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Fundus
Care
Breast Care & Preventing Infections
Bowel
Habits
Diet/Activity/
Exercise
C-Section
Care
Sex & Birth
Control
Postpartum
Depression
Transition To
Parenthood

Diet
It is important to have a well balanced diet after your delivery to help your body heal.  You can eat 3 large meals a day or 6 small meals depending on your preference.  You should make sure you eat the right amount of servings from each food group.

Drink at least 6-8 glasses of liquids everyday including water and juices.  At first, you want to avoid soda and caffeine intake.

It is important to continue to take your daily prenatal vitamin for at least 3 months.  If you choose to provide nourishment to your baby by breastfeeding continue taking your prenatal vitamins until you are finished. 

Activity
You should limit your activity for the first few weeks to avoid postpartum complications. You may increase your activity each day but be sure to have plenty of rest periods. Do not lift over 5-10 pounds for the first few weeks. Here is an example of a month long schedule of some activities you can do as you adjust to your new baby and from a pregnant to non pregnant state.

  • First week: You do nothing but care for yourself and your new baby. Stay in your pajamas! Lay around a lot! No cooking or housecleaning, no running of errands, do not play hostess to those who come to visit you! This is the time in your life to let others care for you so that you will be able to fully take care of your family later without setbacks.
  • Second week: You can get dressed in regular clothes, take short strolls, ride in the car with someone else for errands, but still mostly resting and taking care of baby.
  • Third week:this week is a transition week. You can do light housework (dishes, load of clothes, easy meal), still resting whenever possible.
  • Fourth week: Start a more normal routine, but still try to rest whenever you can or get an afternoon nap as nighttime feedings will be continuing.

Getting Enough Sleep - The first week after delivery

SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS

Keep the baby close to you at night and learn to breastfeed lying down

Recall how many hours of daily sleep you needed before pregnancy in order to function well.  

Six hours?  Eight hours?  That is the amount of sleep you now owe yourself every day.

Since you cannot get this amount of sleep in one stretch, because of interruptions for feedings and baby care, you will require more hours in bed to get your allotted amount of sleep.

Plan to stay in bed or keep going back to bed until you have slept your allotted number of hours.  This means that except for meals and trips to the bathroom, you do not get up in the early morning.

Keep a mental note of approximately how much time you have slept at each stretch, and stay in night clothes until you have slept the required number of hours.

You may have to stay in bed from ten at night until noon the next day to get eight hours of  sleep!  If that’s what it takes, do it. Then brush your teeth, take a shower, and dress.

Many parents find it easier to follow this advice if the baby sleeps with them or nearby.  As your baby grows and begins to sleep for longer stretches, it will take you less time to get enough sleep.

Taken from Penny Simkin, P.T.’s book “The Birth Partner.” 2nd edition.

Exercising
Resuming exercise during the postpartum period is dependent on the type of delivery you had and the amount you of exercise done before you became pregnant. Gradually increasing your exercise program and listening to your body is important when starting to exercise during the postpartum period. Vaginal bleeding should be minimal or has stopped and any tears/lacerations should be healed before beginning a regular program.

Kegel exercises can begin soon after your delivery, these will help you strength your pelvic floor muscles.
Abdominal muscles during pregnancy stretch and may cause a separation of muscles from the midline area of your abdomen which is called diastasis recti. The separation can be felt if you contract your stomach muscles while feeling above or below your belly button. If this is present abdominal muscle strengthening should begin slowly starting off with hiss/compress abdominal exercise and head lifts while splinting your abdomen. Once your muscles become stronger you can move on to other abdominal exercises.

Walking is encouraged around the 2nd week postpartum. Start with short walks and increase the time/ intensity as your body begins to adjust to your program.

If you had a cesarean section, waiting for your incision to heal and staple removal is recommended. Having abdominal surgery takes longer for  you to return to normal activities but you can begin kegels and should wait 1-2 before beginning abdominal muscle exercises. Lifting should be avoided the first couple of weeks with gradual increase until your body is healed.

Exercising is important to add to your daily routine once your body is ready not only for physical factors but for psychological, it is known to decrease the incidence of postpartum mood disorders.