How to Have a Fast & Easy Post-Birth Recoveryby Jasmine Gurney
Birth can be a traumatic experience for the body, regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section. It will take some time for your body to recover and go back to how it was before you fell pregnant. Typically, vaginal births have a relatively fast recovery time, with most new mothers going home the very next day, whereas cesareans can take much longer due to the invasive surgery that is performed to help deliver your baby.
Keep in mind, that every new mum is different, everyone’s body is different and heals at different rates. After a C-Section, you can expect to spend 3-4 days in the hospital before you are discharged to go home and a further 6 weeks or so of rest as your incision heals, or for your perineum to heal if you suffered from a tear during vaginal delivery. Sore nipples and backache will, I’m sorry to tell you, continue for some weeks, particularly if you’re breastfeeding. After you give birth, postpartum bleeding (lochia) can last up to 6 weeks. This is basically a horrendously heavy period made up of leftover blood, uterus tissue and mucus - grim. Bleeding is heaviest for the first 3-10 days going from a red to pink to brown to yellowish-white.
To ensure you have an easy and fast post-birth recovery, we’ve put together some helpful tips and hints on how to maximise your healing and speed up recovery.
Help your perineum heal
This may sound weird considering the perineum’s location, but try and ice it every couple of hours for the first 24 hours post-birth. Spray warm water over the area both before and after urinating to prevent the irritation of your torn skin. Take a warm sitz bath a few times a day to ease pain and avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time to avoid putting too much pressure on your foof (real technical term there!) Make sure you sleep on your side too, it’ll help!
Care for your C-Section scar
Clean your incision gently with soap and water at least once per day and dry with a clean towel and apply your prescribed antibiotic ointment. Avoid carrying anything heavy (except your baby of course!) and hold off exercise and sex for a bit until you get the OK from your doctor.
Ease your aches and pains
Treat your aches with hot showers and hot water bottles, or even head out for a glorious post pregnancy massage, after all, you deserve it!
Beat the Bloat
Constipation is common after pregnancy, especially when it comes to your first postpartum bowel movement. Eat lots of foods that are high in fibre like fruit and vegetables, go for long walks and use a stool softener like Senokot to help you stay regular. Avoid pushing too hard as this will put pressure on your perineal tear/ C-Section scar if you have them.
Look after your Bazoomas
For swollen, achy breasts, use a warm compress or ice packs and gently massage them. Wear a comfortable but supportive nursing bra and air out your breasts after every nursing session and apply lanolin nipple cream to prevent or help treat cracked nips.