Postpartum care plan

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Postpartum care plan

Heal Your Body: Physical Postpartum Care

Having a baby is a life-changing event, both emotionally and physically, and proper postpartum care is crucial to your recuperation after giving birth and to your adjustment to life as a new parent. For the first two weeks after giving birth, allow yourself to focus on caring for yourself and your child.

Your body needs to recover after the physical stress of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. For the first few weeks after you give birth, give yourself time to rest and take special care of your body as it heals from nine months of pregnancy and delivery.

Bathing and Sitz Baths

To prevent infections after delivery, it is preferable to take showers rather than a tub baths for two weeks. If showers are not possible, fill the tub with three to four inches of water, and leave the drain open and the water running. This is called a sitz bath and may be continued as long as needed for comfort.

Vaginal Bleeding

Normal bleeding after delivery is similar to a heavy menstrual period and it should decrease by the third or fourth day after birth, but can last for up to four to six weeks. You may notice an increase in bleeding or blood clots on your first or second day at home because your activity has increased. If you experience a heavy bleeding (soaking a pad every hour for two to three hours) or begin cramping, it is a sign of over-activity and you must rest. If the bleeding or cramping continues, please call our office.

Menstrual periods often resume between 5 and 12 weeks after giving birth unless you are breastfeeding. Nursing may suppress periods for some women, but breastfeeding is not a form of birth control since it is still possible to become pregnant while nursing.

Cesarean Birth

Cesarean birth is major surgery and the recovery period is longer than it is after vaginal birth. Special care and attention are needed during recuperation after a C-section and it is especially important to keep an eye on the incision as it heals.

Exercise

You may start mild exercise after two weeks rest and recovery after giving birth, but more strenuous exercise should be delayed for four to six weeks. Begin with easier exercises and increase them gradually if you are comfortable and it does not cause pain. If you had a Cesarean, do not begin an exercise program for at least six weeks after delivery and with your physician’s permission.

Sexual Intercourse and Contraception

Sexual intercourse is appropriate when it is comfortable for you, usually six weeks after giving birth, but is preferable to wait until your vaginal discharge is clear. Vaginal tenderness may be eased by using a water-soluble cream a contraceptive foam or cream to lubricate the area, but do not use VASELINE

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Causes for Concern

After leaving the hospital, call our office if you have any of the following:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding, soaking a pad every hour for three hours
  • Severe chills or fever over 100.4º F
  • Frequency or burning with urination (emptying your bladder)
  • A red, hard, tender area on the breast
  • A red, hard, tender or hot area along the leg veins
  • Shortness of breath and/or chest pain
  • Any other unexplained signs or symptoms

Postpartum Medical Checkups

This appointment provides an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you have, including contraception, physical recovery, and your emotional well-being.

Postpartum Emotional Care

Having a baby is a special time in your life, full of anticipation and joy, but it can also be a time of great stress and anxiety as you adjust to life with a child. In the weeks and months after giving birth, try to be especially attentive to your own emotional feelings and those of your partner. It is perfectly normal to experience complicated and even difficult emotions after you have a child, but be mindful if those feelings become extreme.

Postpartum Depression

After having a baby, some women may experience overwhelming feelings of frustration, inadequacy, fatigue, and worry. These are normal emotions related to becoming a new parent and these feelings may also be further compounded by ordinary life stresses, such as finances, feelings of isolation, and being overwhelmed by other work or home responsibilities. If you are experiencing difficult emotions try to be patient with yourself – take time to adjust to your new life.

Avoid These Common Postpartum Challenges!

While I don’t want to scare you or cause unnecessary anxiety, I want you to understand that you simply have NO CONTROL over how your pregnancy, labor, delivery and early weeks postpartum will go.

You may have easy labor and recovery, or you may have lots of challenges to overcome.

The fact is… Most new parents face challenges. Period. Especially fatigue.

Having a postpartum plan is like having an insurance policy. If you have it, you may not need it, but if you don’t have it, you may really need it (but it will be too late to create one.) You will need to scramble for help.

How a Postpartum Plan Can Help

How does one prepare ahead for the days and weeks following birth? The best way is to plan for the worst and expect the best!  Is this a “gloom and doom” approach?  No. It’s being prepared and realistic.

If you end up not needing everything that you planned for, you can always make changes and adapt to the plan.

For example, if you have arranged too much household help but are starting to feel like you want more privacy, you can always cancel some of the extra help.

A Postpartum Plan Helps You Set Realistic Expectations of the Postpartum Period

Many new parents are unprepared for the challenges that face them following the birth of a child.

They are not aware of the demands of caring for a newborn, healing from childbirth and how lack of sleep will affect them. They expect that the transition period will only last a couple of weeks before life returns to normal.

The reality is that the adjustment, both physical and emotional, lasts with some intensity for the first three months following birth; and any parent of a baby or toddler will tell you that the challenges don’t end there.

Postpartum running

“It is best to wait until your baby is 6–8 months of age and has full head and neck control before bringing them on a run with you.” … However, it is best for both of your bodies to build strength before going for your first postpartum run together.

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WHEN IT’S OK TO START RUNNING

The first consideration to make when resuming physical activity after giving birth is the type of delivery you had. With a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section (C-section), you are able to walk fairly soon. However, if you have a C-section, you will need assistance from a nurse the first few times you get up to move around the hospital. This is, of course, only if you had a birth free of complications.

WHAT IF YOU RAN DURING PREGNANCY?

Women who were more active and maintained an exercise routine during pregnancy will have an easier time returning to running. A few weeks postpartum is not the time to start a new running routine if you have never run before or begun a rigorous marathon training program if you were active during pregnancy.

Though a return to running will be easier for those who were active during pregnancy, you still want to return gradually by first walking, then jogging and then running. There are other exercises you can do to make the transition easier, as well.

If you have yet to hear about the pelvic floor, you are sure to learn about it during pregnancy. Many women reference it when experiencing urinary incontinence after giving birth. Though you may want to run again, exercising the pelvic floor is actually the place to start because those muscles experience the greatest impact during vaginal delivery. For women who had a C-section, though the muscles haven’t been affected in the same way, they have still experienced a lot of pressure and shifting.

LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR

It may be tempting to get back to vigorous exercise quickly if you are feeling up to it soon after giving birth, however, your doctor’s guidelines should be taken seriously. No matter how good your body may be feeling, there is plenty of healing going on internally.

Remember your doctor has your best interest at heart. Though it may be tempting to push yourself to see what your body’s new limits may be, holding off until your doctor has cleared you is important.

Postpartum Running Guide for New and Experienced Moms

Whether you’re a new or experienced mom, you can get back to running pain- and leak-free with one of our expert-approved programs.

Running after Baby

As every postpartum runner knows, the experience of pregnancy and childbirth drastically changes how you experience your favorite form of exercise. Where a quick jog around the block once felt light and effortless, suddenly you’re hurting in places you didn’t know could hurt.

If this is you, rest assured you’re not alone: More than one-third of new mother runners report pain—typically felt on the outside of one hip, deep in the pelvis or buttocks and/or in the lower back—27 percent report urine leakage (also known as stress urinary incontinence) and nearly one-third report abdominal separation (also known as diastasis recti), according to a recent Sports Health study of more than 500 postpartum runners.

The uterus expands during pregnancy—it pushes on the abdominals, causing them to separate and weaken, while the weight of the growing fetus increases the demand on the pelvic floor. The act of giving birth—especially vaginal—creates stress on the pelvic floor, which needs time to recover. These and other changes ultimately weaken the abdominals, creating a domino effect of symptoms, such as the low back, hip or pelvic pain.

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The New Mom Program

Once you get the go-ahead from your doc, follow this seven-week plan provided by Chumanov. On this plan, you’ll gradually build up your core muscles while easing back into high-impact activity. Do the prescribed cardio three to four times per week and the strength exercise a minimum of three times per week? You can even get your baby involved: Push a stroller as you walk or jog, and let your baby rest on your belly during glute bridges.

Your muscles may be sore during the first 24 to 48 hours after exercise, but you shouldn’t feel pain during or after your workout. Consult a physical therapist if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Week 1

Cardio

Walk at a comfortable pace for 10 to 20 minutes, pushing the stroller if desired.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Glute Bridge, 10 to 15 reps with a five-second hold at the top

Week 2

Cardio

Walk at a brisk pace if comfortable for 20 to 30 minutes, pushing the stroller if desired.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Glute Bridge, 10 to 15 reps with a five-second hold at the top

Clam Shell, two sets of 10 to 15 reps per side

Week 3

Cardio

Alternate 4 minutes walking with one minute running until you reach 20 to 30 minutes of total activity.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Glute Bridge, 10 to 15 reps with a five-second hold at the top

Clam Shell, two sets of 10 to 15 reps per side

Side Plank on elbow and knee, six reps per side with a 10-second hold at the top

Week 4

Cardio

Alternate three minutes walking with 1 minute running until you reach 20 to 30 minutes of total activity.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Glute Bridge, 10 to 15 reps with a five-second hold at the top

Clam Shell, two sets of 10 to 15 reps per side

Side Plank on elbow and knee, six reps per side with a 10-second hold at the top

Four-Point Opposite Arm/Leg Reach, 10 to 15 reps per arm/leg combination with a five-second hold at the top

Week 5

Cardio

Alternate two minutes walking with three minutes running until you reach 20 to 30 minutes of total activity.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Side Plank on elbows with legs straight, six reps per side with a 10-second hold at the top

Four-Point Opposite Arm/Leg Reach, 10 to 15 reps per arm/leg combination with a five-second hold at the top

Chair Pose Squat, two sets of 10 reps with a five-second hold

Week 6

Cardio

Alternate one minute walking with four minutes running until you reach 20 to 30 minutes of total activity.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Side Plank on elbows with legs straight, six reps per side with a 10-second hold at the top

Four-Point Opposite Arm/Leg Reach, 10 to 15 reps per arm/leg combination with a 5-second hold at the top

Chair Pose Squat, two sets of 10 reps with a five-second hold

Week 7

Cardio

20- to 30-minute run.

Strength

Belly Draw-in, 10 reps with a five- to 10-second hold

Side Plank on elbows with legs straight, six reps per side with a 10-second hold at the top

Chair Pose Squat, two sets of 10 reps with a five-second hold

 

 

 

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