Bouncing Back After Birth

Guest Blog by the girls from Birds & Bees.  Find out more about their classes and services they have to offer at: www.montrealprenatalclasses.com.

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Getting back to our old selves is one of the top priorities for new moms after giving birth. Once we’ve figured out the feeding and sleeping habits of our baby we usually tackle our next “big” issue- the new mom body we’ve acquired. For some of us it’s the belly that doesn’t seem to be going down on its own, for others it may be the extra weight that we’ve gained over the last 9 months.

But no matter what, before you lace up your shoes and get moving, you need to make sure to respect the time your body needs to properly heal from the birth of your baby. In many cultures there is a period of time after a woman gives birth where she doesn’t leave the house, doesn’t exercise, cook, clean or even shower. She simply recovers and rests after the birth for sometimes up to 40 days. In our current society, this isn’t an option for most women nor is it something we’re interested in. We want to get out of the house, see friends, take the baby for lunch or shopping with friends. But, we can learn something important from these traditions: women need to recover from birth, no matter how their birth unfolds.

As birth professionals, we have seen countless women have easy, natural births who then believe that they can just jump right back into their old habits. This usually causes increased bleeding, longer recovery, and even infections if there was tearing at the birth. No matter how uncomplicated the delivery, it’s always best to take the first week or two to rest and relax. Enjoy spending some time on the couch, taking mid-day naps- those won’t last forever! Be sure to follow the instructions from your doctor about how to care for any trauma from the birth and really go easy on yourself. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, which can take a lot of energy and emotion, make sure to feed yourself and check in with how you’re feeling. After a couple of weeks most women who delivered vaginally will be ready for moderate exercise, taking care to monitor bleeding or pain. The general rule for those who have had babies via Cesarean birth is that after 6-8 weeks, making sure to tend to your incision and be mindful of your activity, women can start getting back into moderate exercise.

During our Birds and Bees prenatal classes we talk a lot about how to make the recovery period after birth easier and less painful. When you’re dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids like milk, sweat, tears and blood it’s a time to be gentle on yourself. Surround yourself with the support that you need. Plan ahead by making freezer meals and giving guests realistic expectations for when and how long they can stay. Be mindful of how much sleep you’re getting and most importantly, listen to your body. There’s plenty of time to be Supermom- for now, just be yourself and take it easy.