How to get back to normalcy after childbirth

From health tips to a postpartum checklist, here is everything you need to know to bounce back to normalcy after giving birth

By Dr Gayathri Kamath

Motherhood changes a woman. After having a baby, the body changes in multiple and mind-blowing ways. But, the transition from pregnancy to postpartum brings with it a variety of new symptoms and questions.

So, here are all the things you need to know on how to get back to regular life as a new mother.

1. Take hot showers or soak in hot baths to ease aches and pains: It is best to take a sitz bath during the postpartum period to cleanse and relax the perineal areas. The temperature of the water increases blood flow to the vaginal area and promotes faster healing and helps in relieving pain.

2. Set realistic expectations about losing weight: Each mother has different postpartum weight loss goals. Various celebrity moms have shown-off their slim bodies just months after their deliveries. While there is no harm in aspiring to be that way, it is essential to ensure your weight loss journey is healthy and you do not end up exerting yourself beyond the ideal limit. Strenuous physical activity can reduce milk production.

3. See a physiotherapist: After delivery, it is extremely important to see a physiotherapist who can assess your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles, chart the appropriate plan for your body to get back to a workout regime. Include exercises in your workout routine to strengthen the core. Performing Kegel exercises can help you to strengthen pelvic floor muscles that can regain bladder control more quickly.

4. Eat healthy: When you breastfeed, the food that you eat nourishes your baby, too. Hence, it is essential to follow a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and also increase the intake of fruits and veggies. A nutritious diet and a workout regime also help with losing weight gained by the mother during pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluids and limit junk food.

5. Breastfeed and take good care of your breasts: Breastfeeding has many benefits – it provides immunity to the infant. It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in you. Breast milk contains nutritional components, antioxidants, and live antibodies from the mother in abundance. It also contains substances that naturally soothe the infant. Use a warm compress or ice packs and gently massage. Wear comfortable bras and after each session, let your breasts air out. Also, use ointments as prescribed by your doctor to treat cracked nipples.

(The writer is a senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore)

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