Whether you had a vaginal or a cesarean delivery, it takes time for your body to heal from childbirth. Many women experience perineal soreness and a tear or an episiotomy.
Most of these symptoms are caused by diastasis recti, a gap between abdominal muscles that results from stretching to accommodate the growing baby. Physical therapy can help retrain the muscles.
Get Plenty of Rest
It’s normal to feel fatigued as your body recovers from childbirth and adapts to a new life. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and don’t hesitate to ask friends or family members for help with housework or running errands. It’s also important to eat well and stay hydrated.
Hemorrhoids are common after childbirth, and a warm sitz bath (soaking in a basin that fits over the toilet) can ease pain and soothe irritation in your perineum. You can also use hemorrhoid spray with lidocaine for immediate relief.
Some women experience mood swings or negative feelings after their baby’s birth. Mild symptoms that improve over time are normal, but contact your doctor if they persist or get worse.
Bladder leakage is another common symptom, but it typically improves with time. Your doctor can recommend pelvic floor physical therapy that can restore muscle strength and function, reducing or eliminating your symptoms. Sore nipples and breast milk leakage are also typical, but both should resolve over time.
Eat Healthy Meals
A nutrient-dense diet is essential after a woman has a baby. She needs protein to help conserve muscle, as well as energy. A nutritionist can suggest foods that contain complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to keep her feeling her best.
A good source of protein is a turkey sandwich or chicken breast, which also provides iron. Folate is another important nutrient for new mothers, and it’s found in leafy greens, whole grains, eggs, seafood and nuts. Folate helps transport oxygen in the blood, and new moms’ dietary stores may be depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Other 产后 修复 nutrients that are essential include magnesium, potassium and calcium to reduce swelling, and omega-3 fatty acids from salmon or other oily fish, which help promote brain health. Lastly, try eating plenty of lentils, which are a rich source of iron and can help prevent anemia. If you’re a dairy lover, look for low-fat yogurt or milk, as well as cheese and butter that are low in saturated fats. Also consider adding fermented foods like coconut yogurt, which has loads of probiotics.
Pregnancy and childbirth weaken abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. This causes a variety of postpartum issues, such as back pain, incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction, which can be resolved with physical therapy. In addition, doing Kegel exercises regularly can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and reduce incontinence.
Women who exercised regularly before pregnancy are more easily able to return to their normal workout routine postpartum. However, pregnancy and childbirth are traumatic processes (whether vaginal or Caesarean), which temporarily prevents many women from being able to exercise normally postpartum. Other factors such as hormonal changes, postural and weight changes, and a lack of support networks can also inhibit the ability to exercise.
Women can begin exercising as soon as their doctor recommends, although it’s best to take it slow. Try walking for a while, and gradually increase your distance and pace. Incorporate core strengthening exercises like the plank, but avoid sit ups and crunches, as these can place pressure on the perineal scar.
Even though you’re tired, keeping active is important for boosting energy levels. It’s also a good way to help keep your joints flexible. Taking walks with your baby’s stroller is ideal, or try using the treadmill for a low-impact walk or run.
Avoid straining, which can cause severe hemorrhoids, slow perineal healing, and increase the risk of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis (inflammation of the thumb tendon sheath). Try using witch hazel pads or Hemorrhoid spray with lidocaine to soothe irritation and pain.
Avoid wide squats and overhead weight lifting, because they put too much pressure on the pelvic muscles, which have been stretched out by pregnancy. And high-intensity interval training workouts are often too strenuous for a postpartum woman, and could lead to recurrence of pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence.
Don’t Overdo It
Many new moms experience some discomfort after delivery. For example, if you have vaginal birth, your perineum may be sore, especially if you got an episiotomy (a cut that widens the vagina to help baby come out). It can take up to six weeks for complete healing. Try sitting in a warm tub of water or using witch hazel pads to ease pain and itching. You can also use a hemorrhoid spray with lidocaine, which is effective in treating hemorrhoids and easing perineal pain.
If you had a C-section, your doctor will place steri strips over the incision. These will stay in place until your physician or midwife removes them during your postpartum checkup. Keep your doctor informed if your incision becomes sore or red, has greenish-yellow drainage or bleeds.
Some new mothers feel depressed or anxious after childbirth. Talk to your healthcare provider about these feelings, and seek support from family members or friends. If the feelings persist, contact your OB/GYN right away. Also, tell your doctor if you think you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby.