Postpartum is a whirlwind time in life. You are sleep deprived. You have another human you are responsible for now. You are constantly holding this new baby who needs you. Your body is sore from birth. Your hormones are going crazy. And our Western culture still asks the mother or birthing parent to be a good host, have a clean home, entertain guests and to immediately get back to her pre-baby body.
What? Exactly. Unreal expectations. Here is my top 5 recommendations for postpartum, which include none of the above, except taking care of yourself and your baby.
Ask for help
Find your mama tribe
Get your pelvic floor and abdominals assessed
Bonus: Hire a postpartum doula if you don’t have family nearby
Again, our Western, modern environment asks a lot of us. On tv, the internet and social media we see celebrities running marathons weeks after giving birth. This is not reality. This is not recommended. Also, these moms probably have tons of help raising their children they just birthed. Even with all the help in the world your body just went through some major changes. You grew a human! And now that child is living outside your body. You need time to rest and recover.
If you read my previous post on “Top 5 Pregnancy Tips” the theme is the same. Get some help, surround yourself with others who can help (mama tribe, doula, family), but now rest is also important. If your friends and family don’t understand why they can’t come to see the baby right now or today, it’s ok. Set boundaries. Ask them to bring you some food. Many people are willing to help postpartum, but they don’t know what to do.
Also, after baby comes, the baby will have tons of doctor check-ups; but what about the birthing parent? The one who’s body just went through major changes? In the United States they get one brief doctor visit at 6 weeks and that is usually it. In France and other parts of Europe the midwife comes to the home to check on mom within a few days after birth. French women automatically get pelvic floor therapy to help them recover. In the United States birthing parents get one visit that may or may not include a pelvic exam. It may just be a short questionnaire about postpartum depression and a prescription for birth control. That’s it. You are cleared for all activity now.
I highly recommend all birthing parents schedule themselves to see a pelvic floor therapist. Even if they think they are fine, it is good to get checked by a professional. In all 50 states one can go directly to see a physical therapist without needing a doctor’s prescription, so take charge of your own health and recovery.
If the birthing parent is leaking urine, leaking gas, leaking stool, sex is painful, the abdominal muscles aren’t healing or they have back or pelvic pain, these are all issues a pelvic floor therapist can address. Also, if one plans to return to exercise pelvic floor PT is highly recommended to guide them in safely progressing their exercise. You can also look for a trainer who is a pregnancy and postpartum fitness specialist to help guide you. I’ve seen many women get injured or slow their healing time after baby because they are exercising in ways that their bodies cannot handle. It takes time to heal and recover.
Do you agree with this list? Did you do the things on this list? Do you wish you did more, or less, of the things on this list? What would you add to the list? I would love to hear in the comments below.
Be a good friend and share this with the mothers and birthing people in your life.
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