Post Partum Recovery: Five Insider Tips
Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Cue the mixed bag of emotions as you process what this means for you. Soon you’ll become an on line expert on every single thing there is to know about pregnancy. You will know just big your growing baby is each week in relation to fruit and vegetables and you’ll buy all type of books about birth and labour and you won’t stop quoting Ina May Gaskin.
You go into labour, have your baby and then what? The post partum period can be greatly rewarding if you’re able to give it the mindfulness it truly deserves. You’re considered to be post partum for six weeks after having your baby, however, these five tips are for that period right after baby arrives.
In collaboration with some of my nurse friends we came up with these five ideas to help support you in having a positive post partum experience. This is your time to get to know your newborn and let yourself recover from pregnancy and your birth. If you can, hold off on having a mass of visitors for as long as possible. Even waiting a couple of hours after baby’s arrival allows you to have that special time with your newest family member.
- Go into your labour planning to make use of ‘The Golden Hour‘, also called ‘The Sacred Hour’. In my experience no matter how utterly exhausted a mum was just prior to the birth, she often gets this magical boost of energy following baby’s arrival. This hour after birth is such a great chance for that initial uninterrupted skin to skin with baby. Having your baby close allows you to soak everything in and let’s you focus on their subtle signs of wanting to feed.
- It’s normal to be really sore in parts of your body that you didn’t even know could be sore. Labour is hard mama. Labouring and pushing out your baby is a lot of work and you use so many muscles that aren’t engaged on a daily basis. Having a major surgery and a caesarean birth is a lot of work! Birth is not an everyday activity for your body and you will have muscles roaring at you that you hadn’t even considered. Be gentle with yourself. Soak in the bath if you are able or enjoy a long warm shower.
- It’s All About The Poop. Everyone seems somewhat nervous of their first post birth poop and some of you will be very nervous. Let me reassure you, it’s going to be alright. Insider secret: many of you will have pooped while pushing your baby out, but your truly awesome nurse will make it so that you have absolutely no idea that it happened. Be mindful of your fluid intake and sip away. If your nurse offers you some red jellybean shaped medication, take them. Those are stool softeners and they’ll help to make things easier for the big movement. When it comes time for the first poop the best thing you can do is mentally prepare and know you will not burst open your stitches or make things worse in the lady part department. If you still need one extra insider trick: hold a clean pad in your hand and give your perineum a bit of gentle support while attempting to poop. You’re welcome.
- Please do not wear adult diapers after you have a baby. This tip got a big resounding ‘PLEASE NO!’ with the group of nurses I talked with. The only person that should be wearing diapers is your baby and regular post partum bleeding can be contained in your usual period pads. Air needs to be able to flow to help heal your perineum and having an extra absorbent diaper next to your lady parts is not beneficial in promoting healing, especially if you had a tear.
- Most women are able to get up to the toilet to pee without having bursting incontinence after birth. However, sometimes those first pees can be a bit ‘intense’ (still not a reason to wear a diaper, see tip #4!). That squeeze bottle your nurse gives you will be a godsend in the loo. Besides doing the obvious rinse and clean job while you recover, it can help dilute your pee so things don’t sting. Take this bottle home with you!
Every women recovers from birth differently, so don’t have one standard on how you think you’re suppose to feel during your postpartum recovery. Just because your sister/best friend was up riding a bicycle the day after she had her 9 pound baby, does not mean that you need to as well.
Looking for some more post partum reads? Check out ‘ Purposefully Slow: A Love Story‘