Your uterus is the beginning of a new life or new lives. During the nine months of your pregnancy the uterus is a safe haven for your baby, where he grows into a little person. We take you through what happens to and in your uterus during and after childbirth. Because even after giving birth, your uterus is still hard at work. Want to know all the ins and outs of your uterus? Then read on!
The first 14 weeks in your womb
Your womb is a magical device that gives birth to new life. In the first fourteen weeks, the membrane in which your baby is growing - also known as the amniotic sac - is filled with fluid from your bloodstream. This is also known as the amniotic fluid. And this amniotic fluid is released when labour starts or your water breaks. This water can come out of the uterus like a tidal wave or come out little by little. Again, each body is different (De Verloskundige, z.d.).
The stories about your baby's growth are often well known, but the growth of your uterus is also very important. The growth of your uterus is called the fundus height. During uterine measurement, we measure from the point where your left and right pubic bones meet to the edge of the uterus. But why is this important? This distance is important for the growth of your baby, but it also indicates how much amniotic fluid there is in your uterus. With this information your midwife can see how the pregnancy is going and how your baby is developing (Pregnancy Portal, 2021).
Afterbirth and afterbirth
Contractions, puff, pushing, a laugh, a tear on repeat and then suddenly your baby is in your arms. You have worked so hard, but it is not quite over yet. Now all that's left is for the placenta to leave your body. Fortunately, this is a piece of cake compared to giving birth. The placenta has spent the last nine months giving your baby everything it needs. But once your baby is in your arms and the umbilical cord is cut, the placenta no longer plays an important role. After you have given birth you will experience some aftereffects, when your uterus contracts and the placenta comes loose. Normally the placenta will come out after a few breaths. Is this not happening? Then the midwife may give you an injection of oxytocin - also known as an important pregnancy hormone. And very sometimes surgery is required to remove the placenta (Nutricia for you, 2021).
The weeks after giving birth
You have brought a baby into the world, which is no mean feat. So it's more than normal that you will continue to lose blood for about six weeks after giving birth. This loss of blood is also known as bleeding. Your uterus must recover and return to its former status. This may result in some residual mucous membrane coming out. The reason for the bleeding may also be a wound where your placenta was attached to the uterine wall. The blood is bright red and often contains large clots. Your uterus is repairing itself, cleaning itself and preparing for the next period. This shouldn't smell. If it does, call your midwife. Then it may be that an infection has set in or a piece of the placenta has been left behind (Pregnancy Portal, 2020).
If you're flowing then...
It is very important that you do not bathe, use tampons or have sex with penetration while you are bleeding. This increases the chance of infections. Do not rush straight to the gym and take it easy. Your body is recovering and give your body the time it needs. Try to eat healthily and put your legs up regularly. Are you taking blood thinners? Report this to the midwife so that the flow can be properly monitored (Pregnancy Portal, 2020).
The Midwife. (s.d.). Pregnancy calendar. Accessed August 9, 2021, from https://deverloskundige.nl/zwangerschap/zwangerschaps-kalender/14
Nutricia for you. (2021, May 11). The afterbirth; the last phase of your birth. https://www.nutriciavoorjou.nl/zwangerschap/bevalling/nageboorte/
Pregnancy Portal. (2020). Bleeding (lochia): how long does it last after childbirth? https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/baby/de-kraamtijd/vloeien-lochia-hoelang-bloedverlies-na-de-bevalling
Pregnancy Portal. (2021). Fundus height. https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/fundushoogte