What Lies Ahead: 9 Things You’ll Need to Prepare for After Giving Birth
Becoming a parent is a momentous and joyous occasion that changes your life forever from the moment your child is born and there are plenty of things that you need to prepare for as well as enjoying the magic of parenthood.
Getting back into shape after giving birth is one of your many challenges and it would be convenient to be able to stream a workout that you can do around your babycare duties.
This is just one aspect of your new life and here are some other pointers with regard to what lies ahead so that you can enjoy a positive postpartum experience.
Don’t expect to lose that belly straight away
You need to have realistic expectations when it comes to how quickly your baby belly will disappear and you return to more like your normal shape.
It can be a bit frustrating to still look as though you are pregnant after you already given birth but this is perfectly normal and you should anticipate looking like this for a couple of weeks after having your child.
Your body will be experiencing a level of water retention and your body needs that initial period after birth to return to a lower level.
Take it easy for a few weeks
Even if you were fortunate enough to have a fairly straightforward natural birth it is still to be expected that you will experience a certain level of soreness and pain in your vaginal area.
It is not unusual to have stitches, even when you have not undergone a C-section and the best thing to do is take it easy for a couple of weeks before attempting to do anything too strenuous.
Lacking in energy?
You shouldn’t really be surprised that your energy levels are much lower than normal after giving birth.
Labor can be very exhausting and you may also have experienced a certain amount of blood loss, which will also contribute to your feelings of tiredness and exhaustion.
Keep yourself well hydrated during this period so that you can build up your energy levels and strength in no time at all.
Feeling a bit low?
It can come as quite a surprise to many women that they feel a bit depressed and not that excited about becoming a mother in the days and weeks after giving birth.
Hormonal changes in your body are likely to be a major contributory factor if you are feeling this way and you may well be experiencing postpartum depression.
It is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you are feeling a bit low after having a baby.
Your breasts could become very sore
Another physical response to childbirth that you need to be aware of is that your breasts might become extremely sore and you might also experience nipple pain and cracking.
This is as a result of milk coming through and if your breasts are engorged it would be a good idea to wear breast pads to help soak up any milk that leaks.
You can get an over-the-counter nipple cream to ease the cracking and a warm compress can also help ease the initial pain you might be experiencing.
Expect a certain amount of bleeding
It always helps to have prior knowledge of how your body might react to childbirth and knowing that you can expect to experience some bleeding after labor should help you to cope with that scenario more calmly.
It is common to expect to witness a certain amount of discharge and the specific term for this is lochia.
Lochia is the medical term that describes an event where your body is blood and tissue that had been lining your uterus during pregnancy. Your body will seek to expel this blood and tissue shortly after delivery and you should anticipate varying flows which could go on for a couple of weeks, intermittently.
Starting to exercise again
Even if you are a bit of a fitness fanatic or simply want to get your body back in shape as quickly as possible you need to show restraint and remember that exercise is not advisable for at least the first couple of weeks after having your baby.
It would be sensible to build up your exercise routine rather than go straight back into a full-blown workout.
Start by taking a few walks and consult your doctor about how ready they think you are for going back to an exercise routine.
Watch your diet
As well as suffering potential mood swings after childbirth you might also suffer from a bit of constipation, along with some understandable fatigue when you consider what you have put your body through.
A good route to a full recovery includes eating healthily and thinking about your diet in order to help relieve some of your symptoms.
It would be a sensible strategy to eat about five small meals throughout the day rather than attempting larger portions. Try to include plenty of fiber and make sure you also drink plenty of water too.
Healing your body
Your ultimate aim is to heal your body and get back to feeling normal again as quickly as possible so that you can enjoy being a mother without any distractions.
Your postpartum recovery routine will be influenced by whether you had a vaginal delivery or C-section. To help your perineum heal, use some ice every few hours for the first 24 hours after birth. If you had a C-section, carefully clean your wound with soap and water before applying a recommended antibiotic ointment to the area.
Don’t overexert yourself during this recovery period and refrain from engaging in any meaningful exercise until you have at least had the go-ahead from your doctor that everything is good to go again.
Childbirth is rarely an unchallenging physical and mental event but that often soon gets forgotten when you have a beautiful baby in your arms. You can also improve your chances of enjoying early motherhood if you anticipate some of the typical postpartum issues that you are likely to experience.