How Long for Uterus to Shrink after Birth

How Long for Uterus to Shrink after Birth


Size of Uterus after Birth

As every body has its unique properties, each woman needs different amount of time for her uterus to shrink after the birth. However, there are a number of factors that may contribute or hinder its rapid recovery.

How does the Uterine Shrinkage Occur?

After the birth, the inside of the uterus looks like a big wound. The maximum of damage is located in the area where the placenta was attached, it features most thrombosed vessels. In addition, on the inner surface of the uterus are located the remains of a birth membrane and blood clots.

Normally, the uterine cavity should clear itself within the first three days after the birth. The important role in this process is assigned to phagocytosis (phagocytes are leukocytes able to dissolve bacteria) and extracellular proteolysis (cleavage of bacteria using proteolytic enzymes).

Thanks to these processes, the uterus discharges wound secret (lochia). During the first days, lochia looks like blood secretions, on the third or fourth day it becomes sanioserous with high leukocytes content, and by the end of the third week it should become liquid and bright in color to disappear by the sixth week after the birth.

As for the uterine epithelium (lining) restoration, it takes about three weeks and the area of the placental attachment is restored closer to the end of the postpartum period.

How Much does it Take?

Usually the uterus takes from six to ten weeks to shrink. The most active shrink of the uterus occurs in the first days after birth.

So, immediately after the birth the mouth of the womb is about 12 cm in diameter, which makes it possible to introduce a hand there to remove the afterbirth.

However, one day after the entrance to the cervical canal shrinks to two fingers, and after two days – to one finger. The mouth of the womb will completely close within three weeks.

Immediately after the birth, the uterus weighs 1 kg, seven days after – 500 g, within two weeks it will weigh only 350 g and close to the end of the postpartum period it will regain its prepregnancy weight of 50 g.

You should know that uterine shrinkage may be accompanied by contraction- like pains in the lower abdomen. They are more pronounced and intense after the repeated birth.

If these contractions are very painful, you may consult your doctor on painkillers and antispasmodics, but you’d better do without any drugs.

However, it happens so that the uterus in some women doesn;’t shrink at all (atony) or shrinks too slowly (hypotony). Both options are dangerous for women's health, as it can cause postpartum hemorrhage or other complications.

How to Speed up the Uterine Shrinkage after the Birth?

To speed up the uterine shrinkage after the birth, during the first day put a cold pack on the stomach or ask your doctor to prescribe medicines contributing to the uterine shrinkage. If shrinkage is too painful you can take antispasmodics or analgesics, but in most cases you really can do without them. After the birth, especially during the first days it’s important to observe personal hygiene rules (washing, wound treatment) that can prevent complications.

Usually, starting with the fourth day after the birth, a woman starts moving actively that has a positive effect on the uterine shrinkage. The baby should be fed “on demand” that improves and speeds up shrinking abilities.

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