Postpartum Women Health
Hi friends, hope you all are enjoying the winters. I wanted to write on this topic for a long time now as I have suffered a lot with body pain after delivery. My baby was born in January 2016 which was the coldest month and it took my body around 9-10 months to completely say goodbye to postpartum body aches.
Now, what I knew or read about pains was totally different than what I was experiencing. I was expecting the pains to subside after 6-8 weeks of delivery.
But no, my body was not yet ready. I suffered from severe cervical pain to sciatica to muscle cramps and whatnot. However, you can avoid or at least reduce the severity of these pains by following these simple tips.
Before sharing the tips, let’s first understand why does our body aches after delivery.
1 – The most important reason could be body adjusting to being non-pregnant after delivering the baby.
Our body gets used to specific postures while we are pregnant due to uneven and excess weight landing on certain muscles. Soon after delivery when we try to get back to our normal posture, the body considers it as a lot of work and starts aching.
2 – Body not getting ample sleep.
With the new baby comes the responsibility to breastfeed, night and day at least every 2 hours and that means getting almost no sleep till the baby sets into a feed and sleep routine.
While the truth is muscles repair themselves when we are asleep.
3 – Pregnancy hormones – especially Relaxin which plays a major role in relaxing the joint muscles.
During pregnancy, it helps our joints to carry all the extra weight and at the time of delivery, it provides the flexibility to our pelvic bones so that we can deliver the baby easily. But it doesn’t settle down immediately after the birth, which means we are not in full control of our muscles and joints which is quite painful sometimes.
4 – Ignoring ourselves postpartum
After delivery, the new baby becomes the center of attraction for everyone. From feeding the baby to cleaning him to making him sleep becomes our priority task. And in between whatever time we get is also spent on thinking about the baby, you all will agree with me. We don’t get even 30 mins of time for ourselves to start a daily activity as simple as walking.
Alright, these are some of the reasons which keep us in pain even after delivery but as soon as our body starts adjusting to the new changes, the pain starts to subside and by 8 weeks we should start feeling like our old self with just some extra weight hanging here and there.
Now, this is common but what happened to me comes under a special category where the pains got too friendly with the body and refused to leave even after 6 months.
> When elders say you need to rest for 40 days postpartum, they have a reason for it.
> When people suggest maintaining a warm temperature for your body, they have a reason for it.
> And when others say wait for few months before experimenting with your body to lose weight, they do have a reason for it.
YES! And I ignored all these bits of advice coming from well-wishers.
Now, when I look back to those painful memories, I realize the reason was not pregnancy or delivery. But it was my mind playing games with the correct functioning of my body and a few mistakes which I did during the initial winter days.
Here are my tips to take full control of your body and say goodbye to all the postpartum aches and other problems.
1. Don’t let your mind take control of your senses.
Much of the work is done by the hormones which go haywire after delivery. Progesterone (mood uplifting hormone) drops drastically and estrogen starts dominating all other hormones. This is the most common cause of postpartum issues like fatigue, pain, weight gain, hypothyroidism, anxiety, and depression.
TIP – Be aware of what is going on inside your body and accept it. At the same time, share your emotions with family members especially with your spouse so that they can bring a change in their behavior as well as expectations. Whatever time you get in between feed times or the time when the baby takes nap, try to catch up on your sleep. Don’t indulge in useless thoughts, don’t overthink, just relax and remember it’s just a matter of 4-5 weeks.
2. Don’t over-exert yourself.
Being a new mother, full of raging hormones and a quest to prove yourself as the best, don’t try to take all the responsibility. Just to prove to others that you can manage everything on your own, you actually put your health at risk.
TIP – Go slow and be considerate of yourself. Start delegating baby duties to whosoever is around, take help whenever offered and shamelessly ask for help or support when needed. Take a nap, a long hot water bath or a good massage. Just relax and take the much-needed break from mommy duties. You will thank me later for this!
3. Keep moving, you are not sick!
Yes, the body takes its own time to heal completely and doctors recommend exercising only after completing 6 months postpartum. But that doesn’t mean you stay locked inside a room and focus only on the newborn. With all the sleeplessness and fatigue; you may not feel like stepping outside. But the doctors also suggest taking small walks as soon as you feel comfortable.
TIP – After a month of getting rejuvenated, go out and walk, leave the baby with someone trustworthy and try to connect with your inner self. You can start with just 5 mins of slow walking and can indulge in 5-10 mins of meditation too. And gradually increase the time and intensity of walks, 30 mins of daily slow walking will do wonders for you. Don’t let the winters stop you from moving about, exercising helps in lubricating the joints which further reduces the pain.
4. Take a healthy diet and keep your body warm.
During my postpartum period, I used to sweat a lot even if it was the coldest month. Our lose joints are prone to pain in the cold weather. So, it’s important to cover the parts of the body which are affected easily due to cold. Another easy way to produce heat in the body is eating superfoods, in a limit of course.
TIP – Keep your joints covered especially neck, back, hips and knees. Use the heating pad to keep your joints warm and take regular body massage with hot oil.
Take plenty of liquids, eat whole grains, nuts, green vegetables, and fruits to replenish lost nutrients. A balanced diet helps in reducing the inflammation and produces enough body heat to keep the joints healthy.
5. Get your tests done & take supplements on time
After about 6 weeks of delivery, get a complete checkup and blood tests done for yourself to rule out any deficiency. New moms are usually advised to take Calcium, Vitamin D, and Folic Acid for at least 6 months (or until the time they breastfeed). Delivering a baby drains out a lot of minerals from the body. Hence to replenish the lost deposits as well as to provide adequate nutrients to the baby it’s important to take these supplements on time without fail.
TIP – Use a reminder on your mobile so that you don’t miss taking your medicines or give this responsibility to someone who can remind you to take supplements on time. You can also use the pill organizer for storing your scheduled medicines for the week.
Lastly, take care of your posture. Focus on maintaining a good posture while walking or sitting or even while breastfeeding. Not taking care of posture during winters can put a lot of strain on weak muscles and joints. Always be aware of your body posture.
I hope you find this post helpful and these tips will help in reducing the postpartum body aches. Don’t forget to share this post with to-be-moms and new moms in your circle.
Want to share what worked best for you during your postpartum period, write it down in the comments below. Thanks for reading!