Postpartum – 9 tips on how to treat and take care of yourself

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My sister was 24 years old when I gave birth to my first son. After spending the week after birth with me she announced – “I am not giving birth, I am getting a surrogate! “

Birth is an amazing thing. I even have a post about my third one as I think it’s one of nature’s most amazing wonders. Once your baby comes out you are filled with so many emotions and so much love for this amazing creature that you “created” and that just came out of you. However there are many things that come along with birth that I wish someone told me when I had my first child. Your body takes a toll after pregnancy and birth. The more you are aware and ready for post-partum, the better you will know how to take care. This has a major impact on your recovery. Following are 10 post-partum side effects you should be aware of and how to treat/take care of them:

  1. Your body will ache like it has never ached before for about two/three days after birth. This of course depends on how the birth went, but assuming you went through labor (even with epidural) and did some pushing to get the baby out, your body will ache. Take strong pain killers (there are plenty out there you can take while nursing should you decide to breastfeed).
  2. You will bleed (down there). A lot. You will bleed for about two weeks (sometimes more, sometimes less). Make sure to have adequate pads ready.
  3. You may have hemorrhoids. They usually come with natural births. They suck, but there are creams you can use that ease the pain and discomfort. You can also sit on pillows for the first few days (it really helps).
  4. You will have contractions that feel like your period for the first 1-2 weeks. They hurt, but compared to everything else they are not too bad J. The contractions are caused by your uterus slowly shrinking back to it’s normal size. Same pain killers as for number 1 here too.
  5. It takes a long time for your stomach to go down. The week after birth you will still look like you are a few months pregnant. The following weeks your stomach will continue to go down bit by bit – but it will be a while until it goes back to it’s pre pregnancy shape (if at all). Patience.
  6. It takes a while for the Linea Nigra to disappear. It can take up to a year to completely fade. Again, patience.
  7. If you choose to nurse – you nipples will hurt a ton. They will be very sore, they may bleed, but try to stick it through. It’s worth it! There are some great nipple creams that sooth and help the nipples heal. I would go for the more natural ones. You should put some on after each feeding.
  8. If you take the epidural shot you may have some pain in your lower back the first 1-2 days. Still worth to get the shot if you ask me J!
  9. You will be tired. Very very tired. You know those people who tell you to sleep every time the baby sleeps? Listen to them.

Please remember – there will be days you may be a little sad. You may even cry. It’s ok!! There are ups and downs the first few weeks. Most important is to get the help you need with the baby (and yourself) – whether from your spouse, parents, and friends – take all the help you can get. Important to have “me” time as well.

 

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