Written by Ann
Are you a new mom, trying to navigate life after giving birth? Or are you an expectant mom, not sure of what changes your body would under-go after your baby gets here? Not to worry, you came to the right place. Children are such a gift from God, and everyone gets excited when they get here (well in a perfect world). But the delivery process can take a toll on your body.
The weeks following childbirth will be a rush as your body recovers from the changes, hormones, and fluxes it has undergone, during delivery. This period is referred to as the postpartum period and usually lasts for six weeks. During this period, your focus should solely be on you and your child; everything else becomes secondary. The following list covers the things you need to know to help your body return to its pre-pregnancy state.
Rest: This should be obvious. Your body just underwent a tremendous amount of stress; your primary focus should be recovery. Delegate all household responsibilities, to your partner or paid help; if you can get one of your relatives to assist you for a while, that would lift a lot of weight from your shoulders. The point is, your attention should be on yourself and your newborn, other things can come after.
Breastfeeding: Your breasts will feel sore soon after childbirth, which is nature’s way of telling you that it is time to start breastfeeding. That shouldn’t be a problem if you feed your baby regularly. However, there will be periods when your breasts swell prominently, and flatten your nipples in the process, making it difficult for your child to latch on.
In cases like this, all you need to do is to press the area around your nipples inward to express some milk, and then you can feed your child. It also happens that you may feel discomfort in your breasts when your child is asleep, if that happens, you’re allowed to wake your child up to feed; if they are sucking their finger or tossing in the crib, then there’s a good chance you can get them to latch on.
Take care of your vagina: A human being just came out of your vagina; it’s going to take some time for it to return to normal. If your doctor had to cut the area between your vagina and anus, or you experienced a tear while trying to push out your little bundle of joy (yikes!) going to the bathroom would be a painful experience.
Also, your uterus will shed its lining, leading to a vaginal discharge called lochia. To speed its healing and prevent infection, keep the area clean with soap and water, avoid tampons, go without a pad for an hour a day to allow airflow, also use a squeeze bottle to squirt warm water on your perineal area when using the bathroom, and use ice packs on the area to help reduce swelling.
Diet: You need to eat a balanced diet to aid your recovery; grains, fruits, legumes, vegetables, juice, and lots of water for hydration should be on the menu. Avoid animal fats, e.g., pork fat, and chicken skin, and also junk food.
Exercise: You’ll need to see your doctor for this one, as your body is still healing and any unnecessary stress can aggravate any stitches you may have or disturb the general healing process. However, there are mild forms of activity you can partake in, such as walking your baby to start with.
Pregnancy and childbirth take a heavy toll on your body; physically and mentally. It will take a while for you to return to your pre-pregnancy state, so go easy on yourself. Also, find a way to schedule small pockets of time for you and your partner to talk, and express the intense and emotional rollercoaster states that come with being new parents, it helps when you have someone to talk to, and share life-changing moments with.
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About The Author: Ann Ochonogor is a young mother of two, who has the passion of building a community of young mothers who can share their experiences together of getting pregnant, things they go through during pregnancy, and also life after delivery. She has an insightful page on Instagram (@anns.lactation.treat), where she sells homemade cookies, which helps to increase milk supply during breastfeeding. To learn more about her, visit her Instagram page.
All images are courtesy of Unsplash