You made it! You got through pregnancy, labour, birth and now you are in the “postpartum period.” If you’re like many women, you may find that this is the time that you have a bit of a knowledge gap when it comes to postpartum healing tips.
You probably did a lot of reading on what to expect at each stage of pregnancy, what steps you could take to optimize your health, what foods and drinks you needed and needed to avoid, what important nutrients in pregnancy you needed more of. You get the picture.
The same thing is probably true when it comes to labour and delivery. You most likely took a prenatal class where you learned what to expect during labour, different options for your birth and how to care for a newborn.
But who here took a postpartum recovery class? My guess is no one. No one prepares you for what to expect for yourself postpartum. The focus is all on the pregnancy and birth with the assumption that things will just go back to normal once the baby is born.
But the truth is, this thought process couldn’t be further from the truth - hence the need for this postpartum survival guide!
Many women are shocked at just how exhausted they are postpartum. You may encounter issues with your thyroid gland, or be left with low levels of iron after delivery. You may not realize how much you need to rest and are pushing yourself too hard when you should be focusing on postpartum recovery.
In today’s blog post, I am going to go over some simple postpartum healing tips and actionable steps you can take to help your body function optimally during the postpartum period.
Top 10 Postpartum Healing Tips to Feel Your Best in the First 6 Weeks After Birth
Focus On Easily Digestible Foods
Nutrient rich foods that do not make the digestive system work over time are your friend when it comes to postpartum recovery. Reach for soups, stews and bone broth (high in iodine, magnesium and calcium). One of my favorite postpartum healing tips? Prep these foods in advance so you don’t have to worry about cooking the first few weeks.
Ditch The Coffee
Before you throw something at me, hear me out. I know you’re tired...like, next-level tired. But coffee (and other higher sources of caffeine) can put a strain on your adrenal glands, cause blood sugar spikes, jitters, increase irritability and negatively impact the little sleep you may be getting. Coffee can also be irritating to a baby's digestion if you’re breastfeeding.
But never fear, there are some coffee alternatives to try! These include green tea, nettle tea, red raspberry and mother’s milk tea if supply is an issue. Avoiding coffee may be one of the hardest postpartum healing tips to follow, but it’s an important one.
Focus on Fluids
Staying hydrated is important for breast milk production and your postpartum recovery. Drinking plenty of water is helpful (6-8 glasses/day). It is also a good idea to add some lemon to water and/or drink cranberry juice in water as it helps to alkalinize the urine and reduce the risk of UTIs.
This is one of the easiest postpartum healing tips to follow, but it’s an important one! Your body has just gone through a hugely stressful event. If you are also breastfeeding, your nutrient demand is way up. Continuing on your prenatal vitamins helps to ensure you have your bases covered and that you’re getting all the important nutrients to support you and your baby.
Take Fish Oil/Omega 3s
Fish oil and Omega 3s can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression. They are also a great anti-inflammatory and can help support your thyroid postpartum. When you’re focusing on postpartum recovery, reducing inflammation is key.
Get Probiotics Into Your Diet
One of the best postpartum healing tips is to focus on supporting your digestion and immune system. In fact, newer research is linking a lack of bacterial diversity in the intestines to an increased risk of anxiety and depression. Taking a probiotic supplement and focusing on eating probiotic-rich foods are great ways to support your body during postpartum recovery.
Focus on Vitamin C
Vital for tissue healing and maintaining your immune system, Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement or obtained via foods. Getting plenty of this nutrient is one of best postpartum healing tips for new moms.
Foods that are high in vitamin C are: oranges, red pepper, kale, strawberries and raspberries. Smoothies can be a great way to get these foods into your diet and makes them easier to digest.
Don’t Forget Iron
You probably heard a lot about iron during pregnancy, since so many women face anemia when pregnant. But getting enough iron is one of the vital postpartum healing tips, too.
If you had a lot of blood loss with your delivery, for example, it could have impacted your iron levels. If you are feeling very tired (more than you think you should be) it is a good idea to get your ion, vitamin B12 and thyroid levels checked. A Naturopathic Doctor can do this for you.
Eat Some Prunes
Yes, you read that right! Prunes are your friend the first 6 weeks postpartum. Your first bowel movement post birth is something everyone dreads. Eating 1-2 prunes/day along with inulin fibre, will make it smooth sailing.
Try a Sitz Bath Soak
Although not mainstream yet, using a sitz bath soak is one of the best postpartum healing tips out there. You definitely want to get your hands on one! A Sitz Bath Soak is a blend of herbs that you steep and add either to a sitz bath (a small bath that fits over your toilet seat) or to your bathtub. They are designed to help tissues heal faster, reduce inflammation, and help ease discomfort.
Need More Postpartum Recovery Tips?
Now that you’ve read our postpartum survival guide, you’re ready to put these postpartum healing tips into action in your first 6 weeks after birth. But of course, postpartum is never easy.
Read these other postpartum tips for even more support:
- Understanding Your Postpartum Body
- How to Feel Your Best Postpartum
- 4 Most Important Postpartum Supplements To Take
- Postpartum Hair Loss & Supplements That Help
So there you have it! How were your first 6 weeks postpartum? Was it what you were expecting? Please leave a comment below.
Dr Alexis practices via telemedicine and is accepting new patients who live in Ontario. To book your appointment, click here.
Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended healthcare benefits.