The first six weeks after you give birth will be full of physical and emotional changes. Your body will start to recover from labor as hormone levels change and your uterus shrinks back to its normal size.
During this time, it’s essential that you have realistic expectations and allow yourself to get plenty of rest. It will take a long time for you to completely recover, but taking care of yourself well for these first six weeks will give you a strong foundation for future recovery.
There are a few questions that mamas commonly ask about what is best for them during the first six weeks of postpartum recovery. Here are five things you should not do for the first few weeks after giving birth.
- Don’t Neglect Your Health
After giving birth, your focus is on your new baby and how you can take care of them best. However, you need to prioritize your health for your baby to be healthy, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
During the first few weeks, focus on getting sleep when you can, eating nutritious food, and reducing stress as much as possible. Ask family and friends for help and don’t try to do too much work too soon.
Whether you’ve had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, your abdominal wall will be sore and weak for the first few weeks. Housecleaning tasks like vacuuming or lifting heavy groceries can strain your back, so it’s best to avoid these tasks until you’re stronger.
- Don’t Try to Lose Weight
There are a number of things you can do to lose baby weight after your delivery. However, it’s important not to make speed your goal during the first few weeks. It took your body a long time to gain baby weight, and it’s normal for it to take several months before you return to a lighter weight.
Although sleep is important, another way to help your body rest is by getting proper nutrition. Whole foods will help your body heal, improve your sleep, and nourish your baby. Although it may feel counterintuitive, eating well during the first six weeks will make it more possible for you to lose all your baby weight later.
One of the best ways to start losing weight is through active movement. Taking short walks and staying active at home will help you heal and start to shed some pounds. You can talk to your health care provider about the best time to incorporate postpartum workouts and kegel exercises into your routine.
- Don’t Have Sex Right Away
Until your body has healed from giving birth, you probably won’t want to have sex. Your body will be sore for several weeks after giving birth, and full recovery may take longer if you experience tearing or have had an episiotomy during labor. Most health care professionals recommend not having sex for at least six weeks postpartum.
To help your vaginal area heal, you should use ice packs, witch hazel, and sitz baths during the first few weeks of recovery. It’s essential to keep this area clean and let it rest so any inflammation can calm down. You can also practice kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and help your inner muscles return to normal.
During the first several weeks postpartum, new moms also experience a vaginal discharge similar to their period. If you are still bleeding heavily after the first week, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Don’t try to use a tampon until your body has fully recovered from giving birth.
- Don’t Be Discouraged
Having a new baby is overwhelming even without the physical and emotional changes your body goes through during and after birth. Most new moms experience a period of baby blues during their first few weeks postpartum, brought on by physical and emotional exhaustion.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or hopeless after the first few weeks of recovery, talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing postpartum depression (PPD), a common medical condition caused by changing hormones and other factors.
PPD can be treated and is not your fault. It will take time to adjust to your new responsibilities, and you are not alone if you feel overwhelmed or underprepared to be a new parent. Be open with friends and family about your feelings, and find other new moms to support you on this journey.
- Don’t Rush Your Healing
Healing takes time, and you don’t need to rush this process. Remember to give yourself grace and set realistic goals. If you expect to be back to normal in six weeks, you’ll be disappointed. It will take time for your body, hormones, and emotions to balance out after giving birth.
The best way to speed up your recovery is to make small investments in your physical and mental health every day. Eat good food, get plenty of rest, and make sure you’re getting your thoughts and emotions out of your head with journaling, counseling, or talking to friends.
Even after full recovery from labor, your body won’t be the same as it was before. It will be different, but different is worth it when you consider that you’ve created a human being inside your womb. Slow your mindset and give your body time to heal and regain balance on its own schedule.
You Are a Priority
Having a baby is incredibly worth the physical and emotional toll that pregnancy and labor have on your body. However, it’s essential that you take care of yourself during this time so that you can regain your strength and heal from the process. You are also a priority.
Follow these five steps to invest in a healthy future for yourself and your family. Don’t hesitate to reach out to medical professionals for help if you continue to struggle after the first six weeks of recovery. With enough time and care, your body will recover from labor and find balance again.