Postpartum: the first months

Postpartum is a stage that is often forgotten, as relegated to a second row. We do not consider what will happen to us once we have given birth, we do not ask too many questions. During pregnancy we are basically focused on the here and now, and the most we project forward is towards the day of birth. But girls, postpartum exists, postpartum costs and it’s a pretty stage, yes, but sometimes you can be much less idyllic than we had imagined. In this post I will try to summarize a bit of what this postpartum is about, with physical and emotional changes and my advice both professionally and personally for my experience as a mother.

For this, we will consider two clearly differentiated stages in this postpartum, on the one hand the quarantine or first month postpartum and on the other hand the following months until the sixth month postpartum.

FIRST MONTH POSTPARTUM OR QUARANTINE

Thus, we begin with the first postpartum month, a time of many changes and mixed emotions:

  • Emotional changes: It is usual that during the first two or three days you have uncontrolled “attacks” of tears and without knowing how to explain very well why. It is what is known as “baby-blues”. It is a passenger and you should not give much importance as long as it does not last much longer than a week. Tricks to try to minimize it? Sleep, sleep and rest. It is very important that the first days at home visits are of maximum confidence and allow you, if you have spent bad night (something more than likely), sleep during the day. Think that for many times that baby has been awakened at night at some time of the day will sleep, then it is also your time to rest! Another thing that worked for me was great to go out for a walk without the baby, for one hour or so, the day after arriving home.
  • Changes in your body: You will notice strange in your body, a bulging and soft belly, discomfort in the area of episiotomy  (the cut they make is made in the perineum during delivery when the tissues are not stretched enough to avoid a tear) or in the scar of caesarean section, pain in the chest … Advice: do not despair, little by little everything will be put in its place. The pain of the stitches lasts at most a week, then it will be time to take care of your scar to recover the elasticity of the area and avoid future pelvic floor problems. For the breast, to which you and your baby are compenetr√©is the issue of cracks and discomfort will disappear. If you can not always go to lactation consultants. And for the subject of the belly: I am not very supportive of postpartum strips, especially when you are at home quiet with the baby. If you are going out for a long walk, it can help you feel a little more collected, this will appeal to you. I did not use it after either of the two deliveries. Wear the belt all the time, does not allow the muscles of the abdomen to begin to tone. The important thing is not obsessed, after a month the belly will be almost in place, although it is true that much less toned than before giving birth. Put on a good firming cream twice a day. And you think that to be great as if you had not given birth is almost a year away, and you have to do your part: physical exercise,hypopressive abdominals , healthy diet …
postpartum selfie
Erica’s viral selfie in which she shows the beautiful but not idyllic postpartum image
  • Losses: It is normal to have losses in quantity similar to a rule during the first month. And it is also very normal that these losses are intermittent, so always take compresses in your bag and patience and tranquility. They are not usually accompanied by pain type rule, so they “tolerate” well.
  • It is not convenient that in this first postpartum month you use tampons, you should not bathe (neither in the sea, nor in the pool or in the bathtub) nor maintain relationships.
  • Take care of your pelvic floor. Although I do not recommend to start with exercises or physiotherapy until the quarantine has passed, during this first month you can acquire good habits that your pelvic floor will appreciate : do not load weights or make important physical effort, do not practice sports (yes, I say that Do not do sport! It is only during this first month, to give your body time to “reposition”), remember to pee every 3 hours and avoid constipation as much as possible. When you have the visit of the quarantine with your gynecologist it will be time to make an assessment of how your pelvic floor is and what exercises you should do.
  • Food: You must maintain a healthy and balanced diet, but it is not the time to make a hypocaloric diet if you want to lose some weight. In the first month postpartum it is usual to have a little anemia, so it is good for you to eat well. And if you are breastfeeding, it is recommended that you drink a lot of water and take a polyvitaminic with calcium.
  • Finally, it is very important that if during the first weeks postpartum you have a fever consult with your gynecologist to be able to rule out any cause linked with childbirth or breastfeeding.

MONTHS FOLLOWING QUARANTINE (MATERNAL LEAVE)

And we continue with the months that follow the quarantine, those months of maternity leave in which little by little you are integrating the baby into your daily routine:

  • Rest: The thing about not sleeping followed by the nights you’re going to get it, every time you tolerate it better and you know your baby a lot better. Little by little you will see how you are ordering your dream, it is normal that a few months take a nap in the morning, one before eating, one after lunch and one before the bath. Then, successively, they will eliminate some of these small naps and the most normal thing is that they stay with a nap in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  • Rehabilitation of the pelvic floor: It’s time to focus on the pelvic floor, trying to do physiotherapy and hypopressive abs. By now you will have begun to notice if the pelvic floor is as before or not, if you have some small loss of urine, feeling of weight in the vagina, hemorrhoids or discomfort in sexual intercourse. You are low maternal, physically you feel much better and have much more free time than when you go back to work. So now is the time, I consider it absolutely essential to do recovery of the pelvic floor. My advice? First, get yourself a physiotherapy center with specialists in pelvic floor recovery. Be realistic, you have to stay at a comfortable distance, because the goal is to go to a minimum of 5 or 6 sessions. Then,
  • And how do we continue at home with what we learned in the physio? With a little will, a little bit of discipline and a lot of outside help. Today there are fantastic apps, such as B-Wom, which based on your initial state offer you a whole series of pelvic floor exercises that you can perform quietly at home. It is super practical because it proposes sessions of 10 minutes, with exercises in audio, and is really focused on working well on the pelvic floor. After my deliveries there was no such app, so I had to choose to do the abdominals only at home, and then I discovered a great ally, which I still use now and then: pelvic one! It is a silicone sphere that is placed in the vagina and the goal is to hold it without falling. We do it reflexively, and it’s a very good way to strengthen the pelvic floor almost without realizing it. The ideal? Use a couple of hours a day from 2 or 3 months after delivery until the baby is 6-8 months and then plan maintenance once or twice a week for as long as you want. My little daughter is now 4 years old and I use it approximately once a week! If you have symptoms such as loss of urine, pain in sexual intercourse or feeling of weight in the vagina, it is advisable to consult a specialist before using them.Pelvic floor toning spheres , since the causes are not always lack of tone.
hypopressed sitting
  • The belly : Another of the great hits of these months: the belly! Yes, it’s still soft and weird, we see each other in the mirror and we do not like each other, we see little toned, with different breasts and a belly there that does not go away. My advice? Patience, patience and tranquility. Sport, healthy diet, hypopressive abdominals and physiotherapy. In this Bwom can also be your ally, with hypopressive abs. The good thing about this type of exercise is that in addition to toning the abdomen, it also tones the pelvic floor and helps “reposition” the pelvic organs in place, making it a perfect postpartum recovery method. You have to be constant and realistic, until 6-9 months after delivery you do not become “worthy” again, and it is a year after having given birth when you will be practically the same as before. From personal experience, the treatments of esthetic centers to reaffirm, cryolipolysis, etc … serve rather little. Or we do it a little grassroots or nothing at all, miracles do not exist!
  • And sports, what about him? Well, once the quarantine is over you can return to take up the time little by little to do sport. I recommend an aerobic sport that does not have an important impact on the pelvic floor, so the ideal is the bike, swimming, walking and the elliptical machine. Six months after childbirth (or one year), once you have recovered your physical form enough, you can start running, aerobics, steps, tennis or whatever you want. But seriously, wait for those first six months, your pelvic floor will thank you so much!
  • Dedicate time for yourself: Finally, one last recommendation, which just seems a bit frivolous but for me it is not: do not forget yourself during these months! It is true that the baby monopolizes practically all our time, but really, it is basic that you find time for other things like:
    • Waxing, hair, manicure, etc … .. feeling pretty on the outside helps lift the mood and fatigue to anyone, and during the postpartum months the fatigue is there, I assure you!
    • Your partner: you have to find time alone, look for moments like those before the baby. It is good at times to disconnect a bit from motherhood and make plans again “boyfriends”
    • Some hobby: seriously, the baby sleeps naps or at times will be his father who will be aware of him. Take advantage of those moments to do something that you really like, something totally yours, that fills you up. I got into knitting with my second daughter, hahaha, and we set up snacks with friends and babies and all there talking about our things with the babies napping.
    • Ask how you want to face your career from now on, start thinking if the schedule suits you, if you want a reduction, a leave, if on the other hand you want to return to the rhythm of before, if you want to start on your own. The maternity leave is a bit of a turning point, take advantage!

In short, so far this very extensive post about the postpartum. I hope you found it interesting! Any questions, I’m happy to help you solve it.