You’ve made it!! Congratulations!
Pregnancy is over, but the process of childbirth continues for a couple of weeks as your body starts to recover and adjust to its new role. Before going further, I’d like you to just take a second to look back and acknowledge what your body has just accomplished. It’s amazing when you come to think about it!
Each postpartum recovery journey is different
The first six weeks postpartum are universally considered a recovery period, regardless the way you have given birth, but there’s no single postpartum recovery timeline. You may have had a C-section, a long labor or the easiest delivery on record… the delivery experience certainly impacts your recovery regardless the way you gave birth. Your body has endured extreme stretching and stress – it needs to recover.
Every woman is different, and every new mom will recover at a different rate with different postpartum symptoms. So please, please, please, give yourself some time and space to rest and recover. You may not realize the extent you need to heal. Be present, patient, and be kind to yourself during this challenging but beautiful time – your mental health, back, abs, and pelvic floor muscles will thank you!
Need a real plan to heal and safely quick start your postpartum recovery? Learn more about my Immediate Postpartum Program - From Birth to 8 weeks postpartum
Baby is here, Ciao Mama…
After birth care in our modern word
Most prenatal education and birthing classes focus almost entirely on the labor and birth itself. There’s little to no mention of postpartum recovery. For a lot of new Moms, recovering from childbirth is a total surprise and can be a lot rougher than they anticipated.
The first few weeks after delivery are a pivotal and often over-looked time period! In my opinion a new Mother needs more care and support in this immediate postpartum moment than throughout pregnancy. Ancient cultures that have preserved traditional practices know it well - there’s a real postpartum recovery plan for new Moms. They are honored, supported, protected, and nourished with very special care.
Unfortunately, it seems that the medical world in our modern societies has forgotten this ancient wisdom and care. Too often, new Moms are treated like suitcases, carrying babies to be delivered, and their postpartum needs are neglected.
It really drives me crazy!! Simple tips and specific gentle exercises can accelerate the recovery process as well as educate you on how to avoid potential pitfalls that could lead to long term consequences (diastasis recti, pelvic floor issues, postpartum back pain…).
The first 6 weeks can influence your recovery timeline and waiting 6 to 8 weeks until after the medical check up is too long! There’s so much you can be doing to quickly start your recovery after birth and sooth your body and mind right after childbirth.
Physical, emotional, and nutritional care are essential to recover, adapt, find balance and - HEAL.
Postpartum healing tips and info
All the after delivery stuff they just assume you know
(Click on each title bellow to reveal the drop-down content)
+ Vaginal bleeding
Regardless of if you had a C-section or a vaginal birth, postpartum bleeding can last for up to six weeks. Lochia is similar to an extremely heavy period, especially in the first 24 hours, and the blood will be bright red. During the first 6 weeks you’ll need to rely on super-absorbent pads since tampons or cups will be off limits to prevent infection.
+ Afterbirth pains
You’ll feel cramps similar to period cramps during this time. This is not only normal, but also very important for your recovery after birth. They're caused by the contractions of your uterus as it returns to its pre-pregnancy size.
+ Take your hospital peri bottle home!
It is essential to gently clean your sensitive areas, especially if you had stitches. Spray warm water over the area before and after peeing to keep urine from irritating torn skin.
+ Ice your perineum
Ice your perineum every couple of hours for the first 24 hours post-birth - Bottom spray may help too. These last two tips are especially important for vaginal birth recovery, regardless of if you had stiches or not.
+ Wear disposable mesh undies
Wear disposable mesh undies or high-waisted panties to hold the maxi pads and ice packs, and prevent irritation in case of a C-section.
+ Sitz baths
10 - 20 minute sitz baths a few times a day can ease pain and speed up the healing process. Ask your nurse or mid-wife for advice (herbs, lavender, calendula...)
+ Get over the first stool
Eat some prune sauce and drink a lot of water Most hospitals won’t let you leave unless you’ve pooped. Don’t worry, as scary as your first stool may be, it won’t be nearly as bad as you imagine. Don’t let yourself become constipated.
+ Awaken your pelvic floor muscles
Awaken your pelvic floor muscles, no matter how you delivered. Very gentle pelvic floor exercises based on abdominal breathing are hugely beneficial right after childbirth.
+ Massage your perineum
Massaging your perineum is an important step in your vaginal birth recovery journey. However, don't start before your scar and perineum are fully healed.
+ Care for your C-section scar
Be sure to ask your doctor about the cleaning protocol to take care of your incision at home, and whether it’s better to cover the incision or leave it open to air out. Once healed, scar tissue mobilization and desensitization are important part of your postpartum recovery journey to break up scar tissue and help the nerves heal and regrow quicker.
+ Breast care
If you are breastfeeding, there's a good chance that you’ll have achy breasts and irritated nipples due to being in high demand and the milk production! Warm compress or ice packs and gentle massage can help sooth your breasts. Remember that you aren’t alone, contact your midwife or a lactation consultant if you're uncomfortable and experience breastfeeding issues. They are here to help.
+ Stay regular and hydrated
Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods to promote healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. Aim for 10 to 15 glasses of water a day.
+ Pack in nutritious foods
Nutritious foods are key to nourishing your healing body, recovering properly and increasing your energy levels. Stocked up some homemade and nutrient-dense meals in the freezer. Pack in protein and prioritize warm, easily digestible foods.
+ Beware of gravity!
Your cervix is slowly closing, but try to avoid long periods of standing or sitting, especially during the 2 first weeks. Don’t think that long walks with the stroller or baby carrier will help your postpartum recovery. Lay down often, rest, rest, rest. Don’t try to do it all, ease into your new routine and accept the help from family and friends!
+ Postpartum check-up
Your OB/GYN or md-wife can ensure that everything is healing normally. Let them know if anything concerns you, physically (fever, pains…) or emotionally (overwhelming fears and worries, waves of sadness…). If they don’t check your pelvic floor muscles strength and ab separation, ask them to! Don’t be afraid of asking questions.
+ Postnatal exercise
Postnatal exercise can greatly stimulate or sabotage your postpartum recovery! I can guide you on the road to help your body heal and steer clear of the common mistakes too many new Moms make when they resume exercise after baby. The postpartum time period will fly by, and you’ll feel like yourself again, sooner than you think. Click here to learn more about exercises after pregnancy
6 mantras to help you adjust
Emotional postpartum healing
Give some gratitude to your amazing body! Just look at your little one. What your body did is truly amazing.
Try to avoid comparing your body to other moms or making any kind of self-deprecating remark about your body. Here are some mantras to change those thoughts with love and compassion.
1 week postpartum
“I believe in myself as a capable and wonderful mother.”
2 weeks postpartum
“I face difficult situations with courage and conviction. I treat myself with kindness and respect.”
3 weeks postpartum
“I love taking good care of myself, for my baby and me.”
4 weeks postpartum
“I am good enough in all that I do.”
5 weeks postpartum
“Being a good mom means I nurture myself and take care of my needs as well.”
6 weeks postpartum
“I will have open and honest conversations with my partner regarding my feelings about my body and sex.”
Postpartum is a whole new world, a major life change!
• From recovering from birth, physically but also emotionally,
• To dealing with exhaustion and sleep deprivation,
• To bonding with this little one that’s entered your life…
Enjoy this very special time.
Sending you love for your postpartum recovery!
Quick start your postpartum recovery journey with my Immediate Postpartum Program – from Birth to 8 weeks
All content, including health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.