It can come as a real shock that in the hours after birth (when you’re desperate for sleep) you can get some strong contractions as the uterus begins to return to normal size. This happens most often with second babies. You’re not ready for this pain. It’s not ‘life giving pain’ and you’ve already birthed for goodness sake. Now you just need rest!! My advice is to make sure you have some paracetamol (or something stronger) nearby.
In the first weeks after birth, you’ll be healing and bonding with your baby. Establishing breast feeding and recovering physically. Give yourself time for this. Let your partner keep visitors at bay until you both feel ready.
Breastfeeding is not something that will necessarily ‘just happen’. If you need help, seek it out straight away. Cracked, bleeding nipples and mastitis is no fun. A great Farnham lactation and Post Natal recovery consultant is Jilly Thompson
You can normally begin pelvic floor lifts with an exhalation soon after birth. Make sure you establish a reconnection with the pelvic floor (ie, you can actually feel it operating!) Before adding any contractions through your ‘core’. This is especially important if you have any abdominal separation, called Diastasis Recti. I’ve made a video to help you check for Diastasis recti and one to help connect your pelvic floor and breath.
A helpful postnatal tip:
Try lying on your front with a cushion under your belly. You may need to also put a rolled up towel under your breasts if they’re painful. This is deeply relaxing and will also help the uterus contract down into it’s proper place in the pelvic bowl. Breastfeeding will also help it return to normal size (you’ll often feel uterine contractions when breastfeeding).
No inversions while you are shedding Lochia
Think of your posture. It’s easy to get into bad habits when you’re tired and feeding. Please remember to drop your shoulders down your back and sit up on your sitting bones with a straight spine.
The deep breathing that helped you through pregnancy and labour is just as important now!
Rest listening to a relaxing meditation whenever you can. The housework will just have to wait!
Stretch and release shoulders and neck after each breastfeed. Be careful to keep your jaw and shoulders relaxed, this will help the ‘let down’ reflex.
Please be kind to yourself and rest whenever you can. So much easier said than done but it REALLY makes a difference if you honour this unusual, special, revitalising recovery period.
Encourage your partner to give you daily massages!
Be mindful of post natal depression (PND). You will naturally have times when you feel emotional and teary, but you shouldn’t feel depressed. If you or your partner suspect that you may have PND, speak to your doctor immediately.