Your uterus gets, well, ginormous during pregnancy. It starts out about the size of your fist and hangs out deep in your pelvis. By about 18-20 weeks it will have grown out and up — reaching about as high as your belly button. From then on, it will measure about as many centimeters as the week you are in your pregnancy (so at 38 weeks, it will likely measure about 38 centimeters).
After baby’s born (yay!), you’re right: You’ll still have a belly (boo!). It took nine months to stretch that uterus out — so sorry, it will take some time for it to get back to its previous size. And even though it may feel like forever, it’s actually a relatively quick process.
Generally speaking, about a day or two after you give birth, the uterus will be about the size it was at 18 weeks and will get progressively smaller over the following days. You’ll probably feel cramping or abdominal aches and pains in the weeks after the birth, especially while you nurse if you’re breastfeeding. It’s no fun to deal with, but the good thing about those sensations is that they’re actually your uterus contracting and shrinking (and breastfeeding helps encourage it to do that). If your healing is on track, by a week out, your uterus will be about the size it was at your 12th week of pregnancy, and by your sixth week out it should be back to its normal size.
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