The short answer is a lot: A combination of external and internal body changes, not to mention the emotional upheaval due to hormonal changes, lack of sleep and sheer exhaustion.
Just 15% of new mums say they were given guidance about how long it would take to get back to their pre-pregnancy shape, and 70% feel there should be more advice given about this.
One in eight new mums said they expected their bump to go down straight after the birth, however this is very unlikely to be the case. In reality, it varies from mum to mum:
Midwife Kathryn explains, "After the birth of a baby the first 48 hours will show little difference in terms of shape and weight, with the majority of women feeling as if they should have lost at least 8lbs but in reality their weight stays the same."
Another thing that sadly doesn't magically disappear once your baby is born is stretch marks. 58% of new mums have stretch marks as a result of pregnancy so they are very common, but that doesn't mean they don't bother you. In fact 32% of the new mums we spoke to said they made them feel ugly. The good news is they will mature and fade over time, but there are things you can do to help care for your skin as it adapts following pregnancy. Visit the stretch marks page for more information.
Some changes you will be very aware of and others are happening quietly inside of you but it still helps to know.
Individual experiences may vary, so please discuss any concerns with your midwife.
|1st day postbirth||
Reduction in size of uterus
Heavy vaginal discharge which is red in colour and contains blood, mucus, and placental tissue - wear pads to absorb this
Abdomen feels soft and spongy
|3rd-5th day postbirth||
Uterus well contracted however your abdomen will still feel soft
The vaginal discharge will be much less heavy and turned brownish or pink in color rather than red - you will still need to wear pads
Ankles look puffy and swollen
Breasts tender, hot and swollen as they enlarge with milk production
|10th day postbirth||
Abdomen feels firmer
Vaginal loss more settled and like a discharge - wear a panty liner
Breasts changing constantly when feeding - wear breast pads
|28th day postbirth||
General body tone firmer
Breasts more normal in size but continue to wear pads if breastfeeding Sleep pattern changed so likely to be feeling tired and lacking energy
|3 months postbirth||
You're likely to still have some post pregnancy weight
You might have some nights where your baby sleeps through allowing you to get a little more sleep yourself!
* All stats taken from a survey of 793 mums carried out by Babyexpert.co.uk on behalf of Bio-Oil, June 2013