What happens after pregnancy

Postpartum & regression

The puerperium, also called child's bed or in Latin puerperium, describes the 6 to 8 week period after delivery. The maternal organism needs this time to regenerate the pregnancy and birth-related changes.

Mothers have to learn the most important steps in dealing with the infant. In addition, there is the physiological regression of the physical changes caused by pregnancy and childbirth.

Mental health problems related to childbirth

Some women who have recently given birth also experience psychological changes or even serious psychological disorders after giving birth. For many women, giving birth can not only be a joyful event, it can also mark the beginning of mental health problems.

About 10-15% of women who have recently given birth experience what is known as postnatal depression or postnatal depression. In around 1 to 2 in 1000 births, the mother can develop so-called puerperal psychosis. The so-called baby blues are less problematic - a low mood that usually occurs a few days after the birth and disappears again after a short time.


In the days after the birth, there are often after-pains, i.e. contractions of the uterus. These serve to regress the uterus and are particularly supported by breastfeeding and the associated release of the hormone oxytocin. The contractions are felt differently painful; Especially multiparous women experience this puerperal labor as very painful.

The so-called weekly flow, i.e. the flushing of dead material and wound tissue from the uterus, lasts for about 6 weeks. At the beginning the discharge is still bloody (3 to 5 days), then brownish for a few days, then dirty-yellowish and after about 3 weeks gray-whitish. The smell is bland and not offensive. Regular hand washing should be a matter of course for hygienic reasons.

The muscles of the abdomen are still slack after pregnancy and take a few months to return to their old shape. The so-called recovery gymnastics promotes the recovery of the internal organs and brings the overstretched muscles, especially the abdominal and leg muscles, back into shape. Start slowly with light exercises and don't overdo it.
If you have a caesarean section, you should wait a little longer. Refrain from physical exertion, especially on the abdominal muscles, for 4 to 6 weeks. After a perineal incision (episiotomy), you should also wait until the suture has healed. With a normal birth, you can start exercising the pelvic floor muscles just a few days after the birth. This helps tighten the vaginal muscles and stimulates digestion.

Problems related to the pelvic floor are common after giving birth. For example, some women can no longer hold back the water completely (incontinence); Small amounts of urine leak out unintentionally, especially when laughing, coughing or sneezing (stessing incontinence). Others have difficulty urinating. This usually disappears after a while and can be accelerated with appropriate exercises.

Women shouldn't be surprised if they still look six months pregnant after giving birth. In addition to the relaxed abdominal muscles in the first few days and weeks, the enlarged uterus also contributes to this. The regression of the uterus is a process and can be checked with a palpation examination. The level of the uterine fundus should be 1 to 2 transverse fingers (QF) below the navel immediately after birth, 1 QF above the navel on the 1st day after birth, between the navel and symphysis on the 5th day and just above the 10 days after birth Symphysis.