10 Things Not to Do In Postpartum Recovery

With your newborn’s needs at the top of your list, it can be easy to let your own slip to the bottom

After squeezing out a baby, your body feels like it’s been through the spin cycle of your washing machine. You’re exhausted and even the tips of your toes ache, but you still want to be there to look after your newborn. This means middle-of-the-night feedings, countless diaper changes, and basically doing all the things. But it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too—and that includes knowing the things not to do after giving birth.

Elizabeth Quinkert, certified nurse-midwife and administrative director for the Tree of Life Birthing Center, says it’s a good idea to assemble your village before giving birth because as soon as the baby’s born, all focus moves to your newborn. “We’re so busy making sure the baby is taken care of, but birthing parents need time to recover as well,” Quinkert says, something that’s easy to forget when they jump into their caregiving role so quickly.

Whether you had a vaginal birth or a C-section, your body requires rest to rebuild. To help out your sleep-deprived brain, we’ve prepared an easy-to-follow list of the things you shouldn’t do after giving birth. If you have any questions about your postpartum recovery, don’t hesitate to contact your care provider.

1. Don’t drive.

Your brain might be telling you to get in the car and check some errands off your ever-growing list, but your body needs time to heal. Whether you’ve delivered vaginally or via cesarean section, one reason not to drive is blood loss. According to The March of Dimes, it’s normal to lose some blood after giving birth, but it can slow down your reaction time and impair your driving ability, Quinkert says.

So when is it safe for you to hop (or lightly step) behind the wheel again? Your healthcare provider can help you decide. Most experts suggest waiting two weeks before driving after you’ve had a baby. Since moving your foot from the gas to the break and turning your head to check your blind spots requires some ab work, Healthline suggests it can be longer if you had a C-section. If you’re taking opioid medication for pain management to assist in your recovery, discontinue use before you sit in the driver’s seat again.

2. Don’t ignore your pain or skip your checkups.

When you have a baby, stuff hurts. Your body is going to feel achy and exhausted from giving birth, and most of these feels are normal. Soreness, tiredness, and some emotional and hormonal changes are expected since your body has been through a major change, says the Cleveland Clinic. However, there are pain levels and symptoms you shouldn’t just “push through.” Quinkert says if the pain starts to become worse, you feel an unusual pressure, or notice an increase in swelling, these are symptoms to let your provider know about. If your overtired brain is wondering which aches and pains you shouldn’t ignore, the Cleveland Clinic lists the following as postpartum symptoms you don’t want to overlook:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Significant pain or cramping
  • Severe headaches
  • Complications with tears or incisions
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent peeing or burning
  • Leg pain
  • Chest pain
  • Breast pain or burning

It’s also crucial to keep an eye on your mood and anxiety levels after bringing baby home—and this is where your postpartum checkups are particularly important. During these checkups, your doctor will do a physical exam to make sure your body is healing, but these appointments are also important mental health check-ins. Some sadness and worry are normal for a few weeks—you’ve probably heard of the “baby blues”—but if it remains or gets worse it could be a sign of postpartum depression (PPD), which Quinkert says doctors are always looking out for. Red flags include:

  • Feeling very weepy, guilty, or overwhelmed
  • Worrying that you are a bad mother
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Not feeling a connection to your baby
  • Inability to take care of your baby
  • Lasting sadness or thoughts of hurting yourself or others (including your baby)
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider right away.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top