A Guide to Postpartum Recovery Weeks 2-4

If it felt like all the attention was on you and baby during pregnancy, then you're likely not alone. There is a lot of fanfare leading up to baby's arrival. Postpartum, however, can feel like just the opposite for mom. While the focus on baby and adjusting to life with a newborn is amazing and exhausting, we often forget what an intense experience our bodies just went through. Postpartum recovery weeks 2-4 starts to get just a little bit easier for most.

In this post, we'll go over postpartum recovery weeks 2-4. Everyone's journey is different, so don't be alarmed if you're not feeling right on track. Things we do want to be mindful of however, are reasons to call your healthcare provider.

General Postpartum Recovery Weeks 2-4

General Recovery during this phase likely means you're starting to feel better and more like yourself. It's still important to take things slow as you're still in the thick of recovery at this point. During this phase, it becomes less likely to experience red flags, however, remember to watch out for them:

  • Bleeding that soaks a pad every hour
  • Passing clots larger than a quarter
  • Foul smelling odor from the vagina
  • Fever over 100.4 degrees
  • Terrible Pain
  • Swelling, redness, discharge from your incision or episiotomy site
  • Difficulty urinating even with deep breathing, dark, cloudy urine
  • Any vision issues
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain, warmth, tenderness in your legs
  • Frequent nausea/ vomiting
  • Lightheadedness/ dizziness
  • Any trouble breathing

Call your healthcare provider if any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above are present.

Vaginal and Perineum Recovery

At this point, vaginal pain from tearing or an episiotomy should be going down. It's likely that the pain has transitioned from more acute and stinging to general soreness and achiness. Depending on the degree of injury or episiotomy, this may take longer for those with more involved tearing. Bleeding should be tapering off and improving.

C-Section Recovery

Tenderness and sensitivity at the incision is still normal at this stage and will likely continue for weeks to months postpartum. However, the worst of the pain should be behind you at this point. Numbness and tingling or even itching are also normal as the incision heals. Light desensitization can be helpful to improve sensitivity. Start by lightly moving fingertips around the incision and progress to using a cotton ball as this becomes less sensitive. Continue to follow abdominal precautions as you're able. This includes limiting repetitive bending, lifting more than baby's weight, and twisting.

Mental Health

During this phase of recovery, “baby blues” are still common. While they are most common in the first two weeks postpartum, "baby blues" can continue. Feeling weepy, crying over little things, mood changes are all typical signs of the "baby blues." If these feelings continue and are not improving or become unmanageable, speak to your healthcare provider.

Postpartum Recovery Weeks 2-4: Activity

While it's important to remember that even 2-4 weeks postpartum you're still very much in recovery, light activity becomes more important. During this phase of recovery, the following are all great to keep in mind. These will help you have the best postpartum recovery experience possible.

Postpartum Recovery Weeks 2-4 Activity Guidelines

  • Start with Light Mobility: Light mobility includes gentle stretching, walking, and gradually increasing the amount of physical work you're doing around the house. It's still important to balance any activity with rest.
  • Getting into a Routine: Getting into a routine means to start to set some anchors for your day. This could look like a walk with baby in the morning. Think about adding in some light stretching or breathing exercises during one of baby's naps. Everyone's routine will look different, but it can be helpful for both physical and mental recovery to have at least some predictable events each day.
  • Building a Foundation: This refers to building a foundation of strength and mobility as you recover. "Bouncing back" postpartum is not only impossible, it's an unhealthy ideal. Instead, focus on starting to regain a foundation for strength and mobility to build on as you recover over the next 6-12 months.
  • Deep Breathing: Deep breathing can be helpful for many reasons. Not only does it serve as a great tool for stress management, it also starts to get your core working normally with other muscles of your body.
  • Pay attention to stiff areas: Begin to pay attention to any areas that might feel stiff and tight. To avoid more injury, be mindful of what isn't feeling great and pay attention to it. For example, if your neck is feeling stiff, incorporate some neck stretches into your day.
  • Posture: Posture is huge at any point in life, but especially postpartum. Especially if you're an active person normally, it's possible you're spending a lot more time sitting than you're used to. Spending hours in postures that aren't great for your body can wreak havoc on your body.

Postpartum Recovery Weeks 2-4: 5 Exercises to Try

  • Child’s Pose with Back Body Breathing
    • Come to hands and knees with legs and feet together or knees apart
    • Reach arms forward to a position that is comfortable
    • Find child's pose- option to support under belly with a towel
    • Inhale through your nose and imagine your upper back and ribs filling with air
    • Exhale through your mouth
    • Repeat for 5 breaths
  • Side-Lying Mid Back Rotation
    • Lie on one side with arms stacked on top of one another in front of you
    • Slowly rotate the top arm up and over until you have a little rotation in your upper back
    • Hold for 2-3 seconds
    • Repeat 5-10 times on each side
  • 90/90 Breathing
    • Lie down close to a wall
    • Place feet on the wall and adjust hips so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle
    • Feet should be slightly wider than hip width apart
    • Place a towel roll or pillow between your thighs
    • Inhale to fill the belly with air and expand your ribcage
    • Exhale, gently squeeze the inner thighs while gently pulling the pelvic floor up. Hold for 3-5 seconds
    • Repeat for 5 breaths
  • Ab and Glut Finder
    • Come into a kneeling position and sit back onto your heels (use a pad under knees if needed)
    • Squeeze the gluts and engage the core by tightening the lower belly
    • Rise up into a tall kneeling position
    • Lower back down while maintaining core control
    • Repeat 5-10 times
  • Angel Wings
    • Sit with your back against a wall
    • Arms should be out on the wall with elbows bent to 90 degrees
    • Raise your arms overhead on an exhale
    • Be sure to keep the ribs down and in
    • Try to keep the rib cage against the wall as you reach overhead with the arms
    • Lower back down
    • Repeat 5-10 times

What's Next

For more information about postpartum recovery, check out postpartum recovery for birth to two weeks. If you're not sure where to begin with your postpartum recovery or want more guidance. Consider seeking out the help of a pelvic floor therapist who can guide you through every phase. 

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