Taking Care of Yourself after Childbirth

Taking Care of Yourself

Here are some tips for you as you are getting into your new routine and healing at the same time. It is easy to get tired and overwhelmed during this time.

  • Rest
    • Whenever you can.
    • When baby sleeps.
    • You’ll have time for everything you want to do later.
    • It is important to establishing a good milk supply.
    • Is important in improving your mood and decreasing risk of postpartum depression.
    • Limit visitors and social activities.
    • Increase your activity level gradually.
  • Hydrate
    • It’s easy to not drink water if it’s not a priority.
    • Dehydration will affect your milk supply, increase constipation and make you feel more fatigue.
    • At least 2 liters over the course of the day.
  • Get Help
    • Accept help from friends—you can reciprocate later.
    • Have someone stay with you for at least the first few days.
    • Outsource:
      • Cooking
      • Cleaning
      • Baby care
      • Childcare if you have older children
  • Get out of the house
    • Take walks out in open areas with your baby.
    • Avoid crowds.
    • Things that are helpful:
      • Slings, baby carriers
      • Nursing covers
    • Have no expectations.
  • Filtering advice
    • As childbirth is a natural and necessary part of life, every culture has developed traditions and rituals around pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. With the fatigue and blues that come after delivery, it can be difficult to filter out what is a medical truth from scientifically unfounded traditions. When you have a colicky baby, are short on sleep, and are getting a continuous stream of conflicting advice, it can be overwhelming and guilt-inducing.
    • Cultural traditions and rituals are the result of cultures observing pregnancy and childbirth and extrapolating how to care for the mother.
      • Some of it is very helpful. For instance:
        • Limiting responsibilities on a new mom for at least the first 6 weeks (or “40 days”).
        • Postpartum massages for new moms.
      • Sometimes the advice is harmful. For example:
        • Severe restrictions on diet or water.
        • Preventing a woman from showering.
  • Medical advice comes from medical professionals.
  • Doula’s, Health Coaches, Midwives and Lactation consultants
    • There are a lot of supportive health advocates with varying levels of training available to support women after delivery.
    • The vast majority of their advice is supportive, helpful, and based on information from formal, respected training programs.
    • On occasion, these health advocates will incorporate information from less reliable sources into their advice. There is no harm in running a suggestion by our office if you have any concerns.
  • Exercise
  • Exercise helps you feel good and helps your body get back to its pre-pregnancy shape. In general, you can start exercising 4-6 weeks after vaginal delivery, it will be longer after C-Section and we can discuss this at the 8 week appointment.
  • Kegels exercises are very important to do in order to regain strength in your pelvic muscles. These you can do while sitting or standing as early as 1-2 weeks after delivery.
  • Your body
    • Skin changes continue to improve for six months
      • Stretch marks
      • Darkened skin
    • Abdominal wall
      • Will continue to flatten over the first 6 months
      • Rarely will your body return to normal without additional help
        • Pilates
        • Core strengthening
      • Diastasis recti
        • Occurs during pregnancy in some women when the large abdominal muscles separate.
        • Important to discuss with your doctor.
        • Not curable but treatments (and sometimes surgery) can help.
        • EMbody Program by Every Mother (previously Dia Method) is the only comprehensive exercise program proven effective and safe for diastasis recti.

Below are some physical changes after childbirth:

  • Contractions (after pains) shrink the uterus for several days after childbirth. They are more pronounced during breastfeeding. Take Ibuprofen/Advil before every alternate feed to keep you comfortable if they are pronounced in the first week.
  • Breast engorgement- common in the 3-4 days after delivery when the milk comes in. Placing ice packs on breasts, taking hot showers, and warm compresses may help alleviate the pain.
  • Vaginal soreness, pain, discomfort, and numbness are all common after vaginal birth. Tucks, pads, and dermoplast spray can help. Tuck pads are medicated cooling pads that are used in hospitals to ease itching and burning pain from hemorrhoids. Dermoplast spray is an anesthetic spray that can relieve pain and itching by partially numbing the area.
  • Sore Muscles- especially in the arms, neck, or jaw are due to the hard work of labor. Get massages if possible.
  • Bleeding and vaginal discharge can continue for 4-6 weeks and sometimes, off and on for 2 months. There can be a gush of heavy bleeding around day 8-11 which is the second big phase of the uterus shrinking. As long as it lasts no more than 4-6 hours- it is normal.
  • Leg swelling- it is very common for the swelling to get worse when you go home. Most of the time it gets better in 2nd week.
  • Baby Blues- you may feel emotional sad, and overwhelmed in the first week. This typically starts around 4th day and eases up in less than 2 weeks. If not please call the office.

We've Moved!

Our office has finally moved into our brand new, larger space in the Sobrato Pavilion.
Please allow yourself additional time to find our space, park in the Sobrato Parking Structure, and find our suite on the 6th floor!

We can't wait for you to see it!

Map of ECH campus and our new location