Becoming a mother is commonly considered one of the happiest times in life, but the weeks after giving birth can also take a physical and emotional toll on mothers. Your body goes through many changes after giving birth, and while you focus on caring for your baby, it’s important to take care of yourself as well.
Every birth and delivery are different, and it’s hard to know exactly what postpartum life will look like, especially as a new mom. Understanding the ways your body may change and making postpartum care a priority will help you navigate postpartum life.
What To Expect
While every woman is different, there are many changes that most women can expect after giving birth.
Common postpartum changes can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty urinating
- Hormonal changes
- Perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) soreness
- Vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Discomfort from C-section incision
- Soreness of the breasts and nipples
Postpartum Care Tips for New Moms
The many ways pregnancy and childbirth affect the body may seem intimidating, especially for new mothers. It can be challenging to adjust to these changes, but these postpartum care tips can help you properly heal and take care of yourself after giving birth.
1. Help Your Body Heal
The body goes through a lot during childbirth, whether you have a vaginal delivery or C-section. However you give birth, postpartum challenges will not dissipate in just a few days; it takes time, even months, for the body to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
When it comes to some of the physical effects of postpartum care, here are some steps you can take to encourage healing:
- Vaginal soreness: Sit on a padded ring or pillow, use ice packs, and prevent irritating your perineum by spraying the area with warm water while urinating.
- Pelvic floor changes: Do Kegel exercises to help the vagina and perineum get back in shape after stretching during delivery.
- C-section scar: Ask your doctor about caring for your C-section scar, and gently clean it and apply antibiotic ointment.
- Tender breasts: Frequent breastfeeding can relieve engorged breasts, and try warm compresses, ice packs, and gentle massaging to ease aches.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help your body heal. You can find even more postpartum care tips from various resources.
2. Get as Much Rest As Possible
The physical toll of labor and sleepless nights with a new baby can leave you feeling exhausted. Get as much sleep as possible to combat postpartum fatigue. A good rule of thumb is to sleep whenever your baby sleeps. If you have family or friends who can look after your baby, be sure to take the opportunity to sleep.
3. Seek and Accept Help
Sometimes, new mothers may feel hesitant to accept help from others. But postpartum care and life as a new mother is much easier when you have friends, family, or other resources around to help you. Never be afraid to ask for help from your loved ones or seek resources and advice that can help you navigate life as a new mother.
4. Keep Moving
Exercise and physical activity can help when it comes to recovering from postpartum symptoms, but be sure to talk to your doctor before attempting any type of physical activity. While most doctors will not suggest strenuous activity, they will allow more gentle exercise, like walks around the block. Exercise will help boost energy levels, strengthen muscles, relieve stress, and more following childbirth.
5. Eat Well
A healthy diet is always important and can be especially beneficial postpartum. Eating well can help fight fatigue and constipation and aid in losing extra weight gained during pregnancy.
6. Check on Your Mental Health
Hormonal changes are a natural part of postpartum life and can sometimes lead to what’s commonly referred to as “baby blues.” The “baby blues” refer to feelings associated with a combination of hormonal changes, anxiety, lack of sleep, isolation, and more.
Baby blues are sometimes confused with postpartum depression. While the symptoms are similar to baby blues, postpartum depression symptoms are longer-lasting and typically more severe. If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, such as feeling hopeless, empty, or lonely, talk to your doctor.
Contact Green Valley OB/GYN
If you have questions or concerns about postpartum care, contact your doctor. Green Valley OB/GYN has been providing the highest quality of obstetric and gynecological care for over 70 years. We offer a comprehensive list of services, including postpartum care. To set up an appointment or talk about your health, call us at (336) 378-1110 to schedule an appointment.