You have just been through one of the most defining and life changing moments of your life! You have just given birth to a new life and claimed motherhood. Needless to say, with much love and pain!
As you take charge of this new responsibility, it is important to not forget your own care. Now that you have had your baby and the initial excitement and euphoria is wearing off it's time to consider your own care and recovery. While it is still very much about the baby, your health is important too. Especially if you have had a normal delivery (vaginal birth)!
Your pregnancy has lasted nine months and your body has endured many changes in this time. These changes take a while to revert to their original state. It takes your body about 18 months to recover from pregnancy and child birth!
- You will notice that your abdomen still looks about 7 months pregnant and also appears very loose and flabby. This is absolutely normal. Your uterus will start shrinking post birth and it takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the uterus to revert to its original shape, size and position in the pelvic cavity.
- You can wear an abdomen support belt especially if you are in an upright position and moving around. This will support the abdomen muscles and speed up recovery.
- Post-partum bleeding or lochia flow starts immediately post delivery of the placenta. It is heavy and bright red in the first few days and then slows down. Post day ten, it is marginal spotting. This is the uterine lining being shed and also the healing of the placental site. Avoid inserting anything into the vagina during this period as this can cause infections.
- If you have vaginal stitches then wear loose cotton undergarments, cotton maternity pads and make sure that you wash and clean your vagina with warm water at every bathroom visit. Also apply an anti-infective ointment as prescribed by your doctor.
- You may want to avoid too much of brisk walking, stair climbing and crossing and spreading of legs till the stitches have healed.
- You can start neck, shoulder, arm, leg and ankle stretches which are gentle exercises and flexes to help improve circulation. Also start doing your kegels as this will help your vaginal muscles, regain their tone.
- Eat a balanced diet which includes all the food groups. Do not avoid any particular food or over indulge in any food. Practice moderation in your food choices.
- Drink plenty of fluids as this will ensure that your body is well hydrated. It will also help in adequate production of breast milk.
- Listen to your body and rest as and when needed. It will be difficult to have a routine or a schedule with a newborn and you will be following the baby’s schedule at least for the first few weeks.
Your doctor will call you for a check up on day 15 and day 40 post birth. Make sure you meet these appointments, as the doctor will ensure that the stitches are healing well and the uterus is shrinking correctly.
Good news is, moms who have a vaginal birth are generally fit and able to resume normal lifestyle post forty days of birth.