(photocredits: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi)
Most mothers forget to prepare for their recovery and the organisation of postpartum during pregnancy.
It is an important phase, because you are vulnerable and dependent on people surrounding you. Think about what you would like the most in the first hours, days, weeks and month after birth. Organize the following things in advance:
Help for a longer period, where to find support in breastfeeding, healthy meal preparation / delivery.
When you get home after birth
Sustain the bubble. Stay in and around your house as much as possible (surrounded by comforting and calm people); keep telling your story and make sure there are fixed moments of rest. Take care of your baby yourself. Feeding, washing, comforting and co-sleeping promote oxytocin, which stimulates recovery, growth, attachment and most importantly: breastfeeding.
Being skin to skin with its parents has a positive effect on a baby’s body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Reducing visitors and spending the first days together with your partner and your baby has an optimal effect on the baby’s immunity.
What if your birth did not go as planned?
You can prepare for birth as much as possible. However, you can never 100 % predict it. The natural processes of birth are dependent on many factors. Physical and circumstantial. So many, it needs another article.
However it may come, however you will give birth, what matters the most is how you FEEL about it. May it be a natural birth, a (mom and baby friendly) C-section or a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section). Discuss your experience with people surrounding you. This stimulates your recovery and will make you feel stronger. How was your contact with health workers, did you experience stress, did you feel you had autonomy, did things go the way you wanted them to go? Discussing these things within the first month after giving birth secondarily prevents further effects of a birth trauma, like a postnatal depression or a PTSS.
When your birth did not go as you had hoped for, you can still promote oxytocin with skin-to-skin contact, being inseparable from your baby and taking care of your baby yourself.
A healthy start into motherhood
Your postpartum has a big influence on your and your baby’s health. Think about it during pregnancy, be aware of who you need, to support you and take care of you during this vulnerable time.
All mothers need time to recover after birth, in their own tempo. You will gain energy every day, get more confidence in taking care of your baby and you will find time for yourself again.