There are many changes that occur after you give birth. Some changes are physical (like your breasts getting full of milk) and others are emotional (which can be affected by our hormones and tiredness). Postpartum care is important and it’s even more important to make sure you go to all your postpartum checkups.
Perineum soreness is something you may experience after giving birth. To relieve postpartum perineum pain make sure to keep the area clean, apply ice pack to the area for 10 to 20 minutes every few hours after childbirth to minimise pain and swelling. Go for a warm soak, find relief by submerging your lower half in a sitz bath. (If you would rather take your sitz bath with cold water, a small study suggests that cold water may be more healing than warm water, but make sure to discuss this with your caregivers first.)
You can also consider using creams, and donut pillows for additional pain relief options.
You may also expect to experience some belly cramps (or we like to call them ‘after-surges’) as your uterus shrinks back to its regular size after pregnancy. This is normal and we can experience this with more intensity after our 2nd, 3rd etc. birth.
There will be bleeding for weeks after birth as your body expels the blood and tissue that was inside your uterus. Make sure you have lots of maternity pads on hand.
Breast engorgement and nipple pain are also common after giving birth. Lactation consultants can be such wonderful support. Ice or heat packs can be handy through this time. They can be used to encourage milk let-down and help relieve plugged ducts & mastitis or can help relieve the pain and swelling from engorgement. Always use these in consultation with your lactation consultant or caregiver.
Other common postpartum symptoms can include constipation, hemorrhoids, exhaustion, swelling, night sweats, mood swings, skin and hair changes due to hormone changes. Remember to take care of yourself, many discomforts and body changes are normal but sometimes they’re signs or symptoms of a health problem that needs treatment – so keep in touch with your caregivers and know that you always have support on hand.
Giving birth is a very big deal for our bodies and mind. Now that you’ve done the hard work of bringing your baby into the world, you’re in need of some special TLC. Be kind to yourself, ask for help, don’t worry about keeping up appearances to anyone. You are amazing and have done the most important job on earth in bringing your baby earth-side safely! The job doesn’t stop there, because now you are nurturing your baby as you heal and your baby transitions to life outside of the womb. This takes time and a tremendous amount of energy, all the while your body is healing. So my major advice to all mamas for postpartum recovery is to be kind to yourself and always, always accept and ask for help when needed. You are a star!