Postpartum Recovery: What To Expect, Plus 10 Tips For Healing
Congratulations! Months of pregnancy and long hours of delivery are now behind you, and you’re holding your new baby in your arms! But the transition from pregnancy to postpartum recovery comes with more than just a baby.
If you’re wondering what your postpartum recovery might look like, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, the experts at Mustela talk about what to expect and offer tips for healing so you can enjoy this time with your new little one!
The First Week Of Postpartum Recovery
The first week after delivery will be an adjustment for everyone involved. And it will most likely be the most difficult time in your postpartum recovery journey.
Your postpartum recovery may look different from other moms’. Don’t worry; that’s normal! Your experience will depend on the type of delivery you had: vaginal or cesarean, easy or difficult, and long or short.
Other individual factors can also play a role in your recovery, but no matter what, be prepared for some (if not all!) of the following:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal cramps
- Perineal discomfort or pain
- Pain around your incision (from a cesarean delivery)
- Discomfort sitting or walking
- Difficulty using the restroom
- Constipation for the few first days
- All-over achiness
- Breast discomfort and engorgement
- Sore or cracked nipples (Tip: Use our Nursing Comfort Balm to keep your skin comfortable while nursing! It moisturizes and protects your nipples, eases discomfort, and helps to replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding.)
- Stretch marks
In addition to physical changes, you can also expect some emotional changes, such as:
- Baby blues (postpartum depression)
- A mix of excitement and baby blues
- Anxiety about becoming a mom for the first time
- Frustration (especially when starting breastfeeding)
- Feeling overwhelmed by the physical and emotional changes
(Note: if you experience excessive bleeding, a fever, severe pains, or anything else that seems out of the ordinary, call your doctor right away.)
The First Six Weeks Of Postpartum Recovery
Your body is slowly healing. Give it time! It went through a nine-month change and did some serious work. (You will eventually feel like yourself again!)
At this point in your postpartum recovery, you may be dealing with some physical side effects, such as:
- Continued period-like vaginal bleeding
- Some continuing pain in your perineum
- Diminishing incision pain and continued numbness (if you had a cesarean delivery)
- Gradual easing of constipation and hemorrhoids
- Gradual weight loss and decrease in swelling
- Joint pain
- Breast discomfort and nipple soreness until breastfeeding is well established
- Hair loss
The emotional changes you may experience during this time in your postpartum recovery include:
- Combination of excitement and moodiness
- Feeling overwhelmed by your baby’s demands
- Feeling confident in your new role
What To Expect At Your Postpartum Checkup
After delivery, your doctor will advise you to go ahead and schedule your postpartum checkup. They usually suggest coming into the office around four to six weeks postpartum.
Your doctor will ask you several questions and ask if you have any questions, but they will also take a look at your:
- Blood pressure
- Uterus size
- Episiotomy site
- Incision site (for cesarean delivery)
Anticipate the following questions from your doctor:
- Have you been dealing with any feelings of anxiety or depression?
- What method of birth control do you plan on using? (If you don’t want to get pregnant again immediately, that is.)
- Are you having any pains?
- Are you still having any bleeding or discharge?
Don’t forget to prepare your own list of questions for your appointment! It’s best to have your questions jotted down on paper so you don’t have to call or come back for another appointment should you forget something.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to call your doctor any time during your recovery with other questions you may have. And reach out right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Large amounts of bright red bleeding any time after the first postpartum week
- Thoughts of self-harm or wanting to harm others
- Severe pain
- Engorged breasts and a fever
- Any other symptoms that you’re concerned about
10 Tips For Healing During Postpartum Recovery
Like we mentioned earlier, your body will need some time to heal after giving birth. Don’t be hard on yourself when things aren't returning to normal as soon as you’d like — and that includes the emotional things, too.
Follow the 10 healing tips below for taking care of your body and your mind.
1) Use Ice
During the first 24 hours after delivery, use chilled witch-hazel pads along with an ice pack to reduce swelling and bring soothing relief. Apply to your affected site every couple of hours.
2) Practice Kegel Exercises
To promote healing, stimulate circulation, and improve muscle tone in your vaginal area, do Kegel exercises.
You can perform these exercises right after delivering your baby. And know that progress is being made even if you can’t feel anything at all (due to the numbness).
3) Get Moving
A healing body is a healthy body. And a healthy body is a body in motion.
What’s more, exercise boosts endorphins, so it’s good for your body and your mind. With the green light from your doctor, find a postpartum exercise class or start small by taking daily walks.
Remember that any movement is a win! We’re not looking for leaps and bounds. Your post-pregnancy body will come with small, continuous steps.
4) Treat Your Skin
Healing will take place whenever you feel good about yourself, and our Body Firming Gel can help you get to that point! This post-pregnancy product hydrates your skin and gives it a firmer look and overall feel.
Another amazing product for postpartum healing is our Bust Firming Serum. It nourishes your skin and gives it a feeling of firmness!
5) Stay Calm
This is important for all moms, but especially if you’re breastfeeding. Stay relaxed by doing breathing exercises throughout the day. Taking deep breaths will help heal your body and mind.
A calm mom is a healthy mom!
6) Eat Well
Start healing from the inside out. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to take care of yourself.
Focus on fruits and vegetables as well as foods that are high in protein. These types of foods will energize your body. And you’re going to need all the natural energy you can get!
7) Ask For Help
Now is the perfect time to let your mom, sister, friend, or in-laws lend a helping hand. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) do it all right off the bat.
Ask for help with housework, grocery shopping, or caring for the baby so you can take a nap, shower, or just have some downtime!
8) Cry And Then Laugh
If you need a good cry, go for it! We all need to let the tears flow sometimes. But don’t stop there. Find something that makes you laugh or lightens your mood.
Both crying and laughing are therapeutic in their own ways. But remember, laughter is the best medicine!
9) Keep At It
Whatever progress you’re making, keep at it! We know it can get discouraging when you’re not seeing results right away, but don’t let that stop you. You can do it, mom!
10) Give Yourself Time
Give yourself time to heal. On this crazy parenting journey, you’ll have ups and downs. Focus on the ups and cut yourself some slack!
Postpartum Recovery: Bouncing Back
Bouncing back to your pre-baby self — mind and body ― is going to take work and time. And your postpartum recovery journey is going to look different from other women’s.
Our advice? Embrace your postpartum body. After all, it did create a human being! And if you want to treat your skin, try Mustela’s post-pregnancy skin care products.
For example, our Stretch Marks Serum is a soothing serum that hydrates your skin to help minimize the appearance of recently formed stretch marks. And this is just one of many postpartum products we’ve designed to support you in your journey!
So grab your skin care items, and remember our 10 tips for healing — like eating well and asking for help — to start your road to recovery!