What to expect in the first 6 weeks after birth

Yes, your body is designed for pregnancy. However, it’s important to know what to expect in the first 6 weeks after birth. You need to have realistic expectations and understand that you will not ‘bounce back’ immediately! It takes time to adjust and recover, even after the most straightforward of births. 

Going Home

The usual stay in hospital after birth is 4-5 nights.

Baby capsule for the car:

  • By law, you must have an approved child restraint (baby capsule) fitted in your vehicle before taking your baby home.
  • Professional installation is strongly recommended.
  • Find the nearest fitting station through the RTA.

Caesarean wounds and perineal stitches

The doctors and midwives will give you instructions for looking after your stitches. Follow the instructions carefully to avoid infection or other complications. If you have concerns about your stitches please seek medical advice.


You will have vaginal bleeding after any birth. Normal post-natal bleeding is called the “lochia.” It occurs as the uterus slowly returns to its pre-pregnancy state. It starts out like a heavy period, and then slowly decreases with time. It can take a few weeks to stop altogether.

While the lochia is present, you should avoid tampons, intercourse and swimming/baths.

A small number of women need treatment for excessive blood loss. Seek medical attention if you are experiencing very heavy bleeding, especially if it is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as fevers, dizziness, or bad abdominal pain.

Bowels & Bladder

It‘s common to notice changes in your bowels and bladder immediately after birth. Please tell the midwives and your obstetrician if you notice any changes, so they can check what is happening and put a plan in place.

It’s very important to avoid constipation. Eat lots of fibre, drink at least 2 litres of water a day and consider taking some Metamucil to keep you regular.

Most women find that any bowel/bladder changes resolve within a few days. Speak up if the symptoms don’t settle!
You can also visit a Women’s Health Physiotherapist to strengthen your pelvic floor.

Mental Health

While many women experience a few days of “baby blues” in the first week, it’s also very common to experience more severe anxiety and depression. Please talk to your midwife, obstetrician or GP if you are struggling.

As always, this information is intended for general educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Please discuss any medical issues with your own doctor. Read our full medical disclaimer here.