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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Pregnancy and Lactation

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Involution of the Uterus After Parturition

During the first 4 to 5 weeks after parturition, the uterus involutes.

Involution of the Uterus After Parturition

During the first 4 to 5 weeks after parturition, the uterus involutes. Its weight becomes less than half its immedi-ate postpartum weight within 1 week, and in 4 weeks, if the mother lactates, the uterus may become as small as it was before pregnancy. This effect of lactation results from the suppression of pituitary gonadotropin and ovarian hormone secretion during the first few months of lactation, as discussed later. During early involution of the uterus, the placental site on the endometrial surface autolyzes, causing a vaginal discharge known as “lochia,” which is first bloody and then serous in nature, continuing for a total of about 10 days. After this time, the endometrial surface becomes re-epithelialized and ready for normal, nongravid sex life again.

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