The 40weeks (or so) of pregnancy are now gone and the hours of childbirth are behind you; you've officially received your prize: YOUR BABY!! Congratulations! Now comes the transition from pregnancy to postpartum, which brings its own requirements to aid your physical postpartum recovery — ideally before you deliver.
Here are a few things you’ll want to stash away while you’re still pregnant to make your postpartum recovery go as smoothly as possible:
- Cotton Underpants - To contain the continuous maxi pad usage. Think "granny panty" style. Comfort is key.
- Tucks pads and/or witch hazel spray
- Healing Herbal Bath – Click here to learn more about these herbs can ease your discomfort and boost your recovery.
- Epsom salt or magnesium flakes
- Sitz Bath - a round, shallow washbasin which fits snugly over a standard toilet seat. Or you can use your bathroom tub instead.
- Peri or Squirt Bottle (or your hospital birthplace will give you these; make sure to ask for two per bathroom you will use in your home. To purchase more, find them here.)
- Hemorrhoid Balm, like this one.
- Heating Pad for afterpains and breast engorgement. (A microwavable rice pad is perfect or you can take a washcloth, made quite wet and slightly wrung out, placed in a ziploc bag and microwave for 15-30sec.)
- A comfy wardrobe – lounging clothes to feel comfortable to snuggle with you baby
- Dates – Eating 6 dates/day in the first few weeks of your postpartum can help decrease your postpartum bleeding (also called your lochia).
- In-home massage - Schedule one here.
- Postpartum doula – the pinnacle of mother-focused postpartum care. She also teaches partners how to support the new mother and gives baby-care tips. They don’t have a specific duties, but rather step in where needed – doing light housekeeping, checking in with the mother’s physical and emotional recovery, offering breastfeeding advice, and caring for the baby. Click here for more information
For Cesarean Birth Moms, everything above plus:
- A Postpartum Recovery Belt - Either something like this one, or your favorite shapewear. Nothing too tight! Should feel like a snug hug, but not be too tight to avoid pushing your enlarged uterus onto your pelvic floor causing more stress to your pelvic floor muscles.
- Ice Pack - To place on top of your incision bandage to help with swelling. (I like taking some Aloe Vera gel and squeeze it into a ziploc plastic baggie, then place it in the fridge. The cool gel pack is a great ice pack for cesarean moms!)
Your healthcare provider may recommend the following medications. Please consult with your medical provider prior to taking any of the following medications.
- Stool Softeners - Your digestive system is slower these first few weeks in postpartum recovery. Staying regular and not having to strain will be helpful to you, your bottom repairs and hemorrhoids.
- Acetaminophen and/or Ibuprofen - To help ease your afterpains (your uterus contracting back down to pre-pregnancy size). Typically you'll experience more afterpains while you nurse (due to oxytocin causing your uterus to contract; breastfeeding helps your body heal faster!), so plan ahead and grab your heating pad to help ease these sensations.
Lastly, it is encouraged by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists you are seen by your prenatal provider within 2-3 weeks post-delivery and again within 12 weeks post-delivery to ensure optimal physical recovery. So call your prenatal health provider and schedule your appointment! You deserve the best postpartum care EVER!!