Photo by Camylla Battani
What exactly is the postpartum phase?
The meaning of the Latin word postpartum means “bringing forth” or “after birth”. It's such an appropriate word for such a monumental time in your life.
You are literally bringing forth out of your body. The entire pregnancy you prepare your mind and your body for the birth. But what happens after birth, what about you?
The consensus among most of us is this; Postpartum ='s getting your body back into shape. Fitting into your jeans. Wearing something non-spandex and bouncing back.
But is this what it is supposed to be? Are we supposed to be so focused on body image that we forget that…Hell, we just brought forth life.
Many times from our vagina. OUR VAGINA PEOPLE! And sometimes those little stinkers are literally cut out of us.
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
We make a small commission from some of the links (you don’t pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we love ’em and want you to know about them. Click here for our full disclosure. Thank you!
What about your body?
How do you take care of the vessel which is bringing forth, which is wracked from birth, lack of sleep, and well, just about everything?
So, here's a thought, let's talk about what you can do to prepare and be as ready as you can be for the fourth trimester.
Preparation For The Postpartum Phase
The first thing I want to encourage you to do is to prepare for the postpartum period. If you have been reading along on the blog, then you know that I am all about education and preparation.
Related Post: Postpartum vaginal delivery Kit with all the stuff!
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Self Care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve othersfrom the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. –Eleanor Brown
I would highly recommend you take our childbirth class to prepare for both the labor and the postpartum phase of pregnancy. My course not only educates you but also empowers you through a powerful online community and private app. We meet every week for our “happy hour” hangout, where you share your ups and downs and we support you.
Education is the key to success in whatever you do! I know, I say it all the time but it's true. I also recommend a breastfeeding class as well.
No matter which way you go, in person or online, take some classes!
Prepare Yourself Emotionally
Buy a journal and start the practice of journaling. Get those mixed feelings, fears, and anxiety onto paper now, while you have some time.
Find something that helps you emotionally. What is your safe place? For me, it's reading my Bible and journaling. Whatever is your happy place, find it and use it. I love to write out scripture as prayer and pray them over my stress and anxiety.
Prepare Yourself Physically
I can not stress this one enough. Pregnancy, Birth, and the postpartum phase are demanding on your body. You should be taking care of this body of yours which will bring forth life.
- Prepare your body during pregnancy for labor and birth through physical movement. Not only does it prepare your body for the workout we call labor, but it also preps your body for the postpartum phase. Get moving. Set a goal to get in at least 5k steps, 10k is better but do what you can. Join the YMCA and get into the pool. Swimming is a fantastic way to prepare your body for labor and birth. (It's also great for turning a baby who is not head down!) Read my post on ways to prepare your body for birth, it's more than I've listed here!
- Prepare your body through nutrition. One of the most recommended herbal teas to consume during pregnancy is Red Raspberry Leaf tea. I drank this religiously throughout my pregnancies, after 32 weeks. It became a daily comforting ritual and I will admit, I had pretty smooth labors.
- Nettle tea is another tea I say drink daily. (throughout the postpartum phase as well.) Why? It relieves those pesky leg cramps and aids in kidney functioning. It is high in vitamins A, C, D and K, as well as, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and sulfur.
- Continuing with the theme of healthy eating, if you have ever considered cleaning out your system, now is a great time to start. The amount of toxins and preservatives we consume is out of control. I am not suggesting a detox. Just limiting or removing the bad stuff. Try to begin cleaning out that pantry and fill it with healthier alternatives. I began to do this myself recently and the results are nothing short of miraculous. Choose to buy foods with fewer ingredients. I check the label on everything nowadays. Check out a whole 30 or a Daniel Fast plan for more ideas.
Discuss any and all nutritional changes with your provider
Rest is Good for the Soul
Ok, sister, you are about to have a baby. I know this is probably a moot point if you are American. Unfortunately, most women in America work right up until the moment they give birth.
Me at work, birthing babies before I had my sweet boy!
You should begin to practice habits that promote rest NOW!
Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is critical during labor, birth, and parenting (lol, but true). This is the only breathing you need for labor. I promise.
Place your hand on your tummy. Close your eyes and feel your rhythm of breathing.
Now, Breathe in through your nose, taking over 5 seconds, and exhale through your mouth, again taking 5 seconds. Literally pushing the air out your mouth.
Prepare Your Pelvic Floor
Okay, this is another topic for a long post. But girl, you need to get on this, like yesterday. Your pelvic floor is so critical. It is like a sling that holds the bladder. the uterus and the rectum in place.
Um…hello, we want those to stay in place, right?
So let's tighten those pelvic floor muscles. It's important to prepare your pelvic floor for…yep you guessed it…Pushing!
Enter Kegel Exercises!
Begin by going pee and emptying your bladder. Then you act like you are going to pee and hold it, hold that muscle for 10 seconds, and release. Do this a few times. Be sure not to tighten the rectum or the thighs. Do the exercises a few times a day.
Tip: If you want to know for sure you are tightening the correct muscles, stick your finger in your vagina. It's ok, we are getting comfy with those bodies up in here.
This is pretty simple and straightforward. You lay on your back with your hands on your pelvis. Begin by making a triangle with your hands from your hip bones to your pubic bone. Your hands should be level and not tilted up or down in any way.
Knees are bent and your shoulder-width apart, then slide one heel on the ground, straighten your leg, and slowly bring it back to bent. Be sure that your pelvis is in a neutral position, not tilted up or down. Do 10 on each leg.
Stand against the wall, feet shoulder-width apart, and slide down into a sitting position. Build up to holding for 30-60 seconds.
Bonus tip: Trying doing your Kegels in this position.
Sex is a great way to engage and prepare your pelvic muscles. Try doing Kegels during sex and your partner can measure your progress. It's a win-win because semen is also great to prepare that cervix.
Be on the lookout for Part 2: Getting Your Nest Prepared For the Postpartum Phase
I planned on doing this in one article, but this topic is just so darn important to me. I see so many women obsessing with their body changes during pregnancy and then the baby, both of which are super important. But what about you, after birth, what about the period after birth, the postpartum phase is not to be forgotten.
So, that being said, bear with me. I am going to throw this at you in smaller waves.
Next will be how to prepare your home and environment for a healing postpartum phase.
Comment and tell me, what was (will be) your biggest challenge after the baby and during the postpartum phase of pregnancy?