What To Expect in The First Week After Childbirth


Imagining what your first week of motherhood will look and feel like with your new baby? Excited? Nervous? There is no stopping some anxiety from creeping in, but you can manage it better if you generally know what to expect.

Even though every post-birth journey is different, there are still a few things that are common enough to be anticipated. To help you feel confident and better prepared we’ll explain what you can expect in this first vulnerable week as a new mum. We’ll discuss the postpartum body & mind, various coping tactics and tips for bub's "womb to world" transition so you can feel better prepared.

First Week After Childbirth

What To Expect From your Body in the First Week After Birth.

During pregnancy, the body works tirelessly to keep your child safe and healthy — from changing shape to working overtime to increase blood flow, it does everything it can to sustain another life. And it doesn't stop changing after childbirth either! Once again, it alters and modifies itself to aid in postpartum healing and newborn care. So let's take a closer look at how your body will change in the first week and what discomforts you might encounter.

Postpartum Afterpains - Lower abdominal cramps, known as "afterpains," are often short, sharp, and most intense during the first week following birth. They occur due to the uterus contracting and shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy size and should subside within a couple of days.
    Postpartum Bleeding - Whether you birth vaginally or through a c-section, expect to bleed heavily during the first week. This bloody, mucus-filled vaginal discharge, known as lochia, is heavier than menstrual blood and will last longer than a typical period. It is basically the remnants from the pregnant uterus like uterine tissue, placenta and blood.
      Change in Breast Size - Within the first week of birth, your breasts will swell as milk starts coming in. The discomfort from breast engorgement can range from slight soreness to very painful. If you find yourself on the painful end of the spectrum, then try massaging or pumping. You can even try putting cabbage leaves inside your bra; many mums swear by their effectiveness.
        Perineum Soreness - If you give birth vaginally, then your perineum area will stretch and may even tear, causing you pain and soreness in the post-birth days. If you have an episiotomy, expect that area to hurt more and take longer to heal. But you can get relief by using perineum strips and taking warm baths imbued with postpartum sitz soak.
          Night Sweats and Hot Flashes - As the body reverts back to its pre-pregnancy state, many hormones start fluctuating, including estrogen, which decreases significantly after childbirth and is the main culprit for postpartum night sweats and hot flashes.
            Incision Site Pain (C-Section) - If you have a c-section, you will feel more fatigue following delivery. You will also feel pain around the incision area, and it will likely stay sore for more than a week. Prescribed pain meds should help, make sure to listen to your doctor’s advice.
              Nipple Pain - If you decide to breastfeed, you may experience nipple soreness and even pain if they crack and bleed. But there are many effective ways to treat this particular nursing woe, one of them being a soothing nipple balm.
                Extreme Exhaustion - Severe exhaustion is one of the unpleasant byproducts of childbirth that no woman can avoid. The strains of labour and delivery combined with sleepless nights can make you feel like you are running on fumes.
                  Urinary Incontinence - You may feel a burning sensation when you pee after giving birth. You may also find it difficult to hold in your pee. This loss of bladder control after birth is known as postpartum urinary incontinence. However, this disappears after the pelvic muscles regain their strength.
                    Weight Loss - You can expect to lose about 13 pounds right after childbirth and more within the first week as the body sheds the remaining fluids from the pregnancy days.

                      First Week After Childbirth

                      The Mental Challenges You Might Face in the First Week

                      Postpartum discomforts are not limited to the physical body; mental and emotional distress are also quite prevalent among mothers following childbirth. You may experience postnatal anxiety and develop irrational fears or worry excessively about scenarios that are unlikely to occur. You may also suffer from baby blues, which manifest as anger, sadness, and mood swings on the second or third day after birth and last for at least two weeks.

                      First Week After Childbirth

                      What To Expect From a One-Week-Old Baby?

                      Appearance - If you have a forceps or vacuum delivery, then bub's head might look like a cone or have a lump on the top. But soon, it will go back to looking round and normal. The little one will also appear wrinkly and may have thin, silky hair called lanugo all over the body that will fall off on its own.
                        Feeding and Sleeping - Newborns feed every 2 to 3 hours and sleep in short bursts between feeds. So expect bub to wake up every few hours to feed and not sleep through the night. 
                          Communication - Babies start to make cooing noises for communication by the second month, but before that, they mostly cry and use other cues to convey their needs. For example, they suck their thumb when hungry.
                            Bath Time - Your baby will need to bathe within the first week of birth, but it should only be a sponge bath until the umbilical cord stump falls off.
                              Health Issues - Just like mums, babies also lose weight within the first few days of birth, but it shouldn't be more than 10% of their birth weight. It's common for newborns to get sticky eyes that occur due to a blocked tear duct within the first week. Aside from that, babies are also susceptible to various rashes.

                                First Week After Childbirth

                                Coping Strategies for New Mamas

                                Take Special Care of the Perineum Area - As mentioned earlier, if you give birth vaginally, you will have to pay special attention to the perineal area. So, aside from using perineum strips and indulging in warm baths enriched with postpartum sitz soak, you can also do kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic area and sit in doughnut-shaped cushions. Additionally, drink lots of water to avoid constipation, as straining can cause further damage to the region.

                                Develop a Postpartum Self-Care Routine - Consistent restorative downtime is necessary after childbirth, especially in the beginning when the body is at its weakest. So, even if you think that daily TLC shouldn't be high on your task list, you still need to create a self-care ritual that aids the healing process. Here are some products to include in your routine: a rejuvenating body polish to improve the skin's texture, belly oil to repair any skin damage, nipple balm to soothe the nursing nips and our postpartum sitz soak to stimulate blood flow and eliminate swelling and infection.

                                Have a Healthy Diet - Include loads of fresh veggies, fruits and lean proteins in your daily meals. Having a nutrient-dense diet can help replenish the body of any lost nutrition and give you the stamina boost needed for the busy days ahead.

                                Make Time To Go Outside - Make time to go outside for short drives or walks. Breathing in the fresh air and soaking up sunlight will help revitalise your spirit and improve your mood.

                                Limit Visitors - There are many benefits of limiting visitors. Fewer visitors mean more rest time, bonding with the baby, and privacy. So, if these perks seem attractive to you and you prefer not to socialise shortly after giving birth, feel free to restrict the number of visits from guests.

                                Listen to Music - Research shows that listening to music can help reduce stress hormones. So when you are feeling overwhelmed, play happy, soothing songs and give your tired mind some auditory nourishment.

                                  First Week After Childbirth

                                  Tips To Help Ease Bub’s Transition From Womb to World

                                  Transitioning from a world of liquid to a world of air and gravity can be a bit jarring for the little one. So to help bub settle and adapt to the outside world with ease, you can try these four tips that almost always work in calming a newborn.

                                  • Try swaddling to recreate the womb's warmth and cosiness.
                                  • Buy a white noise machine to drown out any background noise that can startle the baby.
                                  • Talk to bub and give as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. Your familiar voice and smell will help relax your little one.
                                  • Mimic the floating motion of the womb by gentle rocking bub in your arms.


                                  It's pretty apparent that these first seven days are extremely consequential when it comes to bub's development and mum's postpartum healing. So, we advise taking things slow, prioritising self-care and trusting your innate maternal instinct. To start this beautiful journey with ease, we recommend treating yourself to one of our postpartum care packages. These indulgent boxes filled with pampering goodies will definitely come in handy.

                                   – The Hermosa Co.

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