Having a baby is our greatest blessing. Carrying it inside our womb for nine months requires a lot of preparation during and after pregnancy. New and expectant mothers should be ready for changes you will undergo, physically, and emotionally. After giving birth, the next challenge is how to take care of your body.
Your baby is your topmost priority. But how you take care of yourself is just as important.
This may include:
- Proper nutrition,
- Seek birth pain remedies, and
- Deal with emotional stress.
The Postpartum Stage
Postpartum Stage is time after a mother gives birth. Usually, it lasts for up to 6 weeks or longer. During this stage, it is important that you familiarize yourself with how to take care of your body to regain strength and achieve fast healing.
This is the recovery period wherein
- your experience body pain and feeling weak
- Discomfort on your breast area
- You are prone to some infections
- Possible complications may occur
- Your uterus will start to go back to its normal size
Physical changes women undergo after pregnancy
Here are some of the physical changes changes women undergo after giving birth
- Heavy flow. Use cotton sanitary napkins for more absorption and tampons is a big NO during this period to avoid infections.
- Postpartum breast enlargement. Breasts will significantly become larger 2 to 5 days after the baby is born. They will be firm, larger, and slightly tender. However, if your breasts are swollen, you may have trouble nursing. Try to cover your breasts with a warm washcloth, or take a warm shower before nursing. THis will reduce discomfort and fullness. A cold compress can be performed as well. You can use gel packs or frozen veggie packs.
- Hemorrhoids, hair loss, constipation is normal during this stage. These are temporary symptoms of the postpartum stage, Allow your body to naturally heal after a few weeks.
- Post-baby belly. This can be remedied by abdominal binding, lotions, eating less but more frequent, and exercise.
- Nipples will become bigger and darker. Rinse with water and dab with a clean towel. Avoid soap and shower gels to prevent irritation.
Self-care tips you can do on how to take care of your body after pregnancy
- Get enough sleep
- Hydrate by drinking lots of water
- Have a complete and balanced diet
- Avoid lifting heavy objects
- Paint your nails
- Revisit your love for chic flicks
- Bathe for an hour
- Keep a journal
- Have a date night with friends
- Put on some makeup
- Reward yourself with your favorite dessert
Note: If you still experience discomfort that cannot be resolved with home remedies, it is best to consult your doctor. Ask for tips on how to take care of your body and what are the things to avoid and ask for prescribed medications as needed.
Aside from physical changes women undergo after giving birth, it is important that mental health should be taken care of, as well.
If a mother experiences “baby blues” for more than 5 days, the mother is experiencing postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious mental illness that involves feeling empty, hopeless, and unconnected to her newborn.
- Crying a lot
- Having thoughts of hurting the baby or oneself
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Eating more or less than usual
- Lack of sleep
- Feeling worthless as a mother
How to cure postpartum depression
Here are simple remedies you can do at home
- If the baby sleeps, take advantage of the time to rest
- Ask for help
- Talk to your friends or family
- Join a support group
- Stop overthinking. This is common for first-time moms. Surely, you will be able to figure things out as time goes.
How to take care of your body – Birthing beliefs and practices in the Philippines
Are you interested to know the rituals I had gone through after I gave birth to my first son? Maybe some of you can relate and have heard these rituals from your moms and grandmoms. I gave birth to my son in 1991, nanganganay ako (first time to give birth) and we don’t have the money for hospital delivery, so I gave birth at home with a midwife and a manghihilot (quack doctor).
Bear with me but if you want your body to be back in shape, this will help. I’m glad I did these birthing rituals because my mom told me that when I get old I can see the effects of those rituals with my body. Now, I’m 54, but I don’t actually look like my age (wink). I have good skin, no wrinkles and I feel strong. In fact, I can still do 25 push-ups in the morning.
Here are some of the traditional birthing rituals I used to take care of my body after pregnancy
I did not take a bath for 9 days
Can you imagine how I smell? But I do clean my body, of course, punas punas lang (sponge bath). On the 10th day, I take a quick bath with the assistance of the manghihilot.
She is the one pouring the hot water that was boiled with 7 kinds of herbal plants my husband bought in front of Quiapo Church and cooled a bit.
While taking a bath I stand on an empty sack of rice. Then my next bath is after 8 days, then 7 days, and so on. Until my last day of taking a bath with herbal plants. The water was warmed by sunlight before I was able to do a normal bath.
My body went through hilot massage with coconut oil
I am not allowed to get out at night. My mother said it is for me to avoid skin discoloration.
The suob ritual (The smoke bath)
A stone called kamanyang (frankincense) and incense were burned with coal and let the smoke cover my whole body.
Drinking cold water is not allowed for more than 30 days
For fear that the air will drive me insane (masumpit ng hangin), I was not allowed to wear shorts, and tank tops, only pajamas, and my feet is covered with socks all the time.
After my hilot massage, the manghihilot will kick my vagina (but not strong) to push it back in place.
Every morning I sit on a chamber pot (arinola) filled with boiled guava leaves. The steam is known to heal my vaginal wound. And the painful part is I have to splash some of the hot water on my vagina for faster healing. Before I put my panties on, I wear a sanitary napkin soaked with alcohol which gave me burnt pains.
During labor, my hilot asked me to sit upon my husband’s used shorts to help with fast delivery. She also told me to drink one raw egg but I refused because I cannot swallow a raw egg. Gross.
Your excitement after giving birth will then shift to anxiety. You’re done with the birth pains, and you have to pay attention now in taking care of your bundle of joy. How to take care of your body should not be set aside as well.
Your body should be strong enough to cope up with the sleepless nights and tiring days you’ll have. Despite all these with just one smile from the little human busy sucking your nipple is priceless and is worth all the pains.
Do you know other rituals you heard from your mom or grandma that I miss?
Comment below and share it with us.