Once your baby has made his way into your arms, the birth process is not over. While you snuggle with your new one, the doctor will massage your abdomen, applying firm pressure to encourage the delivery of the placenta. Delivering the placenta can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour after birth. Once it has been delivered, the doctor will stitch up any tears in your vagina or perineum. Don’t worry, if you didn’t receive pain medication during birth, they will inject a little local anaesthetic into the area to numb it first.
You will continue to bleed for up to six weeks after birth, and at first, the bleeding is quite heavy. Nurses will provide you with supersized maxi-pads as well as ice-packs to reduce vaginal swelling. Many women are surprised to find they still look pregnant after giving birth. It takes approximately four weeks for your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size and it can take even longer for the abdominal muscles to return to their former state.
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