Congratulations, your body has just delivered the baby it has been creating for the past 40 weeks!
While looking after your newborn has now become your first priority, it’s also important to care for yourself at this time. Whether you delivered vaginally or by C-section, your body has experienced trauma (and probably drama) during the delivery as well as throughout your entire pregnancy. By allowing yourself to properly recover, you give yourself the opportunity to become the best mother you can be.
Take a look at our 5 self-care tips and let the healing begin.
1. Recruit Help
Whether this is your first or fourth baby, it’s always a solid idea to recruit help – especially for the first week. Asking your family members or friends to help with household chores, cooking, childcare, and running errands will free up some time in your new, busy schedule, which will be instrumental in your postpartum recovery. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
2. Get Lots of Rest
It may be easier said than done, but it’s crucial to have as much rest as possible to aid in your body’s recovery, as well as to properly care for your newborn.
You’ve probably heard the age-old advice “sleep when your baby sleeps,” and that’s because it’s a great tip. It’s unlikely that your newborn will sleep 6 to 8 hours in a row, so make sure that when your baby sleeps, you sneak in some shut-eye as well. Even if you don’t sleep, don’t do anything too taxing. You may want to use this time to relax with your partner or other children, or just to unwind alone.
3. Eat Right and Exercise Lightly
Many new mothers want to lose their baby weight as soon as possible, but a crash diet could harm you and even your baby – especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Make sure you’re eating balanced meals with foods from all of the food groups. Light exercise, such as walking, is recommended as part of your recovery. During the first week after delivery, walk a little around the house and then slowly increase the length of your walks as time goes on. If you have questions about your nutrition or exercise abilities, always ask your doctor about what is right for you.
4. Look after Your Delivery Zone
Unfortunately, no matter what kind of delivery you have, there will be some pain afterward. But, by taking care of your delivery zone, you can start to feel more comfortable.
After a vaginal delivery, you can expect some pain down there for about a week, depending on whether you had tearing, received stitches, or experienced any other complications during childbirth. Some things you can do to help ease the pain include soaking in a Sitz bath, spraying Dermoplast to numb the region, and placing witch hazel pads in your underwear. For a C-section, it’s important to take care of your incision and to follow your doctor’s instructions. Avoid climbing stairs, driving, or lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first 6 weeks after delivery.
You may have vaginal bleeding for a week or two after either kind of delivery, and you should wait until 6 weeks postpartum before having sex.
5. Know When to Contact a Doctor
Although you will be feeling some discomfort after giving birth, if something doesn’t seem right to you or your pain worsens, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible to be on the safe side. Red flags include:
- severe headaches
- extremely heavy vaginal bleeding
- painful urination
- depression (especially if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby)
- a red or pus-filled incision
Contact Tri-City Medical Center today and speak to our friendly team about how to handle your postpartum recovery. We’re here to make sure your health is in check, so you can get the most out of being a mom to your newborn.