By: Emily Graham
Photo via Pexels
Expecting mothers learn all about what to anticipate during the first, second, and third trimesters of their pregnancy. But what about the postpartum period, often known as the fourth trimester? From picking out everyday bras to coping with hormonal shifts, these tips will help you navigate the postpartum period, presented to you below by My Body Is My Body.
Understand Hormonal Changes
The dramatic hormonal changes that occur after a woman gives birth can contribute to short-lived “baby blues” or conditions like postpartum depression. How can women prepare for this major hormonal transition? There’s no way to truly imagine how it will feel until you go through it – and not every woman will experience mood swings during this time. However, Motherly suggests eating healthy fats, whole carbohydrates, and plenty of protein, and taking a high-quality multivitamin if your doctor recommends it. Now’s also the time to put away sugary snacks and drinks and focus on choosing healthy options like fruit and smoothies, even when you’re on the go.
Manage Breastfeeding Discomfort and Issues
Breastfeeding can be a powerful way to bond with your baby, but many women are caught off guard when they realize just how uncomfortable it can be at first – and how easily complications can develop. To feel your best while breastfeeding, Medela recommends working with a lactation consultant, having your baby checked for tongue ties, trying different breastfeeding positions, using breast shells, and soothing cracked or sore nipples with lanolin. If breastfeeding proves exceedingly difficult for you, you might want to talk to your pediatrician about switching to formula.
It’s also best that you drink a lot of water while you are breastfeeding because it is easy to get dehydrated. Without adequate hydration, your milk supply can dip and you can feel sluggish. If you choose to drink caffeinated beverages while you breastfeed (which is still a debated topic), be careful about the amount of caffeine your drink contains because it is a diuretic. The more caffeine that’s in your beverage, the more your body will try to release additional fluids, which can make lactation harder.
Caring for Your Body
Many mothers worry about losing weight after giving birth, but it’s important to simply focus on nourishing your body while giving yourself time to rest and heal. Take this opportunity to accept your body as it is, and remind yourself of everything you’re capable of. You do not have to worry about working out at the moment. This is a time for bonding with your family. After all, you just created a human being! If you want to find ways to move, consider taking a walk around your neighborhood. If you are close enough to shops and stores to walk there, then do that, too. Any excuse to get outside and move your body is worth taking.
Healing After a C-Section
If you gave birth via C-section, you will need to follow special aftercare instructions. Make sure not to deviate from your doctor’s recommendations. While C-sections are performed routinely, this is still a major surgery that can take some time to heal. Therefore, don’t push yourself to get back to “normal” activity right away. Instead, Healthline.com recommends avoiding going up and down stairs if possible, resting whenever you can, holding your abdomen when you have to sneeze or cough, and sticking to gentle walks for exercise.
Furthermore, if you’ve had a C-section, it’s especially crucial to ask for help with routine tasks, as you shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy for a while. You will likely find that your favorite underwear doesn’t feel so comfortable right now., so consider purchasing some high waisted maternity panties. In the fourth trimester, comfort is key. And these styles have some added lace, which makes them feel a little nicer.
Preparing Work for Your Maternity Leave
It is important to take your maternity leave so that you can heal physically and bond with your new little one. Plus, you’ll find that a lot of things change after your baby arrives. It’s best to have time to adjust. It can feel impossible to leave work, but if you start planning early, you’ll have everything in place in plenty of time.
Let your customers and clients know that you will be out and tell them who they can contact during your absence. Delegate your tasks to other people and ensure they know how to manage things before you go out. If you are self-employed, you may also need to budget for this time off, as PTO is likely not an option. Check to see if you can cost by tapping into MERP money. If your budget allows, then hire a virtual assistant during your leave. They can manage the basics and let you know if there is something urgent you need to address.
Increase Your Support Circle
This is also an excellent time to increase your circle of support. After all, you’ll need all the help you can get! Rallying friends and family to bring you needed support without sacrificing precious time with your new baby can be a delicate balance. Shaping an invitation that outlines your boundaries in a way that feels fun but clear can be key. You can try this free invitation maker that has easy-to-use templates that you can customize as needed.
Choose the Right Nursing Bra
Every pregnant woman knows that nursing bras are a must-have. In addition to offering quick access for nursing your baby, soft, stretchy bras are key for dealing with postpartum discomfort. The vast majority of mothers will notice changes in their cup size, and mothers with bigger busts will especially need bras that fit well. To find the right nursing bra, shop online at retailers, which offer a range of sizes for women with bigger bosoms. You should easily be able to find a nursing bra for larger busts all the way up to size 46I or Busty XXXL. Be sure to use a tape measure or online bra-fitting tool to help you find the right size.
Be Kind to Yourself During the Fourth Trimester
The postpartum period can bring joy, uncertainty, and exhaustion. While many women are familiar with postpartum depression, they might not be prepared for all of the other changes that can come with the fourth trimester. With these tips, you’ll feel more knowledgeable about everything from choosing the ideal nursing bra to soothing breastfeeding discomfort.