Speed up recovery after giving birth!
Congratulations on your little baby who was just (or about to be) born! Nearing the end of pregnancy is exciting, mama.
Sharing our body with our baby for the past nine months is an amazing journey. But hey, we do want our bodies back, don’t we?!
But even after our baby arrives, we face yet another period of time where our body still hasn’t reached normal. It takes time after birthing a baby before we feel like ourselves again.
It takes about six weeks to fully recover from a vaginal delivery, while a cesarean takes anywhere between 4 and 6 weeks to heal.
Sound like a long time? It doesn’t have to be!
Here are some ways you can speed up your recovery after childbirth, mama!
How to Speed Up Recovery After Childbirth
It’s better to enter your recovery period prepared than not, mama. Our bodies and experiences with childbirth are all different, but read on to learn some basic things you can do to recover faster.
1. Gather the Right Supplies
Whether you’re having a vaginal birth or a cesarean, make sure you have the right supplies on hand. Here are a few you’ll need for a vaginal birth.
- Peri bottle to rinse your vaginal area with warm water. It will be a while before you’ll be able to use soaps to clean down there.
- Witch hazel tucks are medicated cooling pads that help relieve burning and itching caused by hemorrhoids. These pads help keep the area moist and clean. Did you get stitches after you gave birth? These pads help that area to feel cool and allow you to experience some relief.
- Pads for bleeding during the initial month after giving birth
Get the full list by reading my Postpartum Care Plan for Healing After Childbirth post.
2. Keep Your Stools Soft
You’ve probably heard your doctor mention that you should be making sure your stools are soft when you go into labor. Going into labor constipated is a nightmare!
It’s not much different after you give birth, mama. You still need to monitor your stools. You need to be pooping on a regular basis, and your stools should not be difficult to pass.
Straining by pushing too hard could irritate your stitches (if you have them) or cause tearing or bleeding.
These are a few ways you can keep your stools soft:
- Stool softener
- Dandelion Tea
- Staying hydrated by drinking enough water
- Eat high fiber foods on a daily basis
3. Sitz Bath
These are nothing short of amazing, mama. Sitz Baths (also known as hip baths) are designed for you to sit in water up to your hips.
It’s an easy, convenient and effective way to soak your bottom as well as your lady parts in water to relieve discomfort, itchiness and pain.
It’s a small, portable tub that fits on the seat of a toilet. Another plus to a Sitz bath is that it doesn’t require as much time or movement as it does to get in and out of a regular sized bathtub.
Learn more from my post about Sitz baths and how they can help speed up your recovery!
4. Limit Your Physical Activity
As tired as they are, new mothers always seem to believe they should be doing more. Just one more thing.
Laundry needs to be done, meals to be cooked, and errands to run. So much to do, so little time! I know it’s hard to let go. The messes that surrounded me bothered me too.
But you have to go easy on yourself, mama. You just had a baby! You must give yourself enough time to heal. Try not to do so much during your recovery process.
Ask for the help you need. But also understand that it’s okay to not have your home cleaned to your standards during this time.
You’ll reap the benefits of doing kegels before and after birth. Your organs, muscles, and ligaments are displaced a bit when you’re pregnant and can be weakened from pushing.
Kegels help you strengthen your pelvic floor and promote healthy healing.
Never underestimate the power of rest. Don’t force yourself to carry on with life as if you didn’t just have a baby. One of my favorite pieces of advice for new mothers is to sleep when the baby sleeps. It just makes so much sense!
If you’re squeezing in cleaning and other tasks while your baby sleeps, when will you find additional time to rest, mama?
I recommend you make a list of all of your support people to easily reference in the harder moments when it feels like you just can’t get enough done.
Once you have your list together, make it a point to call those people when you need them.
7. Take Pain Relief as Needed
If your doctor has prescribed you any medication to relieve pain, make sure to take it. Skipping doses or ceasing to take it altogether may cause you more pain you don’t want.
There’s a reason your doctors keep you on a pain medication schedule while you’re in the hospital. 🙂
8. Eat Well
Don’t let your health slip through the cracks. Poor eating habits make it hard to recover because your whole body is working together to heal itself.
You want to keep up the same high quality eating habits you had while you were prego. Eating foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients will help you think clearly and give you much needed energy.
Eating healthy also makes you feel great!
9. Ease Back Into Exercising
Wait for the go-ahead from your doctor to resume any exercise routine you had before giving birth. Your doctor will perform a standard examination during your postpartum visit.
Make sure to point out any concerns you may have at that time. Just remember it is important that you do get some form of movement on a daily basis.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to constipation, depression, and other health related issues. I would start small.
Don’t try to tackle intense forms of exercising yet. Just start with short trips to the mailbox and begin to implement more from there.
10. Avoid Lifting
This can be a tough one. You really shouldn’t be lifting anything heavier than your baby.
It’s better to ask for help lifting things like the laundry basket, heavy grocery bags, and any items in your home that you think need your attention right now.
If you have older children that are under 5, don’t feel guilty. Just try to explain to them that you can’t lift them since you’re still hurting after baby was born.
11. Avoid Cesarean Wound Infections
It’s highly important that you do everything possible to prevent infections to your wound. Here are some things you can do to keep your wound clean and on the right track to heal quickly:
- Take any prescribed medication from your doctor. Even if your wound seems to be healing, make sure that you take the full dosage for the entire length of time unless approved by your doctor.
- Avoid having anything (skin folds, pillows, or other things) touch the wound where you had the incision.
- Keep your wound clean
- Change your wound dressings often
- Ask your doctor if you have questions or if anything seems abnormal or extremely painful.
12. Make Things Convenient
Planning ahead will make your days so much easier while you’re allowing your body to heal the way it needs to. Take steps to make create convenience whenever and wherever possible.
This means having a basic caddy to store diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials so you don’t have to walk back and forth too much during the day.
It also means simplifying meals by preparing in bulk with the least amount of stress and physical exertion possible. Paper plates, plastic utensils, and healthy frozen meals may make sense for the first month or so after you give birth.
Have a specific space to store the things you want and need in the room where you’ll spend the most time each day. This could be lip balm, snacks, water, your phone and charger, or a book.
Also, let your partner know how he can support you before and after work. Him being able to prepare a meal, take the trash out, or lift something will help you out a lot.
As you go through each day, you will think of other ways to make things easier for yourself.
Prepare for a Quick Recovery
Every new mother desires a fast and healthy recovery! Apply these tips, and you’ll be well on your way! It’s important to make sure you reach out to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about how your body is healing.
These tips might seem overly simple, but applying them will set you up for a faster recovery.
Now it’s your turn! Did I miss any tips on how to speed up recovery after childbirth? Share in the comments below.
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