Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN
After a monumental life event, there’s an expected adjustment period. Whether you had a smooth vaginal birth, a complicated c-section, or anything in-between, your body and mind require time to recover.
It’s important to listen to your body and recognize certain limitations in postpartum recovery. As you transition to mom life, don’t forget to prioritize your healing process.
7 Things NOT to Do After Giving Birth
You’ve probably learned that pregnancy changes your life in more ways than one. Along with the additional family member comes fluctuating body weight, hormonal changes, and an emotional rollercoaster to name a few.
These changes continue in postpartum recovery making it feel like a whirlwind at times. We’re here to help with these 7 things NOT to do after giving birth:
1. Don’t Try to Do It Alone
There’s no way to sugarcoat it– life with a newborn is tough sometimes. For some, help from a mom, a sibling, or other family friends is a vital part of the process.
Accepting support does not mean allowing everyone and anyone to visit, though. The parade of guests coming to swoon over your adorable baby may feel like an overload.
Instead, assess what’s most helpful to you whether it’s a meal train or even getting out of the house with a friend.
Communities provide a wide variety of supportive programs for moms, as well. This includes:
Talk to your physician about resources in your area or call “211” to reach a resource specialist in your area.
2. Don’t Shrug Off The Pain
Certain types of pain and discomfort are an expected part of early postpartum recovery. No matter what type of birth, you may experience cramping, contractions, and breast pain.
After a c-section, anticipate pain around the incision and discomfort during movement.
For vaginal births, some experience pain in the area between the vagina and the anus. If tearing or a surgical cut occurred, you may experience pain around the stitches.
This does NOT mean that you should suffer. Talk to your doctor about your pain and discomfort to find the best solution for you. This may include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescriptions, ice packs, and other self-help treatments.
Contact your doctor if treatment does not relieve your pain, a fever develops, or your bleeding is soaking up two sanitary pads in an hour.
Seek emergency help if you experience chest pain, severe lower abdomen pain, seizures, severe shortness of breath, or pain/tenderness in your lower legs.
3. Don’t Risk Infection
It’s important to allow your uterus time to heal, so your vagina is off-limits for a few weeks.
Don’t use tampons or menstrual cups during the 2-6 weeks of postpartum bleeding. Stick to sanitary pads to avoid harmful bacteria brought on by internal period products.
Hold off until speaking with your doctor at your postpartum appointment before having sex again. Similarly, infection is a risk and your body needs time to recover.
Most physicians recommend a postpartum recovery timeline including waiting between 4-6 weeks after delivery.
4. Don’t Put Yourself Last
When you create a little human, they become your world. Just as airlines remind you to put your oxygen mask on before helping others, prioritizing your health and well-being is a vital part of mom life.
5. Don’t Ignore Signs of PPD
It’s easy to compare ourselves to picture-perfect moms on social media. Motherhood is often a challenge, especially when you’re adjusting to the baby’s schedule while balancing your recovery process.
In reality, the majority of mothers struggle with the baby blues in the first two weeks after birth. 1 out of 8 women are diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD).
It’s easy to grab quick fast food or even skip meals. Ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet and getting enough calories (especially if you’re breastfeeding!).
Allow yourself self-care time to relax and do something for yourself. You deserve it, momma!
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms of PPD:
- Loss of interest in hobbies and enjoyable activities
- Crying for long periods
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
- Feeling disconnected from your baby or family
- Excessive worry or anxiety
These symptoms often feel overwhelming, but remember that PPD is treatable and you are not alone.
6. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
Your plate is pretty full right now, which often leads to doing more than your body can handle. When you’re caring for a newborn off of little to no sleep, it’s easy to overdo it.
Listen to your body and take a rest when you need it. Pushing yourself too hard may lead to excessive bleeding or irritating stitches.
Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby in the car seat and hold off on exercising until your postpartum appointment with your doctor.
7. Don’t Forget Contraception
Many assume that pregnancy isn’t possible during postpartum recovery. The real truth: Pregnancy can occur as early as 6-8 weeks after birth. You can get pregnant before your period restarts.
It’s important to use some form of birth control once you resume having sex. Medical professionals often recommend waiting at least 18 months before getting pregnant again to reduce the risk of having a premature baby.
Want to learn more? Check these out:
- 10 Back To School Mantras For Kids Who Struggle With The Transition
- How To Advocate For Your Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) In A Medical Setting
- Sunscreen Mistakes To Avoid This Summer
- What Does It Mean If You're A Strep Throat Carrier?
- What Do The Colors Of Boogers Mean?
As you adjust to a new world, prioritize your healing and recovery process. Utilize your support system and talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns.
As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India.
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