First 5 LA’s Five Minutes: Postpartum Health
There’s a reason it’s called “labor” — giving birth is very hard work! The physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and giving birth are intense, and require at least six to eight weeks of recovery time. (If you have a cesarean birth — which is major surgery — recovery time may be even longer.) Here are some ways to take good care of yourself so that you can stay strong and healthy after giving birth:
- Take a catnap. Whether you sleep when the baby naps, or snooze while others care for the baby, finding time to rest allows your body to heal and feed your baby. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself for some shut-eye — too much activity can be exhausting.
- Drink a glass of water. Staying hydrated is important to the healing process, preventing constipation and successful breastfeeding. (Breast milk contains 87% water.) Additionally, drinking water helps flush excess fluids postpartum.
- Eat a nutritious snack. Eating something fresh and healthy — some cut up veggies, fruit or nuts are all good — aids healing and helps keep up your strength to produce milk and breastfeed.
- Accept help/resources. Allow others to cook, clean, run errands, and spend time with the baby so you can rest or get a break. Feeling connected to others can help postpartum blues; accepting assistance with breastfeeding will build confidence and knowledge.
- Reach out. While not common, infections and other complications can occur after giving birth. If something seems off, or you are experiencing pain, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.