When my husband and I were expecting our first baby, I vividly remember going to the local bookstore to dive into the pregnancy books to learn all about this strange thing called pregnancy. A few months later, I had that little panicked feeling inside that said 'Wait! We are going to have a BABY! Forget pregnancy, how am I going to take care of a tiny human?'. 9 years ago, we didn't yet have Pinterest, so it was back to the bookstore. I read all about the Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr Sears, What to Expect the First Year, and on and on. But looking back, I didn't do ONE OUNCE of researching or learning about how to take care of ME after having a baby. In fact, my husband and I were actually pretty ok with staying in denial about the whole birthing process. (This was before I specialized in pelvic PT). Where were the books on this? I'm sure I would have seen at least ONE?!
So I eventually had said baby (with a leg I broke 2 weeks before... long story for another blog) and boy were we in for it! Not only did I have this big cast on my right leg and I had to use crutches, so much had just happened down there and I was clueless how to care for an area of my body that I really honestly tried to ignore or just couldn't see for most of my life. I had stitches to contend with and a bladder that was in shock after having a baby push against it for about three and a half hours of pushing.
Fast forward to now, and I have recently had a third cute little baby and I have noticed a lot more information on the internet and Pinterest world about perineum care. Yah! I love the direction things are going with this. So I see lots of blog posts from moms who have had a baby about what to BUY and what to pack in that infamous hospital bag. But I don't see too much about what women should be doing to care for themselves. Often after we come home with baby, we have visitors and people wanting to hold the baby and some help with the household things that the new mama is ill equipped to manage early on. Most women are completely on their own once they get home to take care of their nether regions without much guidance. And don't get me started on nursing and the pains that come with that! So I am posting a list here of both things to get and things to do in the first 2 weeks to care for yourself. Take this as both advice from a fellow mother of three who did not have an easy labor or recovery with any as well as a pelvic PT who is quite passionate about educating and helping as many new moms as she can.
This list has both essentials to GET as well as what to DO to care for yourself. This is the basics for the first two weeks. Because getting through the first two weeks is a big deal. For some reason, we usually start to feel more ourselves after the first 2-3 weeks.
If you are reading this and expecting for the first time, I don't mean to scare you. Knowledge is power my lady friends and it's hard to take care of ourselves, if we don't even know what we don't know!
This whole mama journey is a crazy, amazing, and beautiful. Let's just help each other get through the first little bit with more information to empower us as we embark into the unknown.
Be sure to keep in contact with your doctor or midwife if anything feels wrong or you don't feel like you are healing in the first 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you may REALLY want to consider seeing a pelvic PT such as myself for a whole mama postnatal assessment to help steer your body in the right direction in getting your body back. Don't be like the generations before us that had issues after babies and never sought the care they desperately needed to move forward.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to contact me! I LOVE helping other mamas out.