Post-partum changes to the uterus

After giving birth, spontaneous uterine contractions ensure that your uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy state. These contractions also seal the placenta-sized wound in the uterine wall so that you do not lose too much blood.


After giving birth, it is important that the uterus retracts properly and feels hard. The midwife will check this regularly.

Post-partum contractions

You may also have contractions after giving birth. Post-partum contractions, also known as ‘after pains’, feel like a gnawing, sometimes cramping pain in your lower abdomen or back. They feel a bit like menstrual pain.

Post-partum contractions are less common after the birth of a first child, but more common with the following one.

Post-partum contractions can occur for up to three to four days after the delivery.

Breastfeeding and post-partum contractions

Breastfeeding stimulates post-partum contractions. The same hormone that is responsible for the production of breast milk also triggers uterine contractions.


If your pain is too severe, tell the midwife. You can have a painkiller, if necessary.

Six weeks

It takes around six weeks for the uterus to return its original position behind the pubic bone.

Sometimes, the uterus retracts too slowly. You can encourage your uterus by regularly massaging it with the flat of your hand. The doctor may need to prescribe medication that causes your uterus to contract.

Last edit: 25 August 2021