I recently answered a few questions on my Instagram stories about labor and postpartum recovery. One of the topics requires an awful lot of explanation so I thought why not write a detailed blog post on my thoughts.
Q: What can be done during pregnancy to help ensure a healthy labor and speedy postpartum recovery.
My answer to that is this … everybody is different and responds differently to labor and the 4th trimester. I did all the things — exercised daily, ate healthy meals, did acupuncture and chiropractic, did lots of squats and walking, perineal massage, took my vitamins, ate dates, drank red raspberry leaf tea, used evening primrose and opted for a natural birth.
All these things are on your side when done under the supervision of your provider. They all have been proven in some way to help with labor and postpartum recovery. I did everything right. But I’m a very good example that labor isn’t black and white. You can do all the things and still have things happen that make labor unpredictable (like a 30+ hour labor that ended up in a transfer). Originally, I believed that because I was super active and fit that I’d only be pushing for a short time. However, that wasn’t the case for me. I actually pushed for almost 3hrs. You just never can predict how things will unfold when it comes to birth.
Nevertheless, I recommend all the above (as long as it’s cool with your doc). I wouldn’t change a thing. Who knows how labor would have gone for me if I hadn’t done those things. If you’re wanting some helpful tips when it comes to labor … I highly recommend this podcast by Aviva Romm. I loved her episode on herbs for an easier labor.
As for postpartum recovery, that also depends on how your body responds to labor and what kind of labor you had. Mine was uber long. BUT thank goodness I didn’t tear or have an episiotomy. Even still though, it took me longer than most my friends to feel up for a walk. I didn’t start going for walks until 4w postpartum. And here we are, almost 6w out and I’m still having some postpartum bleeding, which for some only lasts a week or so.
I think the overall theme here, as with most things I write about is that birth and postpartum recovery is really individualized. I had a lot of tips and tricks up my sleeve but in the end … Logan was still two weeks late, my labor was v v v long and my postpartum recovery has been slow. The best thing you can do for yourself if you’re expecting is to tune in, take care of yourself the best way you know how, research ways that inspire you to have the healthiest pregnancy, be your own advocate and embrace the changes + journey.
A few things I found to be really helpful in terms of postpartum care would be the following products below:
- Earth Mama Spray
- Peri Bottle
- Sitz Bath
- Vagina Gel Ice Packs
- Invest in some period undies
- Postpartum compression leggings