Besides the amazingness of becoming a mom (which is of course pretty life-changing!), it’s a little crazy how different you feel after giving birth. Parts that you never realized could hurt start to hurt, and for a lot of women, everything seems off for a while. But even though you now have a little bundle to look after, taking care of yourself is just as important it was while you were pregnant.
Post-Pregnancy Body Recovery Tips
I had my baby 10 weeks ago and some days it still feels like I was hit by a truck—but I find when I set aside a little bit of time to take care of myself, recovery is speedier and much more pleasant. Or at least seems like it might actually happen someday. Here are some shortcuts to help you feel a little more like yourself post-delivery:
1. Combat chafing
If you’re breastfeeding, your nipples may be sore, chafe, crack and even bleed. Ow, ow, ow and ow. First, make sure your baby is latching correctly (a bad latch can cause all of those problems), then make sure to moisturize and soothe them with coconut oil, or Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter—it doesn’t contain lanolin, and it’s okay for your baby to ingest so no need to wash it off before nursing.
2. Take care of your nether regions
Here’s a little bit of TMI for you: Pre-baby, I used to roll my eyes when I’d see those silly TV commercials for hemorrhoid treatments. About six weeks post-baby, I found myself frantically Googling home remedies and sobbing on the phone to my doctor’s office about, yes, hemorrhoids. They were worse than I could have ever imagined. Combine that with tears, stitches and/or an episiotomy, and that whole area can get really, really uncomfortable.
Staying hydrated and getting enough fiber can help prevent the hemorrhoids; luckily I had Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Mama Bottom Balm on hand to help after the fact—because drinking enough water and eating broccoli were not really on the agenda once a newborn was in the house. It was definitely a lifesaver! They also make a spray that helps cool the area, and antibacterial Postpartum Bath Herbs will help speed up your recovery as well.
3. Soothe your scar
C-section mamas have an additional recovery to contend with: a sore, inflamed and possibly really, really itchy scar. C-Mama Healing Salve is great for soothing your incision, and it can be used on stretch marks, burns and all kinds of skin problems as well.
4. Turn to tea
New moms are tired. Like, all the time. And if you kicked caffeine to the curb during pregnancy you’re probably jonesing for a cup of joe. But you might want to wait on that coffee habit just a bit longer. Stick with tea – not only will it calm and soothe your nerves but Milkmaid Tea can support breast milk production and promote healthy lactation (a common source of new mama stress).
It might seem impossible, but it’s necessary. A stressed out mama is a cranky and unhealthy mama. Hand the baby off to someone else (like Dad!) and take a healing epsom salt bath. You, your body and your baby will all be happier for it.
6. Revamp your routine
Once you finally find time to wash your face and put on makeup again (for me, this was about the last week of maternity leave), you might find that the products you used before either don’t work as well or don’t feel right. The face wash and shampoo I had loved for the past couple years somehow made my skin and hair greasier, and suddenly the BB cream I had sworn by felt and looked weird on my face (probably something to do with all that grease…).
7. Get your thyroid tested
Hopefully your midwife or doctor was testing your thyroid levels before and after you delivered, because pregnancy can make them go all sorts of crazy (and it’s especially important to have sufficient thyroid hormone while you’re pregnant). But if you’re having issues with your skin that can’t be fixed—especially acne or dry skin—or fatigue or irritability that you can’t chalk up to caring for a baby ’round-the-clock—make sure you’ve had your TSH, T3, T4 and TPO antibody levels checked to rule out any lingering thyroid problems.
8. Get moving
I’ll admit it: Pregnancy weight gain—and the inability to lose this marshmallow belly I now have—kind of gave me a complex. The best way to get rid of it is obviously to eat right. But if you’re at a point where subsisting on coffee, Pop-Tarts and takeout is just how it has to be, make sure you at least get a short walk in every day.
Bonus: walking, yoga or a gentle, doctor-approved workout can help prevent hemorrhoids, improve your mood and get your metabolism back on track. And if your baby is anything like mine, a walk (or six) around the block will help him or her chill out, too.
How did you take care of yourself postpartum? Share your new mom tips!
Photos by Susan Hudson + Mikaela Hamilton
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D., a university-trained obstetrician/gynecologist with 19 years of clinical experience. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.5