Congratulations on your beautiful new baby, this is such an exciting time in your life! You get to spend time bonding with your new peanut and also recovering from giving birth, no matter what way you delivered here is a postpartum recovery timeline to help you rock postpartum and get healed fast.
Life is going to be overwhelming after having your baby, it’s hard for the first few months to get into a schedule while dealing with recovery and sleep deprivation. As a mom of two I understand how hard it can be, hang in there momma it does get better over time.
When you give birth your body goes through a lot of trauma and your postpartum body is going to feel sore in places you wouldn’t have thought it would, here are the best tips to keep yourself comfortable and understand the process of healing and how long it really takes. I’m sure you have a lot of questions so I will try to answer all of them in this post!
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Natural Birth Recovery Timeline
After giving birth naturally your lady parts are going to be extremely sore, especially if you tore or had an episiotomy. Your going to want to take it easy for a while and not move around a lot which is going to be hard not to do with a baby, take all the help you can get at the hospital. To start your postpartum healing right now you are going to want your postpartum essentials!
Here is a great article you may want to read that gives you a free checklist so you don’t forget what you need Postpartum Essentials You Need For Recovery
You will most likely be in the hospital for a day or two depending on if you are healing from stitches and are able to get around enough to go home. Make sure to take your stool softener soon after giving birth because you will want it to start working as soon as possible. Trust me the first time is not going to be easy, you may not be able to get your bowels moving right away due to the pushing and placement of organs after birth it will take a few days to recover.
The first time you start breastfeeding you are going to feel your uterus contracting which in turn is going to shrink your belly and uterus back to the regular size a lot quicker then if you were just supplementing with formula. If you choose to supplement with formula it will take your body a little longer to shrink your uterus back to normal size.
The next few days at home are going to be hard, you will be sore and will need to have some Advil and Tylenol on hand, make sure to take it before you feel pain so you are not miserable. Your Frida Momwasher is going to be your best friend for a while when you go to the bathroom (going to the bathroom may make you cry a few times, I’m sorry girlfriend but this is how it is), this is a must to help keep you fresh and clean. Using toilet paper is not going to be a good option for you especially if you have stitches!
This Organic Herbal Sitz bath is going to be a lifesaver for a little bit, simply add this to your bath water and soak in it for twenty minutes. This is a special blend of herbs that promote healing pain relief along with reducing swelling and will help you not feel so yucky for a little while. This works great for healing after labor stitches and can also be used as a compress and cooling pad if you don’t feel like sitting in a bath.
If you are breastfeeding or pumping your nipples are going to get really sore and a good nipple cream like this organic one by motherlove (I love this one and how it’s organic so safer for baby and me) and shield by purifyou (which are non-toxic and BPA and BPS free) are gonna be lifesavers for you. Pumping doesn’t make them as sore as baby sucking on them but after a while, it has a similar effect so a cream would be the best idea.
If you need help with breastfeeding or pumping this article will be super helpful: Breastfeeding Course For New Moms
Emotions After Pregnancy
Your emotional state is going to go up from the excitement of having a new baby and then down after a few days postpartum, this is your hormones trying to adjust after being pregnant for months. You may find yourself crying over the weirdest things or getting overwhelmed at times, this is all normal and there is nothing wrong with you. Your doing a great job momma so don’t be so hard on yourself.
You have to give your body time to heal and not expect it to happen overnight, it took nine months to have a baby and your postpartum period is going to take at least two to three to fully recover! Make sure to start doing your Kegels to help heal your vagina faster and stop you from having incontinence problems later on.
Make sure to ask for help when you need it and have patience with your body, it can take anywhere from three to six weeks to heal after vaginal birth according to whattoexpect.com depending on if you tore or not. A key to having a faster recovery is eating a balanced diet (try to eat about five small meals a day), taking your vitamins and start moving even if it’s walking around the house.
Importance Of Using Belly Wrap
Lastly, a big thing that I didn’t do the first time while recovering is to wear a Postpartum Belly Wrap this is one that I love and totally recommend because it is breathable and helps shrink your stomach, flatten your belly and correct your pelvic muscles. You need to have one of these or one like it to help with recovery, you will be so happy you did. A lot of mom’s don’t know that you can get diastasis recti if you don’t help those muscles heal properly.
For more on postpartum belly wraps read this article: Do Postpartum Belly Bands Work | Do You Need One After Pregnancy
Postpartum Recovery Timeline For C Section
Having a c section can be very traumatic especially if it is your first one and you have no idea what to expect. You are not going to be able to move around like you are used to, regular things like sitting up and standing are going to be painful. The best thing to do is to roll onto your side to get out of bed and don’t stand for long periods of time as it puts to much pressure on your abdominal muscles (remember when they cut you open those muscles are split and weak until they heal back properly.
Take the pain meds they give you and make sure to stay on a schedule or you will hurt so bad. For the first few weeks, these medications are going to be your best friend!
Having a C Section makes your postpartum recovery timeline a little longer then a VBAC or Natural Birth, I think it is one of the hardest ways to have a baby in the long run because of how traumatic it is for you and your body. I’m sorry you have to go through this momma it’s hard I know but remember that there is an end and you will recover so just be patient with yourself and the process.
What To Expect At Hospital
You are going to be in the hospital for at least two to three days so try to take it easy and let the nurses help you as much as possible. If you still have a catheter in they will have to remove it very soon so brace yourself for some soreness and having a tuff time using the bathroom for the first time. Now is the time to take your stool softener to help get your digestive system back on track, the first bowel movement is the worst and you can’t push because of your muscles not being healed (don’t try to push you will cause damage to your abdomen).
The first time for me I sat in the bathroom and cried because I couldn’t pee or poop and had to relearn how to do these things, I know it’s a TMI but I’m not going to sugar coat it for you either. Give yourself time to heal and don’t be hard on yourself when it doesn’t work right away, it will happen with time.
If you have the Frida Momwasher you should use it every time you use the bathroom, leaning down or bending to wipe is going to be painful so you need this to help keep you fresh and clean.
You are going to bleed a lot so those big pads they give you in the hospital are going to be your friend for a while, it takes about three months to stop bleeding completely so it’s going to take some getting used to at this point. The best thing I can suggest is to use your Postpartum Essentials to help speed healing along and make you feel more comfortable at this point.
Your incision is going to itch after a while so it’s best to use this amazing postpartum stitches oil to help with heal you faster, soothe sore skin and refresh. This stuff is awesome!
Wear loose underwear and clothing as well as the awesome period postpartum underwear by Innersy (you will love them) they work great at keeping you from ruining your clothing or sheets due to a leak. You can also use the C Panty for support and healing, I loved wearing these because they were super supportive and didn’t hurt my incision and help promote healing.
Make sure to use your Postpartum Belly Wrap at all times unless you are sleeping, this will help your muscles heal correctly and give you the added support you need. Don’t be like me and not use it all the time and end up with problems months and years later!
You can read about what not to do Postpartum in this article Recovery After C Section
When you go home the first few days are going to be the hardest! Going up steps is going to be off-limits for at least 4 to 6 weeks (it takes a lot of abdominal strength to walk upstairs) and walking around a lot is going to have to be limited for the first few days. If you have to walk take short trips and try not to stand for too long as this puts unneeded stress on your muscles.
However, moving around does aid in healing as well so walking is good for you just don’t overdo it.
Watch out when you cough, laugh or sneeze, these things will pull your muscles in a very unpleasant way so make sure you have a pillow handy to hold on your belly when this happens.
Limit your reaching movements for the first four weeks, what I mean by this is don’t bend down to pick something up or reach above your head for things. You will end up pulling the muscles that are trying to heal and causing problems and much-unneeded pain.
If you want to know more about this subject you may want to read this article on your C Section Recovery Time
Make sure to keep an eye on your postpartum bleeding and if at any time you are having big blood clots and soak through a pad in an hour call your doctor right away. This can happen in the first few weeks and sometimes a month later but just keep an eye on it.
Postpartum bleeding is the worst part of postpartum recovery if you breastfeed or pump it will slow down a bit but if you are supplementing formula be prepared to see a lot of blood, bleeding can last for up to six to eight weeks. It’s one of the awful side effects of being pregnant I’m afraid, so hang in there momma it will stop eventually I promise (I spent a lot of time crying over it in the bathroom so I feel your pain).
If you still need to find a breast pump here is a great article Choosing the Best Breast Pump for Everyday Use to help you narrow down which one is right for your needs.
Remember not to lift anything heavier than your baby, this means no laundry or anything else that is heavy at least for the first six weeks. I know hard this can be, so make sure to get someone to help you out for the first couple of weeks with housework and meals.
The biggest thing you can do right now is eat right and get rest, that means to sleep when your baby is sleeping even if you feel you should do other things. Your body will heal much faster this way and will help with sleep deprivation.
Start doing your kegel exercises to help tone and strengthen your pelvic muscles, this will also help with the healing process and reconnect those muscles correctly. If it starts to hurt at any time doing these then slow it down a little and don’t do as many as often until it feels better.
Around four weeks you should start going for walks, start slow and do longer walks as you feel comfortable. This will help you out immensely in the healing process and give you much needed fresh air along with benefits to help fight postpartum depression according to mayoclinic.org.
Your postpartum stomach is going to take some time to get back in shape so take it slow (after your doctor gives you the go-ahead) and don’t overdo it, if you feel pain try a different exercise or do less until you feel more comfortable according to parents.com.
Conclusion for Postpartum Recovery Timeline
No matter what way you gave birth it is going to be hard for the first month while you try to heal and get used to having a new baby at home, give yourself plenty of time to get into a routine and adjust to the whole process.
If you start to feel overwhelmed at any time please ask someone for help, you don’t have to do this all alone! Have a good friend or your mom come over and help you out so you can rest for a little while.
Sleep deprivation will make everything seem a lot more difficult especially with the hormone unbalance after giving birth, be sure to get rest when you can and try to remember that it’s your hormones going crazy and not you!
When you finally feel up to leaving the house, go do something alone or with a friend that will make you feel like your old self for a little while. It might be going to a movie, dinner or getting a pedicure, make sure to do this at least a few times in your six weeks to help with your own recovery.
At your six week checkup talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, don’t be afraid to say something if you feel depressed or have other issues going on. Your doctor is there for you and can help with any issues you may have!!
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