5 Tips to Manage Life Post Pregnancy
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll have constant support, advice and guidance from a whole host of people!
From your doctor and midwife, antenatal classes, books and resources, family members and friends. Getting through pregnancy can feel like a breeze with so much information and support around to help you!
But what happens once you’ve given birth and you finally get home with your new bundle of joy?
How do you get your life back on track?!
Any new parent will tell you how tricky it is coping with a new baby in the house, There are so many things that we don’t know to expect until our baby has finally arrived – and that’s all totally normal!
In this article we’ll cover a few things to be mindful of, and help you get back on track post-pregnancy.
1. Looking After Your Body
The biggest shock you might have is your body post-pregnancy. Everything will be different! You’ll no doubt have gotten completely used to having your baby to carry around and it can be a very weird feeling to not have that any more.
Your stomach muscles will be coping with trying to get back to normal, now there’s no baby to carry around. Your uterus, vagina and internal organs will also be coping with the trauma of labour and giving birth.
Here’s some helpful tips for looking after your body post pregnancy:
Remember to rest: it’s very important to spend time resting post pregnancy. It takes on average 3-4 months to fully heal and recover from being pregnant and giving birth so make sure you don’t put too much pressure on your post-pregnancy body!
Eat Healthy: You’re going to be so busy taking care of your new baby, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients for optimal energy and health. The same as during pregnancy, make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats – and keep hydrated!
Take light exercise – once you’re ready: Depending on how your birth went, your doctor will let you know when it is safe to start having some light exercise. Swimming, yoga, walking and light cardio can work wonders for your body while it’s recovering. Even just going for a stroll in the park with your new baby can make a big difference.
Practice self-care: Small self-care treatments can make a huge difference. Get your hair done, a manicure, a massage or a facial. Feeling good about your body and yourself will really help your recovery – and also your emotional health.
2. Looking After Your Emotional Health
Postnatal depression is a very real and sometimes very serious experience for a lot of women. Many women will report experiencing the ‘baby blues’ post-pregnancy as they come to terms with their new body, and new way of living.
It is very important to take care of your mental health following pregnancy. Some ways to do this include:
Be social: After giving birth, it can be tempting to stay shut up at home, coping with looking after your new baby. You might not feel like going out or seeing anyone, but it’s important to make the effort, and time, for family and friends. Even just once a week can work wonders for your emotional health.
Join a mum and baby group: With your partner, friends and family all at work you might start to feel a bit isolated, with only your baby for company. Joining a mum and baby group can work wonders for your emotional health as you’ll be interacting with other mums going through exactly the same things as you. It’s a great support network.
Practice self-care: As mentioned, self care is really important and making the time to look after yourself can really help your emotional health.
Make sure you talk to someone: If you’re feeling down, or blue, post pregnancy, it’s really important to let someone know. Talk to your midwife, doctor, family or friends about how you’re feeling so they can reassure you that you’re not alone. Your doctor can also make recommendations for coping with postnatal depression, if they think this is what you might be experiencing.
3. Setting a Routine
One of the best things you can do for yourself, your baby and your home post pregnancy is setting a new routine. In the beginning this may seem really difficult, but the more you stick to it, the easier it will get and you’ll quickly find that both you and your partner, as well as your baby benefit.
This includes simple things like agreeing who is going to cook dinner on what nights, when and who is going to make sure the laundry is done, and pick up the groceries.
Your baby will need feeding at regular intervals throughout the night, so set alarms and get into the habit of waking up to feed them at the same times each night to encourage them into the routine too.
Make sure you have a proper morning and night time routine for your baby so that they develop a rhythm – you will definitely reap the benefits of doing this! This includes:
· Feeding at the same time each morning and during the day
· Putting them down for regular naps at the same time each day
· Bath time at the same time each day
· Putting them down to sleep at the same time each day
Like I said, you might find this extremely tricky to start with, but it will get easier over time and will help you manage life post pregnancy much easier!
4. Make Time to be a Couple
Now that your baby is finally here, it is so easy to let them become your one and only focus – which is completely natural and understandable!
But it’s also very important to still make time for you and your partner as a couple. While you’re at home all day with the baby, and your partner is at work, seemingly continuing to live a ‘normal’ life, it’s easy to maybe resent them a little bit and feel like you’re the only one doing all the hard work!
Agree on a date night each week – you don’t even need to leave the house if you’re worried about leaving baby with a sitter. Just making the time to sit together, talk, watch a movie, get a take away and relax as a couple can make all the difference. Remember to switch off mobiles and turn off laptops and give each other your full focus.
This will help you stay feeling connected, and give you the opportunity to get reassurance from your partner that you are doing this together, as a team!
Remember: don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. If you need more support from them, or are feeling overwhelmed – tell them! Give them the best chance to help you when you need it by telling them.
5. Get Support
If you are struggling with anything, no matter how big or small it might seem, make sure you get support.
Having a new baby is hard work! It’s challenging and you will find that every single new parent struggles – especially in the beginning. If after a month or so you’re still having a really hard time, make sure you work out what it is that you need help with and get support.
If that means asking a family member or friend to come over one day a week to help with laundry then do it! If you need an afternoon off or a day off to just relax without baby, then ask someone to come and help out. There is no shame in taking a little bit of time to focus on you so you can be the best mum to baby.
If you’re worried you might be experiencing depression, don’t keep quiet about it – get support. Speak to your partner, family, friends and your doctor so they can all rally around you and give you the help you need.
Becoming a new mum can feel like we have to do everything ourselves and that we’re being selfish or a ‘bad mum’ if we need to get help with anything but this is just simply not true.
The most important thing right now is to make sure you are the best version of you so that you can take the very best care of your baby. If having a cleaner come in to take care of all the housework frees up your time to do that, then do it.