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Recovering after the birth

Having a baby changes your body.

Exercise can help tighten your tummy. Exercise and eating healthily can help you lose any weight you've gained.

This takes time. It won't happen overnight. It took nine months to make a baby, and it could take at least that long to get back into shape again.

You will have a free check-up 6 weeks after the birth of your baby called the post-natal check. This will be done by your GP or obstetrician.

The aim of this check is to ensure you are recovering from giving birth, and that you are feeling well.

Related topic

Postnatal check-up

Your period returning

Most breastfeeding mothers' periods do not return for at least 6 months after the birth.

Some find that their periods do not return until after they have stopped breastfeeding.

Mothers who do not exclusively breastfeed usually find their periods returns within 2 months.

Exercise after birth

Being active after you have your baby will improve your health and your mood and may aid your recovery. Try to fit in a walk with your baby and any exercises the midwives or physiotherapists showed you.

Low-impact exercise is recommended for the first 6 to 12 weeks after giving birth.

Contact a physiotherapist if you have any urinary symptoms, like leakage, when you exercise.

Having sex after birth

It is safe to have sex when:

  • the bleeding from your vagina has stopped
  • any wounds or stitches between your legs have healed

You may not feel ready immediately. The exhaustion of having a newborn can affect your sex drive initially.

It is possible to become pregnant again even if your periods have not returned. If this is not what you would like, talk to your doctor or midwife about contraception.

If it hurts to have sex, get advice from your GP, obstetrician or public health nurse Ask them to refer you to a specialist women’s health physiotherapist.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2018
Next review due: 20/11/2021