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After-Delivery Guide: What Can You Do to Hasten Healing?

After-Delivery Guide: What Can You Do to Hasten Healing?

Childbirth is the most challenging, exhausting, physically draining time of a woman’s life. After delivery, your body has to heal, you have to feed a baby at least 7-8 times a day, and deal with massive hormonal changes, all at once. This is an extremely fragile phase, and hence, requires prompt attention. And to handle with care, you must know ways to care for a new mother. So, here’s an after-delivery guide to take care of a new mother.

An after-delivery guide for everyone

The following points can help you take care of a new mother.

Rest after-delivery

The first and foremost point in this after-delivery guide is rest. As you have gone through labour and your body has changed in the past nine months, this is the time your body is healing. The first six weeks after your delivery are extremely crucial for you and your baby.

Rest is repairing time and this can be halted as the baby will wake you up every two to three hours. Try and get as much sleep as you can or you will be extremely fatigued and tired. This distress on your body will also start affecting other aspects of your life, the most essential and new one being your baby. Give your body time to relax and heal itself naturally. The more stressed you are during this phase, the less effective your healing process will be.

One trick to avail that can ensure maximum rest time is that your baby sleeps near you. This way when the baby sleeps, you sleep too. Opting for slow-paced walks can also freshen you up and aid the process.

Nutrition after-delivery

After-delivery, your body has used all its nutrition to manage itself through labour and feeding. An after-delivery guide suggests to eat nutritious food and avoid processed foods with saturated fats, sugar, and excessive salt. Make sure your food is protein, iron, calcium, and fibre rich. As your baby eats what you consume, you need to be extra careful about what goes into your body.

Sticking to the food pyramid will help during this time. Especially because now your body has entered the recovery phase, which needs to be permanent in nature, nutritionally. This is not exactly the time to count your calories, but studies suggest that anywhere between 1800-2200 kcal should be enough. Even though most nutritionists and gynecologists have varied opinions on alcohol and caffeine intake, it is best to opt for the minimum amount as it can harm the baby.

Understanding your body

Please remember that this is not your permanent body. Your weight, how your stomach looks, patchy skin, stretch marks are all temporary and every woman goes through this phase. This is also a revitalization phase of the body. Your breasts may enlarge more than normal, but that will go with regular feeding. If the problem still persists, speak to your doctor.

Do not fret your vaginal discharge, this is just how your body reacts post-childbirth. This discharge can last up to two to four weeks. Vaginal discharge is your body’s way of clearing your uterus, which is filled with blood and tissue after delivery. You may experience blood clots, which can begin with heavy bleeding but this reduces with time. If this vaginal discharge smells bad, let your physician know. It is recommended to not use any product such as tampons in the vaginal area till the discharge subsides, to avoid infection.

Cramps are normal after delivery as well. As your uterus is shrinking back to its normal size, this can cause some discomfort. It is essential to remind yourself time and again that your reproductive system has gone through a 360-degree change, which needs time to recover. Breathe and let your body heal, naturally. This after-delivery care that you will give yourself will help your body heal and empower you in the long haul.

Seeking help

The biggest issue in Filipino households is the need to do everything on your own. This is not the time, so ask for help.

Right now, your baby needs all your attention and if you entertain unimportant affairs, the only person who’s left stressed is you. Let those around you be a part of this journey and follow the after-delivery guide. It will take 15-21 days for you to form a routine with your baby and spouse, and this is only possible if you invest time in understanding how this new person in your life functions. Doing laundry, house cleaning, or talking to visiting guests takes away from this precious time.

Exercise after-delivery

Post-pregnancy weight is a major issue for every woman. After delivery, you need to give your body at least six weeks before you jump back to exercise. The only exercise you should be doing in these first six weeks is Kegels to strengthen your pelvic region.

Once the initial phase is over, gradually increase your activity time and intensity of exercise. You can then also try different workout routines. Start by going for a walk or do post-natal yoga. Once your body gets used to vigorous movement again, you can opt for other workouts like dance, aerobics, swimming, or running. Ask your gynecologist before venturing into the exercise zone. According to the after-delivery guide, if you are willing to get into shape like old times, regular exercise or yoga or both is essential.

Change in family dynamics

A new tiny entrant in the house can cause changes in how everyone behaves, eats, and sleeps. This is an emotionally delicate time for you and your spouse, and you need to acknowledge that before anyone else. Dividing responsibilities can be the starting point of this new arrangement. If at any point you feel stressed, tired, fatigued, exhausted, burnt out, talk to your family members or those helping you. This can alleviate external factors that may be mentally stressing you out. This is an important point to consider in this after-delivery guide.

Overcoming postpartum depression

Studies suggest that 70 to 80% of women suffer from postpartum depression in the first few weeks. This can often result in irritation, random mood swings, negativity around the baby, insomnia, and sadness. However, not every woman experiencing these symptoms is suffering from postpartum depression. As the hormonal changes in the body are acting up in the first two weeks, and rather vigorously, these will mostly subside after the first 15 days. However, if this persists, then consult your doctor.

Perineal care

The area between your rectum and vagina stretches during delivery, which may cause a tear. Because of this, the area may feel swollen or bruised. If you have stitches, it will feel more uncomfortable. Some tips to aid this process of perineum healing are ice pack application, kegel exercises, allowing air to enter by not wearing pads for some time during the day, and cleaning this area regularly. If the pain is unbearable, then ask your physician for home remedies that can help.

Hope this after-delivery guide helps you take care of the new mom in a way that she feels special and loved.

Learn more about Postpartum Self Care here.

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The New Mother: Taking Care of Yourself After Birth/https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=the-new-mother—taking-care-of-yourself-after-birth-90-P02693/Accessed on 11/04/2020

CHILDBIRTH: LABOUR, DELIVERY AND IMMEDIATE POSTPARTUM CARE/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK326674/Accessed on 11/04/2020

Postpartum care: What to expect after a vaginal birth/https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/postpartum-care/art-20047233/Accessed on 11/04/2020

Your Body After Baby, The First 6 Weeks, https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/your-body-after-baby-the-first-6-weeks.aspx, /Accessed on 11/04/2020

Recovering From Delivery, https://familydoctor.org/recovering-from-delivery/, Accessed on 11/04/2020

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Jun 29, 2021
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel