Normal changes to your body after birth

You can expect some changes to your body straight after your pēpi is born. Find out about bleeding, your tummy and breasts, and going to the toilet.


It is normal to bleed from your vagina after the birth. Like a period, the bleeding will be quite heavy at first. The bleeding will slowly become a brownish colour. It may last for about 6 weeks, getting less and less until it stops.

Use sanitary pads for the bleeding rather than tampons. Using tampons can cause infections – your midwife will let you know when it is safe to use them.

Talk to your midwife or doctor if:

  • you are losing blood in large clots
  • bleeding changes to a bright red colour
  • the bleeding is smelly.


Your tummy may be quite baggy after the birth. Even though you have delivered your baby and the whenua (placenta), you will still be bigger than you were before you were pregnant.

Once you have recovered from the birth you can start doing some gentle exercise to help tighten up your tummy muscles.

Looking after yourself

Your breasts

Your breasts will feel full about the third day after your pēpi is born, even if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding parents often have tender nipples in the early days.

Wear a bra that supports your breasts well. Avoid an underwire bra, which may put pressure on your breasts and could lead to blocked milk ducts.

Talk to your midwife or doctor if:

  • you are very uncomfortable
  • you need advice about your breasts if you are not breastfeeding.

Problems with breastfeeding — Ministry of Health (external link)

Going to the toilet

Doing a wee may burn or sting a bit at first because the area around your vagina stretches (or tears) during birth. Drinking lots of water will dilute your wee and should help with the stinging. Some people find it helps when they wee to gently squirt water onto themselves using a water bottle. If the stinging lasts for more than a few days, tell your midwife or doctor.

You will likely start to poo again 1 to 2 days after the birth. It is important not to let yourself become constipated (when you have 3 or fewer poos in a week). Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, salad, bran and wholemeal bread, and drink plenty of water.

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