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Bits of wisdom for new parents bundled up in a blog!

Recovery After Surrogacy: Part 1

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For the last nine months, and in preparation for months before that, you have been acting as the gestational or traditional surrogate, growing a baby for Intended Parents that you have been matched with. Those becoming a parent through surrogacy consider you a “gift-giver”.

And now the pregnancy part of your journey has ended, and your postpartum journey begins.

Do you have support after surrogate childbirth and why would you need it?

The answer is simple: you have just given birth. Whether vaginally or via cesarean, you have birthed a baby and your body is experiencing physical post-birth recovery.

In Part 1 of this three-part series, let’s explore the physical recovery needs of a surrogate.

Simply stated, regardless of having a baby in your arms or not, your body is healing.  Period.

The size of the placental wound is about the size of a standard paper plate or 8.6 inches. This wound’s healing process is complicated even further because it is open and raw and dwells in a moist environment. It can’t be seen and isn’t considered painful, so it’s easily forgotten and disregarded. This wound needs time to heal to ward off infection and hemorrhaging.

If birth was by Cesarean, there are multiple physical wounds to consider: internal sutures, external sutures and the placental wound. Special care and physical limitations are an essential part of recovering after a Cesarean. A vaginal birth may leave its own set of wounds as well: vaginal tearing, sutures, pelvic floor strain, etc.  

Other physical changes/healing to be considered: sore breasts/nipples, abdominal pain, constipation, hemorrhoids, sweats from hormonal shifts, hair loss, vaginal bleeding and water retention.

The bottom line is a surrogate needs the same physical support after the birth of a baby as any other person. As friends or family help them:

  • Rest

  • Stay nourished

  • Stay hydrated

  • Pay attention to their body

  • Manage household tasks

  • Care for children

  • Drive them to follow up appointments 

  • Encourage them to take 6-8 weeks off work

If you’re a surrogate and do not have a support system of friends or family available, consider the support of a postpartum doula. Even 12 hours of postpartum doula care, can provide a solid kick start to your recovery.

Remember, You just had a baby. Take care of yourself. Your body will thank you.

~Sheryl Cooksley


Contact us if you are a surrogate interested in receiving care after childbirth. Family Tree Doula Services provides support to ALL families and birthing individuals.