So your little bundle of joy is HERE! Chances are, if you’ve made it to this point, you are riding the highs (and lows) of postpartum. As a society, we talk a lot about pregnancy and childbirth. But what about postpartum?
Before my first was born, I had to really research to find engaging content on the reality of postpartum recovery. I have a sister who had 4 babies before me and was very honest about postpartum recovery. I literally knew nothing.
I want to share what I’ve learned about postpartum recovery after two natural, vaginal births. It’s all about what you know and what to expect because being prepared can help make recovery that much easier.
- You will be sore and I’m not just talking about your poor lady parts that just blasted out a baby. You will literally feel like you participated in a triathlon and took first place. I was really confused after the birth of my first son, as to why my entire body felt like I’d been extreme weight lifting. During labour you’re using every ounce of muscle you’ve got. Ice, heat and a chiropractic adjustment can REALLY help this soreness. Take it easy and give your muscles a chance to recover.
- Going #1 and #2 postpartum isn’t fun and that silly squeeze bottle they give you doesn’t always help. A lifesaving tip a friend gave me was that when you go to pee, sit down on the toilet and lean forward until you can place your hands flat on the ground. This will direct the flow AWAY from your lady parts. As far as #2, take a stool softener (NOT laxative.) There are natural options for stool softeners which I’ll let YOU research for yourself.
- Bleeding for up to 8 weeks postpartum is normal. Your midwife or nurse will tell you what amount is normal. Physical activity will cause you to bleed more. I see that as the body’s way of say, “Hey! SLOW DOWN LADY!”
- Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are important to recognize. If you feel like you might be struggling with either (or both) of these things, reach out. Talk to your partner, friend and most importantly to your doctor. Don’t wait to get help. Emotional and mental recovery is just as important as the physical. I share about my journey with PPA here.
- Afterbirth pains are painful. The midwives or nurses will push on your stomach to help your uterus contract back to it’s normal size. OUCH. The more your baby nurses the faster your uterus will contract, a biological response of the body to prevent hemorrhaging. Amazing but it can be very painful. OTC painkillers can really help! A natural, pain relief alternative is AfterEase, a herbal tincture to help with afterbirth cramping.
- Apart from the full body soreness, your lady parts will need some TLC. It will probably hurt to sit for a few weeks but sitting on soft surfaces or pillows can help. Try not to cross your legs or do any big stretches, especially if you have stitches. Depending on if you tear, have an episiotomy and need stitches it’s a good idea to ask your midwife/doctor if and when you can take baths. If you are cleared to do so, a nice herbal bath with epsom salt can be helpful. Calendula is a wonderful herb to promote healing!
Don’t put yourself at risk for infection by not taking care of yourself. Your body needs TLC. Know what an infection looks, feels (and smells) like. Your body is working really hard to recover from something major and you don’t want to complicate that recovery by not taking care of yourself. Listen to your body and rest as often as you can. Support your body with nourishing foods, drink water and take (nursing safe) supplements/vitamins that boost your immune system.
I know you’ve heard it before but the dishes, laundry and dirty house can wait. Let other people take care of you and help you however they can. Enjoy that sweet baby and cheers to you mama as you recover!
What surprised you about your postpartum recovery?