While you have the lochia, your uterus will be shrinking back to its normal size and position. You may experience after-pains as the uterus contracts down. After-pains may feel like mild labour contractions. They often occur while breastfeeding, because this is when the hormone oxytocin, which encourages your uterus to contract, is released. The release of the hormone oxytocin can also cause a heavier blood loss. If you feel bruised and battered, and a little worse for the wear, not to worry. Rest assured, you will feel better soon. Any small tears and grazes to the cervix, vagina and perineum will heal quickly. An episiotomy may take a bit longer to heal. Stitches may be painful for a few days or even weeks. Doing pelvic floor exercises may help reduce swelling and speed up healing.
Your breasts will be soft after the birth, as they contain only a small amount of colostrum. Colostrum is the rich, first milk that is full of antibodies. These antibodies are what help to protect your baby from infection. In a few days your breasts will begin to produce milk, and they may feel hot, swollen and tender. Your nipples may feel very sensitive at the beginning and the first ten to twenty seconds of each feed may be uncomfortable. This usually eases off after about the fifth day.
Your waistline will still be non-existent and your stomach may be flabby and wrinkly. You may start gently exercising your stomach muscles as soon as you feel up to it. Starting these exercises soon after the baby's birth will help in getting you back into shape and also lower your chances of developing back or pelvic pain.
You may have a few little things that will take a little longer to fade: piles, stretch marks on the breasts, tummy and thighs, swollen ankles, some temporary hair loss due to a drop in pregnancy hormones, and if it was a caesarean birth, you may be sore for a while. The good news is that as the level of hormones drops, the tone of smooth muscle throughout the body improves.
At postnatal check-up with your doctor about six to eight weeks after you've had the baby, your doctor will make sure you're recovering well. This is a good time to discuss any problems you might have, such as soreness from stitches, or discomfort during sex.