. However, some new parents find it freeing. While there’s still a lot on your plate, temporarily switching gears from baby duty can be a welcome change. Honoring the way you feel as a new working parent is important, whether you’re feeling excited, regretful, or a little bit of both.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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- Dunn G, et al. Trajectories of Lower Back, Upper Back, and Pelvic Girdle Pain during Pregnancy and Early Postpartum in Primiparous Women. Women’s Health. 2019. doi:10.1177/1745506519842757.
- Office on Women’s Health (OASH). Postpartum depression. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). 2019. Web.
- Alum AC, et al. Factors associated with early resumption of sexual intercourse among postnatal women in Uganda. Reprod Health 12, 107. 2015. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-015-0089-5
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