Welcoming a new baby into your world is a time of immense joy, transformation, and adjustment, and not every step of the journey is beautiful. Postpartum pain is real; it can be intense, and a new mother’s recovery is just as important as her new baby’s care.
If you struggle with postpartum pain or feel unsure about managing your postpartum recovery, this post provides essential tips to guide you through this critical healing phase. So you can avoid making postpartum pain worse, let’s look at five common mistakes.
What Is Postpartum?
Postpartum is the period immediately following delivery. The term “postpartum” describes the mother, while “postnatal” describes the baby. How long does postpartum last? Although the postpartum period is often called the “fourth trimester,” yours may be shorter or quite a bit longer. Every woman’s experience is unique. Some new mothers may complete a full recovery in six to eight weeks, while others may battle physical symptoms for six months. Let’s explore some common mistakes that can extend postpartum struggles.
1. Ignoring the Pain
Too often, new mothers are left without a detailed plan for postpartum recovery, which can make them feel like it must not be needed. Some may fear that any complaints of pain, burning, fatigue, or depression just make them look weak. Out of a desire to be strong for their baby, to look good to their husband, and under the pressure of social media, many postpartum women ignore their pain and pretend everything is okay. But ignoring pain can be terribly damaging, as some symptoms are signs of infection, tearing, hormone imbalances, mastitis, spinal fluid leakage, or other issues that require medical intervention to fully resolve. Proper postpartum care can shorten your recovery, strengthen your body, and support your mental health.
Don’t disregard your pain to care for your baby. You deserve to fully heal so you and your baby can thrive together.
2. Not Getting Enough Recovery Time
Another common mistake after delivery is not taking enough time for postpartum recovery. Your body has undergone extraordinary changes, and it requires time and rest to fully heal. Having a new baby in the home can also be mentally and physically stressful as you adapt to sleep deprivation and the demands of caring for a newborn. With mounting stress, your cortisol levels rise, further disrupting your sleep, increasing your blood pressure, and even delaying your healing. Your body is telling you to slow down and return to your pre-pregnancy routine more gradually.
Trying to do it all too soon only works against you. Take the time your body needs.
3. Taking On Too Many Responsibilities
How can you “take it easy” with a newborn at home? The baby needs care, you may have other children who need you, there’s housework to do, you need to exercise to get back into shape, and you may want to get back to work. No wonder so many postpartum women find themselves overwhelmed. This overload can hinder your healing and increase your stress, which only prolongs your physical discomfort, adds to your emotional strain, and impairs your sleep. If you resume bleeding, it’s a clear sign you are doing too much too soon.
The best way for a newborn’s father to learn to care for his child is by doing it, so ask for and accept help, even when it’s imperfect. It’s crucial to delegate childcare tasks and responsibilities so you can prioritize your recovery. Seeking support from family and friends allows your body and mind the time they need to fully heal, and accepting help strengthens our bonds with others.
4. Doing the Wrong Types of Exercises Too Soon
Exercise is necessary for your postpartum recovery, but jumping back into rigorous exercise too soon is a common mistake. Your body, especially your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, have been greatly stretched and stressed. They need time to heal from childbirth. Resuming strenuous activity or hardcore ab exercises too soon can exacerbate issues like diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction. Instead, begin by walking, first on level surfaces, then building up to hills. Spinning or swimming are also good choices. Do your pelvic floor exercises, work on your posture, and focus on deep breathing exercises — they work your core.
Taking a few more months to get back into your favorite pair of jeans won’t hurt you, but rushing the process might. Postpartum is the time to rest and repair your body.
5. Not Taking Care of Pelvic Floor Health
Many new mothers underestimate the critical importance of pelvic floor health in their postpartum recovery. The pelvic floor muscles, having been stretched and stressed during pregnancy and delivery, require specific attention to regain strength and function. Failure to prioritize your pelvic floor health can result in incontinence, painful intercourse, leakage of urine or feces, pelvic and lower back pain, and difficult bowel movements. Sadly, many women don’t seek medical attention due to embarrassment, the mistaken belief that it’s all normal, or mistaking the pain for muscle fatigue.
For the first six weeks postpartum, focus on your pelvic floor exercises. Whether lying down, sitting, or standing, contract and lift your pelvic floor muscles, holding the position for up to 10 seconds, then slowly release them. Continue breathing normally during this exercise, and do not pull in your stomach during contractions. Build up to 10 repetitions at least three times daily. A good time to do your pelvic floor exercises is when you’re feeding your baby.
Prioritize your pelvic floor health postpartum and for the rest of your life. One of the greatest gifts you can give your new baby is a healthy, happy mom.
The Importance of Managing Postpartum Pain
Your postpartum recovery and managing postpartum pain are essential for ensuring a strong and healthy start for you and your newborn. By understanding and avoiding the common postpartum mistakes outlined here, you can improve your health and home life. Remember that everyone who needs you needs you to be healthy and whole.
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Kayla is the content creator over at motviationformom.com. She is a wife and mother who loves to share all of the tips, tricks, and life lessons that she has learned over the years with all of her readers. Her primary focus is on children’s education, motherhood, and healthy family relationships!