06 Oct Postpartum Health Tips for New Moms
The postpartum period can be challenging for new moms. Between the shifts in hormone levels, vaginal bleeding, and the newness of caring for your newborn, it can be overwhelming. Don’t neglect your own health and wellbeing. It’s so important that you prioritize your health as a new mom. Here are 6 postpartum health tips that will get your new journey off on the right foot.
1. Schedule Your Postpartum Checkup
One of your first priorities after giving birth is to schedule your postpartum health checkups with your OB/GYN or other obstetric care provider. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that new moms schedule an initial health assessment within the first 3 weeks of delivery. They also recommend a more comprehensive postpartum followup within the first 12 weeks to assess physical, social, and psychological well-being. During this detailed assessment, you can address any medical concerns that you may be experiencing regarding your own health, sexuality, diet, exercise, emotional well-being, infant care and/or feeding.
It’s important to go into the comprehensive postpartum checkup prepared. For new moms, it’s helpful to take a postpartum assessment prior to that appointment in order to identify what issues to address and what questions to ask their healthcare provider. Don’t wait for your postpartum visit to talk to your provider about any concerns you may have. Here is a list of postpartum symptoms to be sure you pay attention to.
- Lochia (postpartum bleeding)
- Vaginal Discharge
- Perineal Pain
- Pain Management
- Epidural Pain
- Skin Changes
- Hair Loss
- Postpartum Fatigue
- Breast Pain
2. Create Your Postpartum Health Plan
Your journey as a new mom should start with building a postpartum health plan. By doing so, you will be able to plan out your postpartum diet and recovery goals.. Start with setting specific, measurable, realistic and attainable goals. Once you have those goals set, you can create an action plan to achieve them.
3. Stick To A Healthy Postpartum Diet
During the postpartum period, a well balanced diet is important for hormone regulation, energy levels, milk production, and more. Stick to nutrient dense foods with plenty of healthy fats and lean proteins. If you are breastfeeding, you’ll want to add 350-400 calories to your diet daily to support milk production.
4. Hydrate Yourself!
Staying hydrated is critical for new moms during the postpartum period for many reasons. First, it flushes toxins out of your system which will help speed up your body’s recovery process. It is also essential for proper vitamin and mineral absorption for your body, which is often depleted after delivery. For breastfeeding women, water is essential to milk production, and dehydration is a common problem in nursing mothers. Water can also help alleviate indigestion, nausea and constipation, which are common during the postpartum period. Be sure to drink 8-12 glasses of water daily during the postpartum period.
5. Be Real
You may be eager to bounce back to your old self again, but try not to rush the process. Start with realistic goals and adjust them as you go along. Don’t expect to return to your pre-birth weight in 6 weeks. It usually takes 6 months to a year for most women to do so. Set your goals accordingly. Rushing things can do more harm than good in the long run. Consult with your doctor on when is a good time to begin light exercise.
6. Get Some Rest!
I know what you’re thinking, who has time to rest with a newborn? We get it, but hear us out. When you’re well rested, you will feel better when you’re awake. During sleep your body repairs itself, produces hormones (which are at very low levels after childbirth), and serotonin which is vital for mood regulation.
Simply put, staying well rested is important for your mental and physical health. If sleeping through the night is off the table, try to get some naps in with your baby during the daytime. Now is also a good time to turn to your support network to see if you can get someone to watch your baby so you can nap.
Your journey to a successful postpartum recovery should always start with your own health. Be sure to enlist the support group you have around you to help you manage your time. Your health as a new mom is a priority.. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. May 2018. Presidential Task Force on Redefining the Postpartum Visit. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2018/05/optimizing-postpartum-care