How Long Does It Take For Uterus To Shrink? 6 Best Ways To Speed It Up

How Long Does It Take For Uterus To Shrink

If you’ve just had a baby and are wondering why you still look like you’re in the second trimester of pregnancy, you can blame your uterus. 

While all of us would love to get back to our pre-pregnancy size immediately after giving birth, it’s essential to remain as patient as possible rather than rushing the postpartum recovery process.

This article will discuss what happens to the uterus during pregnancy and after giving birth and how long does it take for uterus to shrink back to its normal size after delivery.

We will also discuss what you can expect during your postpartum recovery and share some helpful tips to get you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and shape.

Understanding your uterus

The uterus is the part of you that houses your baby. 

It starts about the size of an orange and, by the end of your pregnancy, expands to approximately the size of a watermelon to accommodate your baby.

Uterine contractions kick off labor and force your baby into the vaginal canal and out of your body during childbirth. The abdominal muscles contract, and your uterus contracts as well.

After you deliver your baby, you will deliver the placenta, which detaches from the uterine wall. This causes a wound to exist approximately the size of a dinner plate inside your body, in your uterus.

During the postpartum recovery phase, your uterus slowly shrinks to its standard size. During this time, you will experience postpartum bleeding consisting of large blood clots and uterine contractions that can feel like moderate to severe menstrual cramps.

The postpartum period typically ends with vaginal discharge that replaces the bleeding and a pre-pregnancy state for your uterus. But how long will it take for your postpartum uterus to shrink? The answer isn’t all that simple.

How long does it take for uterus to shrink

Recovery time is not the same for every woman. Several factors can affect how long the uterus takes to get back to its pre-pregnancy size.

Postpartum hemorrhage

Postpartum bleeding is normal. Postpartum hemorrhage, however, is not. 

This potentially deadly complication is one of the most severe complications that women can experience during and immediately following childbirth.

Hemorrhage occurs when the bleeding from the wound left from the placenta goes unchecked, and uncontrolled excessive bleeding occurs. It can also happen when the uterus does not shrink back quickly enough or well enough, and the healing process is disturbed.

Complications during labor and childbirth, lack of postpartum care, and uterine massage can cause this issue. 

If it happens, recovery time and the process of your uterus shrinking back will most likely be delayed. Make sure that you select a doctor to deliver your child that is experienced and prepared to address any complications that may arise.

Postpartum girdle, postpartum belly and postpartum headaches

Postpartum depression

Formerly called “the baby blues,” Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a serious condition that happens to more women than you may realize. It affects your mood, bonding experience with your child, health, and healing.

Unchecked and undiagnosed PPD can lead to a more extended recovery period.

The normal recovery

It typically takes six to eight weeks for your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy state. About a week after delivery, your uterus is already down to about a pound, almost half its weight at the time of delivery.

Massage

Uterine involution, or contractions, helps the uterus shrink. These postpartum cramps mean that your body is doing its job. 

Most women, especially those with vaginal birth, are instructed to perform a uterus massage to get uterine involution going regularly. This helps compress the blood vessels in the uterus, which will help stop the bleeding after the baby’s birth.

After about two months of following your doctor’s suggestions and getting your postpartum check-up, you may notice that your lower abdomen is less puffy and looks more like it did before you had a growing baby in your belly.

Tips to shrink uterus

While time is the only thing that is going to get your body back to the way it was before you were pregnant, there are things that you can do in the meantime that can help to speed up the process and prevent complications.

1. Wear a postpartum girdle

Moms tend to split on their opinions of the postpartum girdle. While there is little to no evidence that these belly bands help with uterine involution or cause your uterus to get back to its comparable orange size any faster, the women who have tried it tend to swear by it.

The pressure applied to the lower belly, or the area right below the belly button and extending down to the pubic area, is supposed to mimic the pressure applied during the fundal massage. 

Does it really make your uterus shrink? The jury is still out, but many women will tell you that the uterus starts contracting faster with its help.

How Long Does It Take For Uterus To Shrink

2. Nurse your baby

This doesn’t simply mean choosing to feed your child breast milk. 

Pumping milk doesn’t really give the same results. You have to nurse.

When your baby sucks the breast milk from the source directly, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which will cause contractions and cramps similar to a menstrual period, and the uterus starts shrinking.

Your milk supply, or how much milk you can produce, will also be affected by the release of this hormone.

3. Adopt a healthy diet to shrink uterus

As any medical professional will tell you, the better you eat, the more nutrients you have. Maintaining a healthy diet will give you the energy necessary for your body to do what it needs. 

Having the essential nutrients you need will help you as your uterus returns roughly the size it was before you spent nine months growing a baby.

4. Avoid strenuous exercise

Exercise is great, but you don’t want to overdo it. Strenuous exercise can cause a whole host of problems. 

Your abdominal muscles can separate (called diastasis recti), especially if you had a cesarean delivery. Exercising too soon or too much can also cause more trauma to any stitches or injury you sustained if you had a vaginal delivery.

While the bloating and the puffiness may not be an excellent look for you, you must remember that during pregnancy, your uterus houses your baby, your placenta, and a lot of amniotic fluid. It takes time to see the uterus return to its former small size.

New moms often have intense feelings of body dysmorphia or disgust with themselves over the way their belly may look. While light exercise is okay, avoid anything complex or extreme. 

Just remember that just a few weeks ago, you were getting ready to welcome a baby and were in the end stages of pregnancy. Wait to work out hard, and give yourself some grace.

5. Use a heating pad or warm compress for cramps

The first few weeks after you give birth, you’ll feel cramps. The massages you are instructed to do will cause the uterus to contract, which can get uncomfortable. 

In these cases, apply a warm compress directly to the area just below the belly button or the lower back. This will help you control the pain and prevent it from getting unmanageable.

6. Stay hydrated

A lot happened to your body throughout pregnancy and when you gave birth. 

During pregnancy, your uterus grows substantially as your body produces hormones to make room and raise a baby. During labor, contractions cause your baby to be expelled and help the placenta detach from the uterus.

Following this, your body starts to recover, and the bleeding begins. You will have to wear a sanitary pad for weeks after. All of this takes a lot out of a person and saps you of energy.

Drinking water and staying hydrated enables you to flush toxins out of your system. It helps your immune system stay healthy and ready to repair the damage caused by birth and any medical emergency that might have occurred. 

Never underestimate the power and importance of hydration.

The long road to recovery

The compressed blood vessels during the process of your uterus shrinking will help slow the bleeding process and eventually stop it. 

Massaging your lower belly as instructed several times a day will help to speed up the process and help prevent things like hemorrhaging.

Eat healthily and stay hydrated, and treat the cramps with warmth. Even taking a hot shower and letting the water hit your lower back or lower stomach area can help to manage the pain associated with cramps.

Conclusion

Your body has done a truly remarkable thing. You have brought a human life into the world, using just your body.

Give it the credit that it deserves and demands. You will have plenty of time to get back into that bikini, dress, favorite top, or outfit without worrying about that bulge in your belly.

It typically takes six to eight weeks for you to recover and your uterus to return to the size it was before you were pregnant. 

That time will fly as you spend time as a new parent and get to know your new baby. Cherish your time with your family and friends, and just be patient.

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