When you're recovering from childbirth, the first thing on your mind will naturally be caring for your new bundle of joy. However, when you're home from the hospital don’t forget that in order to be a great mother you need to take good care of your health.
Pregnancy and birth obviously put a lot of strain on your body. When you’re recovering from childbirth, remember to take things slowly and get as much sleep as possible. This means pacing yourself and accepting help from friends and family with those household chores.
Your doctor will talk to you about the changes your body will go through, but you can expect to face some physical challenges over the next few days and weeks. You will have discharge called ‘lochia’ as the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy are no longer required. As well as feeling constipated, with swelling in your legs and feet, you may also experience cramps, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Make sure you are looking after your health by keeping your feet elevated to prevent swelling and following your doctors orders about how much exercise you should be doing. Of course, make sure you drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables too!
You should lose about 10lbs straight away as your fluid levels decrease. However, don’t try to go on a diet and lose lots of weight straight after giving birth – the safest approach is to introduce a healthy eating program approved by your doctor. Remember, it’s much more important to be strong and full of energy for your newborn baby than to be drained and tired due to not enough food.
If you feel blue when you’re recovering from childbirth, just remember – you are not alone! Your emotional health can be thrown into disarray with worrying about your new baby, lack of sleep and all those hormones.
It may be worth thinking about joining a support network and meeting other new mums in a similar situation to yourself. Often, just talking about your feelings can remove a lot of pressure.
However, if you have continued feelings of sadness after birth, don’t keep it to yourself. Post natal depression may hinder your bond with your baby and can even slow down his/her development. So visit your doctor who can reassure you and refer you to therapy sessions if necessary.
By looking after your physical and emotional health, you can ensure a healthy recovery after childbirth and look forward to being a new mum.