How To Support Your Body’s Healing Postpartum

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Picture this: you’ve just had a baby. It might be your first. It might be your fifth. Either way, you’re now in the postpartum period and you’re looking for the best ways to help your body heal from the past nine months. If you’re visiting this page because that’s your current situation, then you’re in luck. 

There are a few ways to help your body out as you recover, both mentally and physically, from giving birth and from the months that came before it. Postpartum healing tactics look a lot like the typical recommendations for a healthy lifestyle: eat your nutrients, get your rest, drink your water. But there’s a lot more to it than that. From why comfortable clothing like maternity leggings are crucial during this period to just how far those eight hours of sleep might get you in your healing, here are a few tips and tricks that will help support your body as it recovers from the beautiful process of giving birth. 

Postpartum Period: What You Need to Know

Let’s begin by defining postpartum. Postpartum refers to the time after a person gives birth, but people commonly use the term postpartum to describe any time between the immediate hours following childbirth up to eight months later. It’s an extremely critical period for both mother and baby, as both physical and mental health issues are common during this time, the worst of which may result in death for either the mother or the baby. 

It’s important to consider what’s going on in the body postpartum; the body has seen major change for the past nine to ten months before entering an entirely new phase following childbirth. Among the physical changes that come with the postpartum period are breast engorgement, vaginal discharge (as a result of the tissue leaving your uterus), and swelling, to name a few. Postpartum also typically signifies the beginning of lactation, a very demanding process for the body that requires a new mother to diligently keep up with her health and nutrition. And of course, the postpartum period brings about major shifts in hormones, which may trigger depression or other mental health changes. In general, the postpartum period is a new stage in life that can be intimidating and overwhelming to a mother, whether it’s your first time giving birth or your fourth. 

Supporting Your Body Postpartum

Your body and mind can use all the help they can get during this time, and there are a few things you can do to get ahead. 

⦁ Get Comfortable Maternity Clothes

A shopping spree might not be what you think of when you consider ways to help your body heal postpartum, but having the right maternity clothes is actually extremely important. There are a few ways to approach the postpartum wardrobe; “look good, feel good” always applies, of course, and finding maternity clothes that you feel confident in is more important than you’d think for your mental health, especially as you adjust to your new postpartum body. A pair of maternity leggings, for example, will be a comfortable staple both during and after pregnancy, as the stretchy material allows them to change size and shape right along with your body. But there’s more to postpartum clothes than just looking good. Having clothes that are made with new mothers in mind is crucial, as clothes that are too tight could actually have a negative effect on your health, especially when it comes to nursing. Dresses, onesies, and nursing shirts and bras are crucial here, along with a staple pair of maternity leggings for comfort and convenience. And if you’ve had a C-section, those maternity leggings will come in even more handy, as they can be pulled up to cover your entire stomach, providing just the right level of compression for your healing muscles.

⦁ Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Sleep 

Many postpartum health tips sound a lot like the general health rules we’re always trying to follow, and this one’s no different: get your rest. Getting at least eight hours of sleep as a new mom isn’t always an easy task, but it’s critical to your health and recovery. In the weeks after childbirth, you may experience more fatigue and tiredness than usual; considering the changes your body has been experiencing, this shouldn’t be a huge surprise. But as they always say, sleep when your baby sleeps. If you want to battle that fatigue, you’ll have to prioritize getting enough rest. 

⦁ Nutrition is Key

Getting the right nutrients is crucial for your body’s postpartum healing. Of course, eating healthy is always recommended, but it has some added importance after giving birth for both your mental and physical health. Certain foods help support healthy levels of inflammation, and research (both old and new) suggests a link between inflammation and poor postpartum mental health. It’s also critical to keep up with your nutrient intake, as nutrient depletion is common for postpartum women; proper levels of certain vitamins, iron, folate, zinc, and other nutrients can help support your mental health as many women fight to avoid postpartum depression. 

⦁ Go to All Your Check Ups

Going to the doctor can obviously be a chore, and pregnancy requires a lot of trips, but just because you’ve had your baby doesn’t mean you’re done with your doctor. Even if you feel completely fine, it’s extremely important to go to all your check ups. You never know what’s going on inside your body as it adjusts and heals, and a doctor may be able to pick up on health threats that you wouldn’t immediately recognize yourself. They also will give you tips much like the ones in this list, and help hold you accountable to ensure you’re supporting your body as much as possible while you recover. So, once again, go to the doctor even if you feel like you’re in flawless postpartum health. It’s better to go to the doctor and have them confirm your good health than to skip it and miss recognition of a health threat you didn’t know exists.

Conclusion

As we said above, a lot of postpartum health tips look similar to the health rules many of us already follow (with the exception of wearing maternity leggings and nursing bras, of course). But in our everyday lives, following those rules has a different meaning. Health risks are high during the postpartum period, so those eight hours of sleep mean a lot more than they do when you’re 22 and childless. It’s not just about exhaustion, and eating well isn’t just about getting enough protein for a workout. Supporting your body’s postpartum recovery is a serious matter of mental and physical health, so if you’re looking for some tips, start with this list. And, one more time, go to your check ups, so your doctor can tell you these tips, too. 

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