Most health care professionals will tell you 6 weeks.
Dr. Dillner of the Guardian discusses some studies that are proving that this is not the case.
This is one of the most common postpartum questions for new moms.
I think it is important to stress that normal is a range not a single number or shape. Not falling into that range for every aspect of your life is not the be all end all.
Having worked in the nursery of a daycare, I would often hear parents telling me what in what percentile their child falls for height or weight. They would ask if their development and behaviours were normal. I found it to be one of the hardest questions to answer. A child at 14 months old, maybe be on the lower end of the "normal" scale for his age now, but is showing signs that he will soon make those milestones. Does mean he is "behind?" I would say no.
The same thing goes for mothers. You have just created life. That life left your body and left you as a sideshow. For nine months people have been telling you how you are glowing, or looking so healthy - or looking so big, a much appreciated comment. Getting back to pre-pregnancy shape or a shape that you feel comfortable with, is not a quick task, and it is not a easy one. I would like to stress that mothers now have a shape that is their new normal. As long as a mother is healthy, and happy, this might be a different shape than the one she had a year ago.
Studies out of the University of Michigan and and Australia provide timelines of 6-8 months recovery for mothers and in some cases even longer. This goes against the 6 week timeline that doctors tend to call the post-partum period.
Aspects of a mother's healing can include:
All the while, mothers are supposed to "keep it together" and get on after 6 weeks. I am glad these studies shed light on the fact that it is not easy and normal should not be the defining term to a mother's recovery.
Postpartum doula care can help women cope with many of these hard-to-deal with postpartum issues. We would love to help out in your healing process and your journey into motherhood. Contact me for more details about postpartum care.
To read this article by Dr. Dillner, go to the Guardian.