Updated: Oct 25, 2021
This began as an email I recently sent to a client who requested some tips for early postpartum (<6 weeks) recovery. When I finished it, I realized that this might be helpful to share, so I decided to expand on it a bit:
First, congratulations, mama! You birthed a beautiful little one, and your main focus for this fourth trimester is to rest, heal, recover, bond, and nurture that precious new relationship. Your body has been through a lot, and gentle reconnection with muscle and breath can assist with recovery. Here are a few tips as you embark on this journey:
Rest as much as you need to! Be gradual in resuming activity---start with short walks and allow for adequate recovery. You will have days where you feel incredibly energetic; instead of using all that energy up at once, you may want to use it in short bursts, with recovery sprinkled in between.
Find your breath. Baby has been pushing your diaphragm up into your chest for the last several months! In order to work properly, your diaphragm needs to return to its original resting position. Diaphragmatic breathing with 360-degree expansion of your ribcage is important to help with pressure management and coordination of your diaphragm and pelvic floor. Not sure where to start? I have a breathing video series on my YouTube channel--here is the link if you would like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5WjYnOGyqE&t=53s.
Begin gentle activation of your core and pelvic floor. This is a great thing to do after you practice breathing--you can just add on a gentle pelvic floor contraction as you exhale. To contract your core, you can think about gently scooping the area below the belly button in and up as you exhale, as the ribcage descends. To contract your pelvic floor, think about tightening the muscles in your vagina and anus as though you are trying to hold back pee and poop. Think GENTLE--you are working on re-establishing the brain-body connection, and getting these muscles back online so that they can participate automatically as you move through life.
Posture: when you sit and stand, think about elongating through the crown of your head in order to create more space. Set up your feeding and changing stations to avoid excessive rounding and hunching of your upper back and neck. And if you do round a lot, take a moment to stretch in the opposite direction when you are finished. Your spine will thank you!!
Nourish yourself with healing foods, lots of water, and rest!! Bone broth can be an amazing way to get nutrients and collagen to help with tissue healing.
Keep up with fluid and fiber intake to help keep your BMs soft and regular, to avoid strain with pooping.
And finally, ENJOY your baby, your body, and your new family dynamic! It is a huge adjustment, and if you find that you are having difficulty with coping or finding the joy, please reach out to a trusted friend, family member or health professional for help. This can be a difficult journey, and no parent should have to walk it alone.
I would love to know your thoughts on this list--was it helpful? Need anything explained a bit better? Have you tried these things and think you may need some additional assistance? Drop me a line--I’d love to chat with you!