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  Recovering From Delivery

Recovering From Delivery – How to Speed Up the Healing Process

In many ways, celebrity mothers do us a great disservice by showing up only weeks after childbirth, wearing their pre-pregnancy jeans and looking as fit and healthy as ever.  This is a disservice because these women have a team of nannies, chefs and personal trainers all at their disposal to help them through the recovery process.  Of course, they have to regain their figures quickly, since part of their job is maintaining their image.  In the real word, however, recovering from childbirth may take a little longer, although it is possible to speed up the healing process.

The best way to recover from delivery quickly is to go into delivery in as healthy a state as you can.  This means eating healthy food, getting plenty of liquids, being well rested and staying active throughout your pregnancy.  The better you feel when labor and delivery start, the quicker you’ll bounce back after delivery.

The same habits that kept you healthy before delivery will speed your healing process after delivery. To start, you’ll need to continue to eat a healthy diet, although if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need some additional calories. For your first few days after delivery, choose foods high in fiber to help you avoid constipation and painful bowel movements. Your doctor may prescribe a stool softener for the first week after delivery, especially if you had an episiotomy during delivery. Make sure that you get plenty of fluids to drink, especially if you’re breastfeeding. And for the first few weeks, when the baby is sleeping, you should be sleeping – or at least resting – if at all possible.

For the first 24 hours or so after birth, you may experience fairly heavy bleeding. This bleeding, called lochia, usually slows to more like a regular period and may continue for several weeks, tapering off to a light, brownish flow. If you notice a sudden increase in bleeding, it may mean that you need more rest. However, if you suddenly start passing considerably more blood, have trouble breathing, feel dizzy or faint, or start running a fever; call your health care provider immediately. In addition, don’t use tampons during this time.

If you had an episiotomy, you’ll need to care for your perineal area. You’ll need a squirt bottle for perineal irrigation; the place where you deliver will likely provide you with one. After each time you urinate or have a bowel movement, use the irrigation bottle to thorough rinse your perineal area with warm water. Pat dry gently. In addition, avoid squatting or putting pressure on your perineal area while it’s healing.

Your health care provider may also suggest that you take a sitz bath if you have an episiotomy or hemorrhoids following birth. Some sitz baths involve a basin which fits under the toilet seat or your provider may just suggest that you sit in a warm bath several times each day. Both sitz baths and perineal irrigation can help your tissues heal more quickly, as will kegel exercises.

And surprisingly, breastfeeding your baby will help your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy state more quickly. Your health care provider may also suggest uterine massage to assist with this process.

In addition, if you’ve been on bed rest prior to delivery, it will take you some time to recover your stamina and strength. Be patient with yourself and spend your energy caring for yourself and your baby.

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