Postpartum Period: How to Survive It
During pregnancy, we experience several changes related to our body, our mind, our family, and our partner. Learn how to prepare yourself for the postpartum period.
The postpartum period has little to do with fresh sheets, cotton candy, quiet mornings, and the rosy atmosphere you see displayed on social media.
Pain, sleepless nights, doubts, fatigue, emotional volatility, readjusting to new situations and a change in roles will all play a role in the weeks following childbirth. Of course, there will also be happiness, laughter, tenderness, and a lot of love.
While women are often cared for fully during pregnancy, this level of attention needs to be maintained during the postpartum period. There will be a series of changes on physical and psychological levels, as well as in terms of family and partner relationships. It’s important to be prepared for this.
We mustn’t be fooled by the bombardment of images and information we receive via social networks that paint an unrealistic picture of the postpartum period. We must also avoid the risk of wanting to accelerate the process and ignore certain sensations and feelings.
During this period, we must take care of ourselves, respect the recovery process, be attentive to mood changes, pamper ourselves and let ourselves be pampered.
We need support from our partners, our family and our friends, and sometimes from parenting support groups.
How to have a better postpartum period
In this article, we’ll look at some things you can do during the postpartum period to help your recovery after pregnancy and childbirth. These include:
Letting others help
Many of us fall into the trap of trying to be a superwoman. We believe that we can take care of everything and that we can take care of the baby better than anyone else (which may be true, but doesn’t mean that others can’t do a good job). We want to have a clean house, welcome visitors, and look beautiful.
However, caring for a newborn requires our full attention in the early days. Therefore, surround yourself with people to lend you a hand for less essential tasks. These include household chores, meals, and diaper changes. Rest assured that you’ll feel a lot less stressed if you accept help from others.
You’ve no doubt heard the advice, “Try to sleep when the baby does.” This piece of conventional wisdom is very true.
Your body is returning to its pre-pregnancy state. It needs to recover from childbirth, which involves an enormous amount of exertion. It also needs to meet the baby’s needs. If you opt for breastfeeding, only you will be able to feed your child.
In order to do all this, your body needs energy, recovery time, and rest. Don’t use the hours your baby is sleeping to do housework. Just rest, sleep and rest some more. You need to recover the best you can, especially during the first few weeks.
Exercise, but carefully
Much research is being done on the effect of exercise during specific times in women’s lives. These include pregnancy, menopause, and the postpartum period. You don’t need to wait for the confinement period to end in order to start low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking or using an elliptical.
Also recommended: hypopressive exercises that work on specific parts of the body that have undergone the most changes. These include the abdomen and the pelvic floor.
We always recommend getting your pelvic floor examined by a midwife or a specialized physiotherapist. They can recommend the best activities and the best time to start them.
Sex during the postpartum period
Sex can resume whenever you feel ready, taking into account that intercourse won’t be possible at first. You need to wait for the confinement and the bleeding to end.
All kinds of affection and intimacy are appropriate (kisses, caresses, massages, etc.). However, you need to keep in mind that certain things have changed. The woman’s libido is usually very low due to several factors, including hormones, fatigue, the energy expended on the baby’s care, and comfort with her body. All of this impacts the woman’s level of desire, as well as that of her partner.
When we resume penetration, we may notice a greater degree of sensitivity and discomfort in the area. Sometimes, it can even be painful due to contractions, strains on scars, and vaginal dryness (which increases if you breastfeed).
If the pain doesn’t go away, you need to see a pelvic floor specialist (midwife or physiotherapist) to assess the situation and help resolve it.
Remember that breastfeeding isn’t a contraceptive method. If you’re not planning to become pregnant again, use a hormonal contraceptive method (consult a gynecologist or midwife, especially if you breastfeed) or a diaphragm.
Hygiene during the postpartum period
Avoid baths, pools, vaginal douching, using tampons, etc., until at least six weeks after childbirth. During this period, the uterus will still have a wound in the area where the placenta was attached. This area can become infected, leading to endometritis. You can maintain your daily hygiene routine by showering.
With respect to lochia (the vaginal discharge expelled during confinement), we recommend using disposable cotton pads and cotton underwear so that the area can breathe as much as possible.
Eat well and stay hydrated
The postpartum period isn’t the best time to go on a diet. Rather, you need to eat carefully. Don’t restrict your intake or overeat. A balanced diet is ideal.
Hydration is also important, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Listen to your body and drink water whenever you’re thirsty.
In short, every woman experiences pregnancy and the postpartum period differently. There are no magic formulas. Maintaining healthy lifestyle habits is always important, but especially during this time.
If you’re pregnant, try to live healthily without becoming obsessive and adding extra pressure. Things will get easier, so give yourself time and don’t judge yourself too harshly. Good luck!