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What Happens to My Uterus?

Immediately after your baby is born, your uterus becomes firm and about the size of a large grapefruit. You can feel it with your fingers halfway between your belly button and pubic bone.

Within 12 hours of delivery, it should be about level with your belly button, and five days later, it should return to halfway between your belly button and pubic bone. Six weeks later, the uterus should have returned to its normal size, similar to a small pear. While you are in the hospital, your nurses will check your uterus regularly for location and firmness.

Some mothers, especially second-time mothers, feel painful afterbirth contractions when they nurse. These contractions usually disappear in five to seven days. In the meantime, if you experience such contractions, try the following steps to ease pain:

  • apply heat to your abdomen
  • take mild, non-aspirin pain relievers prior to nursing
  • gently massage your abdomen
  • keep your bladder empty
  • do deep breathing and relaxation exercises