If you’re pregnant, planning a baby, or have just given birth, you’ll know that despite being an incredibly rewarding experience, it’s natural to need plenty of time for postnatal recovery afterwards so you can make the most of your new baby.
If you need some tips on the best methods for postnatal recovery after childbirth, below we share three things to incorporate into your postnatal recovery plan so you can feel like yourself again in no time.
1. Rest as much as you can
This might sound idealistic for new parents, particularly when there’s a newborn baby involved, but resting as much as possible after birth will help you to recover faster, and will also have huge benefits for your mental health.
Whether you’ve gone through the process of childbirth, or had a caesarean section, the importance of a supportive and comfortable bed cannot be underestimated for recovery. If the time has come for you to replace your bed or mattress, visit archerssleepcentre.co.uk and explore their range of viscoelastic mattresses that adapt to your body shape and temperature.
As pregnancy can often cause a bad back, and there are often resulting injuries from both birth and caesarean section, many new parents often spend the first few days in bed, so ensuring you have the best mattress is essential to optimising your recovery time.
2. Eat well, and drink plenty of water
When you’re a new parent, it can be easy to spend all your time making sure your little one has everything they need to thrive in the first few days and weeks of life.
However, it’s very important to keep yourself hydrated and well fuelled to accelerate your own recovery. One strategy that can work is to batch cook healthy and nutritious meals in the days and weeks before the birth, and freeze them into ready-made portions that can easily be heated up.
Additionally, you should try and keep hydrated as much as possible. In preparation, you could stock up your freezer with ice before the birth for instant cold drinks.
Retailers like Lakeland stock ice cube trays of all shapes and sizes so you can make your own ice and spare the expense of buying from the shop. You could even jazz up your homemade ice cubes with fruit or syrup!
3. Move your body
Your recovery should consist of complete rest initially, but as you start to recover, you might want to practise some low-intensity exercise. Going for a short walk, or doing some gentle stretching can help to boost mood, and re-build muscle strength after birth or surgery.
Platforms like YouTube are full of free postnatal workouts for you to try during your postnatal recovery period. Make sure to speak to your doctor or midwife for advice before starting exercise during your recovery period.
4. Pelvic floor exercises
Engaging in pelvic floor exercises, commonly known as Kegels, is highly beneficial for strengthening the muscles that are affected during childbirth. The pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in providing support to your pelvic organs, promoting better bladder control, and contributing to overall pelvic health.
Consistent practice of pelvic floor exercises can help prevent issues like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. To perform Kegels, contract the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine, hold for a few seconds, and then release. Gradually increase the duration and repetitions as your muscles strengthen.
5. Managing pain and discomfort
Experiencing pain or discomfort after during postnatal recovery is common, but it’s important to communicate with your healthcare provider about your symptoms. They can provide guidance on safe and appropriate pain relief options, taking into consideration any potential impact on breastfeeding if you’re nursing your baby.
Over-the-counter pain medications, ice packs, and gentle stretches can often provide relief. However, always consult your healthcare provider before using any medications or treatments.
6. Supportive undergarments
Consider incorporating supportive postpartum belly wraps or compression garments into your recovery plan. These garments can offer support and comfort to your abdominal muscles as they heal.
By providing gentle compression, these undergarments can help reduce swelling, promote proper alignment, and aid in restoring your core strength. It’s important to ensure that the garments you choose are comfortable and not too tight, as proper circulation is key to the healing process.
7. Emotional well-being
The postnatal recovery period can be emotionally challenging due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the demands of caring for a newborn. Prioritize your emotional well-being by staying connected with loved ones, friends, and other new mothers.
Seek out support groups where you can share your experiences and feelings. If you’re struggling with mood changes, anxiety, or postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional or therapist. Taking care of your emotional health is just as important as your physical recovery.
8. Delegation and accepting help
Embracing the support of your network is crucial during the postnatal recovery period. Delegate tasks like cooking, cleaning, and baby care to family members, friends, or hired help.
Allowing others to lend a hand ensures that you have the time and space you need to rest, recover, and bond with your baby. Remember, accepting help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
9. Gradual return to routine
As you begin to feel better and more energetic, it’s natural to want to resume your daily activities. However, it’s important to proceed with caution. Slowly reintegrate light exercises, household chores, and outings into your routine.
Avoid the temptation to rush back to your pre-pregnancy level of activity, as your body is still healing. Gradually increasing your activity level can help prevent overexertion and promote a smoother recovery.
9. Breastfeeding support
For breastfeeding mothers, seeking support from lactation consultants or joining breastfeeding support groups can make a significant difference in your breastfeeding journey. These professionals can offer guidance on proper latching techniques, addressing common breastfeeding challenges, and ensuring your baby is getting enough milk.
Remember that breastfeeding can come with its own set of challenges, and seeking assistance can help you overcome them and have a successful breastfeeding experience.
10. Bonding time with baby
Devoting quality time to bonding with your baby is essential for both your emotional connection and their healthy development. Engage in skin-to-skin contact, cuddling, and gentle interactions. These moments create a sense of security and warmth for your baby and can also stimulate their senses and cognitive development. Use this time to establish a strong bond that will benefit both you and your little one.
11. Hygiene and self-care
Amid the demands of motherhood, it’s important to prioritize your own self-care and hygiene. Taking regular showers, maintaining proper oral hygiene, and practicing simple grooming routines can help you feel refreshed and more comfortable.
While caring for your baby is a priority, remember that taking care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for your baby as well.
12. Realistic expectations
Understanding that postnatal recovery is a gradual process is crucial. Every woman’s experience is unique, and your body needs time to heal and adjust. Set realistic expectations for your recovery journey and be patient with yourself.
Avoid comparing your progress to others, and focus on your own well-being and the well-being of your baby. Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, and trust that with time, you will regain your strength and vitality.
In conclusion, creating a comprehensive postnatal recovery plan involves addressing various aspects of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. By engaging in pelvic floor exercises, seeking pain relief options, using supportive undergarments, prioritizing emotional well-being, accepting help, gradually returning to routine, seeking breastfeeding support, bonding with your baby, practicing hygiene and self-care, and maintaining realistic expectations, you can navigate the postnatal period with confidence and promote a healthy and fulfilling recovery journey. Remember, your well-being matters, and taking care of yourself during this time is essential for providing the best care for your newborn.
Do you have any tips for postnatal recovery? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!