How To Care for the Body After Pregnancy
Pregnancy takes a massive toll on the body. The changes in the body after giving birth can be shocking to many new mothers. From chronic aches and pains to a weak bladder, there is a range of health complaints that develop as a result of carrying a child and giving birth. If you’re currently getting used to your new, post-pregnancy body, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few tips on how to deal with some of the most common concerns for new mothers.
Stretch marks are small scars that form when the body grows rapidly and the skin stretches. Roughly nine out of ten women will get stretch marks as a result of pregnancy. During pregnancy, it’s recommended that you moisturize your stomach with cocoa butter and eat plenty of vitamin C. After pregnancy, a cream containing vitamin A, E and D can help to speed up the skin’s healing process. Don’t worry, these marks tend to fade dramatically over time.
If you find yourself constantly running to the bathroom after giving birth, you aren’t alone. During delivery, your muscles around the pelvis weaken. After giving birth, your uterus shrinks rapidly putting extra pressure on the bladder. Be sure to do pelvic floor exercises regularly and avoid coffee and alcohol which can irritate the bladder. If you still experience a frequent urge to urinate a few months after giving birth, try a bladder support product.
Adult acne is without a doubt one of the most frustrating and annoying problems to deal with. Many women experience nine months of glowing, clear skin during pregnancy, and are shocked by the sudden onset of nasty hormonal pimples. This is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance that will even itself out over time. Until your hormones go back to normal, invest in some cream with salicylic acid and try to use light-weight make-up.
Lower back pain
Postpartum back pain is a frequent complaint. Pregnancy hormones loosen the ligaments and joints around the hips and pelvis. After giving birth, the body has to readjust. Doing some simple yoga stretches can help ease the pain. We also recommend using magnetic massage pads for your feet to alleviate the symptoms. Using the ancient practice of magnetic plantar reflexology, these insoles put light pressure on specific areas of the feet to help relieve pain in other areas of the body.
Excess stomach and hip fat
While not an immediate health concern, excess weight can be difficult to come to terms with. Simple abs and glute exercises are the best way to start regaining your pre-pregnancy silhouette. Start slow with pelvic tilts, then move on to ab crunches. Try yoga or Pilates for a full-body workout that will not only tone the stomach but will also help your body to realign.
Giving birth is an incredibly intense experience, both mentally and physically, and you will need time to recover. Protect both the time you have with the baby and the time you have to yourself.
Ask others to help with cooking, house upkeep, and childcare
After you have a baby, it is important to rest and spend time bonding with your baby. Your family members should be willing to take over responsibilities like cooking meals, cleaning, and caring for any other children you have.
Your family and friends will all want to visit you and the baby, but don’t overwhelm yourself with company. Don’t be afraid to let them know if it’s not a good time for you. They will understand.
Deal with vaginal soreness
Whether you have a tear or not, you will be sore after delivering a baby. If your doctor had to perform an episiotomy (a small incision to make more room for the baby to come through) or you experienced a vaginal tear during delivery, you will likely experience soreness. As with the rest of your recovery, give it time to heal, but do takes steps to mitigate pain and avoid infection.
Use pads to control bleeding
Even if you did not have an episiotomy or vaginal tear during delivery, you will likely experience bleeding and a discharge called lochia for about 2 weeks (and perhaps intermittently for the next 2 months). Wear pads, not tampons, to deal with this.
Try Kegel exercises for difficulty urinating
Giving birth puts a strain on your pelvic floor, bladder, and urethra, leading to a number of problems with urination. These problems will usually go away on their own, but wear sanitary pads and try Kegel exercises in the meantime.
Alleviate discomfort from swollen breasts
Whether or not you plan on breastfeeding, you may experience swelling, tenderness, and firmness in your breasts. Depending on your plans, there are a number of different ways to relieve this discomfort.
If you feel pain or swelling when you use the bathroom, you might have hemorrhoids, a common and uncomfortable post-pregnancy symptom. Take steps to ease this discomfort.
Keep an eye on your thyroid
Some women experience thyroid problems after giving birth, called postpartum thyroiditis. This usually involves a period of hyperthyroidism followed by a period of hypothyroidism. Postpartum thyroiditis can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms tiredness, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, and weight changes overlap with symptoms many women experience after giving birth, anyway.
Wait at least 6-8 weeks before resuming your normal routine
This includes exercise, sex, and other vigorous activity. Everyone’s recovery differs, however, so talk to your doctor before jumping back into anything.
Be prepared for a longer hospital stay
You are recovering from surgery, so you might find that the hospital wants to keep you for 2 or 3 days.
Don’t be afraid to breastfeed
Neither the incision itself nor the medications you are taking for pain management should interfere with breastfeeding. If you want to pursue this method, feel free to do so as soon as you are able.
Continue practicing proper self-care after returning home
Just as you spent a bit longer in the hospital than someone with a vaginal birth might, your at-home recovery will take a little longer, too at least 12 weeks.
Monitor your health
Your healthcare providers will help you with this while you are in the hospital, but once you are home, you will need to keep an eye out for potentially dangerous symptoms.
Watch for the signs of postpartum depression
Between hormonal changes, worrying about the baby, and sleeplessness, it is easy to become overwhelmed after childbirth. For many people, these feelings go away quickly, but postpartum depression can strike at any point within a year of giving birth.
Call emergency services if you think about harming yourself or the baby
Seek help immediately if you experience these types of thoughts. Do not worry about feelings of shame or embarrassment. Healthcare professionals want to help you. Do what you need to do to protect yourself and your family.
You may feel overwhelmed by the number of changes in your body after giving birth. Most of these issues will get better naturally over time. Try to enjoy the joys of motherhood and get to know your new baby. Rest assured, you’ll feel like yourself soon enough.