I look 6 months pregnant after having a baby! Why?! I Can Explain.
OK so the process of your uterus shrinking down (uterine involution) to the pre-pregnancy size takes approximately 6 weeks to complete! During the first couple days of postpartum, your uterus is located slightly above or below your belly button, weighing approximately 2lbs still, mirroring how you look when you are 6 months pregnant. By the end of the first week of delivery, your uterus weighs approximately 1lb, a size of a papaya and is located above your pubic bone, correlating to how you look when you are 3 months pregnant. By 2 weeks postpartum your uterus is about the size of an artichoke and has taken on its non-pregnant position in the pelvis. And by 4 weeks postpartum your uterus is the size of an avocado. At your 6-8 week postpartum visit, your healthcare provider will perform a pelvic exam to assess uterine involution is complete. Your non-pregnant uterus will be approximately the size of an orange yay! Hope imagining these fruits helped visualize your postpartum uterus where your sweet baby grows :)
Side note: During your postpartum stay in the hospital, your health care team will be checking the top of your uterus (fundus) to make sure your uterus is contracting down appropriately. For this assessment, we place two fingers above or below your belly button and gently push down on your fundus. I say gently, because often this assessment can be uncomfortable for mothers causing them cramping. The cramping discomfort also occurs when you are breastfeeding and typically a stronger discomfort if this is your second/third baby… the cramping does get better after 48-72 hours from time of delivery. So in the meantime, make sure to ask for warm compresses for the cramping (they are usually called hot packs in the hospital) and stay on track of receiving your Tylenol and Motrin from your nurse as prescribed.