Important Facts About Childbirth Recovery

11. Physical intercourse It’s usually the dads rather than the moms who want to know when they can have physical activity again. Mothers usually have some… Simi - February 20, 2018
Image via Freepik

11. Physical intercourse

It’s usually the dads rather than the moms who want to know when they can have physical activity again. Mothers usually have some anxiety about having physical activity after giving birth. It’s generally recommended to wait about six weeks. This is because there is increased risk of getting an infection when your uterus is still healing. Bacteria can be introduced during intercourse. It can also take about six weeks for you to recover completely.

Remember down there, you may never be quite the same after birth and it can take a while to feel you are ready for physical activity again. Lack of sleep, possible body image issues and being responsible for a new baby hardly puts you in the mood for activity. Add to this the fact that oxytocin produced while breastfeeding lowers your libido. You don’t have to feel guilty that you don’t feel like having physical activity – it’s a perfectly normal response.

Image via Freepik

You do need to express physical intimacy during this time or you can start to lose that connection with your husband. While you’re not having physical activity, just touching and kissing can help you to feel connected. This period may be the beginning of drifting apart or it may solidify your relationship, depending on how it is handled. If you are dreading having physical activity again, take it slow and remember you won’t feel like this forever.

When you’re ready for physical activity, a sense of humor, a glass of wine and some lubrication will definitely help! You are low on estrogen after delivery and this causes dryness due to the vaginal mucosa being thinner. You may need to figure out different times to have physical activity. Weekend afternoons, while the baby is napping, may be a good time. It can take the pressure off having to have physical activity at night when you’re exhausted. Some women report that physical activity is better after childbirth because they are more comfortable with their bodies and their potential for pleasure increases.

Image via FirstCry Parenting

12. Postpartum diet issues

You may have picked up some weight during your pregnancy and now you want to lose it again. It is important to keep your body well nourished after giving birth, especially if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories every day and if you consume less than 1,500 calories a day, you may become nutritionally deficient. Exhaustion is more likely to set in if your diet is poor and you are just grabbing the nearest sweet snack instead of thinking about what you are eating.

Eating colorful foods and getting plenty of protein and fiber is important if you want your body to heal quickly. Your body has to have that balance of lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates for energy. It helps to prepare some healthy meals and freeze them ahead of time.

Image via Freepik

Switching to healthy snacks such as apples with peanut butter can make a big difference to your energy levels. You won’t have that sugar crash you experience when eating unhealthy, sweet snacks. Too much iron can cause constipation so do not take an iron supplement unless it is recommended by your doctor. You can get iron from plenty of food sources such as meat, lentils, beans, and broccoli.

The internet is full of long lists of foods breastfeeding moms should avoid. You might start feeling as though you literally can’t eat anything without some risk. The best advice is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and not avoid a long list of foods unless an issue arises. Breast milk is made from the mom’s blood and not what passes through her digestive tract. Cow’s milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, egg, and corn may be the exception as some babies are allergic to these foods. You can start eliminating these foods one by one if you suspect they might be causing problems.

Image via Shutterstock

13. Postpartum exercise

You may have stayed fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy and if this is the case, exercising after the birth will be easier. If you were not active during your pregnancy or had a difficult delivery, you probably need to begin gently and listen to your body. You will need to be patient and realistic. If you push yourself too hard in the beginning, you can delay healing.

Exercising has many benefits for you as a new mum because it gives you a boost of energy, lowers your stress levels and can improve your sleep quality. Keeping your body moving daily will also help you to digest your food and prevent constipation. It will also help you to drop any extra weight you may have picked up during pregnancy.

Image via Freepik

The simplest way to exercise is to go for a walk with your baby in a stroller. It is probably better to wait until after your postnatal check at six to eight weeks before doing any other types of exercise (apart from Kegels!). If you start doing heavier exercises and you find that bleeding gets stronger again after having tapered down, it’s a sign that your body needs more time to heal.

Some women are able to begin an exercise routine some days after the birth but most need much longer to recover. You may be worried about your flabby stomach. It had to stretch so much while your baby grew and all you can think about is trying to get it back in shape. Be careful about doing abdominal exercises during those first six weeks. Some of them, like traditional crunches, can cause damage. It’s better to wait until you stop bleeding, your stitches have dissolved and you have no more swelling or inflammation before doing any serious exercise.

Image via Shutterstock

14. The ‘baby blues’ and postnatal depression

It is perfectly normal to feel plenty of emotions in the few days after the birth. Giving birth is a tiring and emotional experience, so it’s not surprising if you feel ecstatic and overwhelmed all at the same time. You may feel physical discomfort, you’re going through hormonal changes, and you’re worried about the demands of caring for your new baby.

You are probably just experiencing the baby blues’. As a new mum, you are highly likely to go through this short-lived period when you feel moody, sad or weepy. Experiencing a traumatic birth, sleep deprivation and difficulty with breastfeeding are just some issues that can add to the state of your emotions. These feelings may last up to two weeks of giving birth.

Image via Shutterstock

If you are feeling ‘blue’, try to go outside and get some natural light. The light tells your brain to produce serotonin, a key player regulating your emotions. All you need to do is to sit outside for a while in the fresh air. You don’t even have to do any exercise although exercise can also lift your mood. Eating a healthy diet can also contribute to your emotional well-being as can getting enough rest and sleep.

If the feelings of anxiety don’t fade and you feel progressively worse instead of better, you could be experiencing postnatal depression. You may experience changes in eating and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating and feelings of hopelessness. You may feel increasingly as though you can’t cope. Some women lose interest in their babies and are unable to care for them. Postpartum depression is serious and you shouldn’t have to handle it alone. You may benefit from psychotherapy, medication, a combination of the two and attending a support group.