Guest post by Jenny Hart
Giving birth is an amazing, miraculous experience. Obviously, when you have a baby, there are a lot of adjustments taking place, including the adjustments your body goes through during and after pregnancy.
While you prepare for your little one, make sure you are also preparing for your own recovery, momma. These postpartum recovery tips can help ensure your after-birth experience is as smooth and comfortable as possible.
- Stock up on maternity pads and underwear
For the first few weeks after giving birth, you’ll likely experience heavy bleeding called lochia. While this is perfectly normal, you will need to have plenty of postpartum pads and maternity underwear ready to go. It’s recommended that you do not use tampons or a menstrual cup until after your 6-week check-up, so maternity pads are a must. Your nursing team or midwife can help teach you how to best position your products with your maternity underwear. These garments are made of soft mesh and are designed to hold everything in place and keep you comfortable.
- Use witch hazel to promote healing
If magic ever existed, it’s in the form of witch hazel. This solution can help soothe pain while promoting healing and reducing hemorrhoids. Many new mothers even like to make their own witch hazel-soaked pads or freeze them as ice packs. There are also witch hazel wipes available to have with you when you’re ready to get out and about.
- Soak in a sitz bath
Another way to reduce swelling and soothe soreness is with sitz salts. You can fill your tub with a few inches of warm water and prepare a sitz salt bath. Spend 15-20 minutes soaking with your legs hanging over the side of the tub, as to not irritate your skin. Once you’re finished, pat yourself dry gently with a towel so you don’t rub the salts into your skin.
- Pay attention to your bowel movements
The first postpartum bowel movement can be intimidating and downright daunting, but it’s important not to neglect this part of the healing process. There’s no need to force anything, but you can certainly help ease your body back into its regular routine by eating plenty of fiber-rich foods and adding a stool softener to your daily routine.
- Eat well and keep moving
Speaking of your diet, make sure you are eating plenty of complex carbohydrates and protein, as well as fiber. Fruits, vegetables and protein can help give you the extra energy your body needs to heal, and whole grains and other fibers can help prevent hemorrhoids and constipation. In addition to your diet, you also don’t want to neglect your exercise routine. While you likely won’t be back to your normal speed for a few weeks, talk to your doctor about how soon to get moving. Start with walks around the house or the block. This can help boost recovery by improving circulation and muscle tone, as well as reducing feelings of depression or lethargy that can accompany pregnancy.
- Care for your breasts
Breastfeeding can be taxing, especially as a new mother. Many don’t warn you about the toll it takes on your body. Prepare with nipple cream, ice packs or a warm compress to combat soreness or irritation. Once you and baby find your rhythm, most of these symptoms will resolve on their own, but until then, be patient with yourself and stock up on nursing supplies.
- Stay in communication with your doctor
Your doctor can assess how well you’re healing and provide tips for recovery. Stay in touch with your OB/GYN as well to touch base on your mental health and get advice on any adjustments your struggling with as a new mom. You’ll likely have a few follow-up appointments scheduled, such as a 6-week check-up and stitches removal, if you had a C-section. Beyond your scheduled appointments, take advantage of your medical team, as they can be your biggest advocates during postpartum recovery.
Last, but certainly not least: rest. While you’ll undoubtedly be adjusting to a new routine while caring for your new baby, it’s important to allow your body time to recover. Make sure you have everything set up at home that you’ll need so you don’t have to exert too much energy during the first few weeks. Your body will let you know when it’s ready to get back to its normal pace.
Your postpartum recovery is a top priority, right alongside caring for your new bundle of joy. Make sure you have everything you need to feel supported and comfortable, and you’ll adjust to motherhood in no time.
Guest post by Jenny Hart | Connect with me on LinkedIn