Postpartum Recovery Tips
As a midwife the majority of the questions I get asked are around pregnancy and birth. While it is so important to do antenatal classes and get the right information, we sometimes forget labour and birth happen over a day or few days. Recovering in the right way is just as or even more important than planning your birth. So how do you plan for the good recovery?
Postpartum Recovery Support
Whether you have your baby via c-section or natural birth with no pain relief, you will need support in the day and weeks afterwards. Birth and labour are very physical events, and your body needs the right ingredients to recover. Firstly, you will need sleep. Whether it is your partner, family members or a postpartum Douala you need to ask and get help to ensure that you can get a few hours sleep every day. If you don’t get enough rest, you can be at greater risk of infection, low mood and postnatal depression. If someone offers to give you a hand- take it! We sometimes try and do far too much ourselves and then when we really do need assistance, we don’t have it lined up. If you have lots of help offered, doing a rota system can be really beneficial so that you have a constant stream of help for the first few weeks.
Postpartum Diet and Nutrition
There is lots of information on what to eat or not to eat during pregnancy. But postpartum, diet is an essential component to recovery and health. Making sure you are well hydrated (at least 2.5 litres of water a day) and eating good nutritious food will help you feel back to yourself. If you are breastfeeding, getting your partner to take over the cooking and providing you with all the calories you need can be a super way to keep them involved.
Postnatal Vitamins & Minerals
It is essential that you are taking the right vitamin supplements to aid your recovery. Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B Vitamins alongside Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc will help your energy levels and support your immune function to allow a faster recovery.
Postnatal Hair Loss
One of the lovely things about pregnancy is that your hair can feel fuller and thicker. However postnatal hair loss is very common. Approximately 4 out of every 10 women will notice significant hair loss in the postpartum period. This can cause quite a lot of distress. It is due to the huge shift in hormones and while unpleasant it will grow back within 3 to 6 months.
Postpartum Baby blues
Hormones have a huge impact on how we feel. While you are pregnant your body is filled with hormones to support your pregnancy- after you give birth, your body can have quite a ‘shock’ going from a pregnant to postnatal state. A hugely common result of this is the ‘baby blues’. These usually start on day 3 and you can feel overwhelmed and tearful. Importantly, they should resolve by the 2 week mark. If you feel that the cloud is not lifting then speak with your GP or midwife and explain how you feel so that they can appropriately support you.
Making time for Yourself Postpartum
Adapting to life as a parent is the single greatest gift, and challenge of life. In an instant your life shifts in focus to caring and loving an entirely new human. It can feel like a whirlwind and nothing prepares you for the love and sometimes the anxiety. It is really important that you give yourself time and space to adjust to the new you. Talk to other parents, friends and family about how you feel. It can be great to share the ups and downs with close friends in a similar situation or with a parent and baby group. It is also important to get time away for yourself – whether this is having a long bath, going for a walk on your own or getting back to exercise when you are ready, make sure you plan to have ‘YOU’ time, so you can get to know the new you!
Make time to Marvel
In the fug and maelstrom that is new parenthood, we can sometimes get so caught up with feeds and nappies that we forget to marvel in what we have accomplished. You have created a whole new human! A perfect little being to whom you can love and who will love you back unconditionally. Of all the wonderful life accomplishments, this is the greatest. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, your body and your family just how amazing you are. You’ve got this!
About the Author
Avril Flynn is a registered Midwife, Antenatal Educator and Hypnobirth Teacher and a Women’s Health Advisor at Active Iron. She is an expert in pregnancy, birth and baby preparation and is moderator of the Active Iron Pregnancy & Parenting Community on Facebook. If you have any questions, please join our Pregnancy & Parenting Community on Facebook.