Giving birth presents significant changes in a woman’s life. Although some take it in stride, many women still find adapting to a life of motherhood quite difficult.
Some find it hard to adjust to taking care of an infant, while many feel the weight of challenges presented by the changes in their body more. Whichever group you belong to, the fact remains that you need help to get through it.
Besides bringing your family onboard, you can follow these nine post-pregnancy care tips that maternity service doctors recommend to new moms.
General Care Guide
All moms have different needs. But regardless of your family dynamics and unique medical history, here are some tips on the general care new mothers like you will need to remember after childbirth:
1. Prioritise rest.
Your body went through so many changes from pregnancy to childbirth. Even a few weeks after delivering your baby, you still probably haven’t been able to get much sleep.
Because of this, it is imperative that you get as much rest as you can. If possible, get some shuteye while your baby sleeps.
Also, make sure to limit visitors for at least two weeks from giving birth. This will allow you to recover and get your breastfeeding setup established.
2. Eat healthily and focus on wellness.
Your body needs enough nourishment to heal. That means you still need to pay closer attention to what you eat after the pregnancy.
You need to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods to promote healing. Consume more fluids as well, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby.
Don’t worry about your post-baby body for now. Plenty of health and fitness plans can help you return to your ideal weight safely, but you can set them aside until you’ve fully recovered from childbirth.
Ask your doctor about safe exercises and when to do them. Generally, postpartum exercises should not be strenuous. A slow walk outside your house should be enough to boost your energy level and reinvigorate you with the change of scenery.
3. Don’t try to overdo things.
There are many things that you’ll want to get sorted out after your baby’s delivery, but it would be best to set them aside for now. Instead, focus on your full recovery.
That means you must keep everything simple: from your baby’s care to the maintenance of your household.
Remember that your baby doesn’t need a daily bath early on. Your little one should be quite clean even with just daily wiping of their hands, face, and diaper area.
Try to avoid being a perfectionist. As you’re adjusting to life as a mother, it is okay for your home not to be picture-perfect right now. Even if visitors come, you must remember that they are visiting you and your little one, not your house.
Never lift anything heavier than your newborn, especially if you underwent a caesarean section delivery. If you live somewhere with stairs, try to limit your climbs within the first week after childbirth.
4. Ask for and get help.
Asking for and receiving help from others doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you human.
If your loved ones are more than willing to assist after you give birth, don’t hesitate to take their offer. Remember that help is essential so you can rest and allow your body to heal.
You can have family and friends cook meals, help with your laundry, babysit other children, do the groceries, and run all sorts of errands you cannot attend to during the postpartum period.
Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional help when it comes to your emotional well-being. If you feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel a bit blue for over two weeks, talk to your doctor about it. You can also seek emotional support from loved ones, especially your partner.
Case-Specific Care Tips
After giving birth, you might experience several symptoms brought about by changes in your body. Below are some recommendations doctors have to ease any discomfort or pain they may come with:
5. Wear sanitary pads and do Kegels for incontinence.
From pregnancy and labour to vaginal delivery, your pelvic floor muscles are bound to get stretched to the point of injury. These are the muscles that support the rectum, bladder, and uterus, so you might experience uncontrollable urine leaks while coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
Incontinence issues usually improve within a few weeks, though they might also persist longer. Whatever the case, you can wear sanitary pads and help your pelvic floor return to its original elasticity and improve bladder control by doing Kegels.
Here’s how you do Kegels:
- Begin by imagining yourself sitting on a marble.
- Then, tighten your pelvic muscles as you would when trying to lift the imaginary marble.
- Keep it tight for three seconds, then relax for the following three counts.
- Repeat for ten to 15 times in a row, working your way up as you go.
- Do this exercise at least three times every day.
6. Be careful where and how you sit in case of vaginal soreness.
Some women experience a vaginal tear or get an incision made by the doctor during delivery. If you experienced either of these, you might also feel pain along that area several weeks after childbirth.
The longer the tear, the more time it needs to heal.
To relieve the discomfort during recovery, you should consider putting a padded ring or pillow where you sit.
You may also try sitting in a warm bath or cold water – whichever you find more soothing. Make sure you’re seated just deep enough to soak your hips and buttocks for five minutes.
7. Apply haemorrhoid cream to ease swelling and pain.
If you have painful bowel movements or feel swelling close to your anus after giving birth, you may be experiencing haemorrhoids. This happens when the veins on the lower rectum or anus swell.
To relieve the pain as it heals, you can:
- Apply over-the-counter haemorrhoid suppository or cream that contains hydrocortisone.
- Use pads with witch hazel or other numbing agents.
- Soak your anal area in warm water within ten to 15 minutes, repeating twice or thrice per day.
8. Breastfeed your baby to ease tender breasts.
Breastfeeding is essential for your baby’s health, but it can also help ease the tenderness of your breasts. Lactating moms usually experience engorgement (full and firm breasts) a few days after birth that can be prevented or alleviated by breastfeeding on both breasts.
If engorgement occurs, it may be difficult for your baby to latch. If this happens, you should give your little one a hand by manually expressing breast milk before feeding.
If you experience discomfort, you can use a warm washcloth over the sore area before expressing milk or breastfeeding. In between feedings, try to put cold washcloths over your breasts.
You can also use OTC pain relievers for this.
If you don’t plan to breastfeed, you can switch to a supportive bra. Avoid pumping your breasts as expressing the milk will cause them to continue producing it.
9. Talk to your doctor about other concerns.
Keep your doctor’s contact information handy in case you feel any other kind of pain or distress postpartum. Since they are more familiar with your medical history, they should be able to give you more specific remedies for whatever you’re experiencing.
Don’t hesitate to report non-physical issues, like “baby blues” and postpartum anxiety.
Also, remember to follow through with your check-ups after giving birth.
Life After Childbirth
Childbirth doesn’t only mean bringing your child out into the world; it can change your life.
Being a mother may be the biggest role you need to play now, but you still need to make sure you are able to fully recover to enjoy this fulfilling new chapter in your life.