Skip directly to content

Tips for new moms

For years, Preparation H has been helping new moms relieve the discomfort of hemorrhoids. Now, we'd like to offer some insight into, and advice on, new motherhood.

The Physical Changes

  • Episiotomy. If you have an episiotomy, it will take about two weeks for your stitches to dissolve. Sitting on the stitches may be uncomfortable, even painful. If so, try sitting on an inflatable cushion or rubber ring. Taking sitz baths once or twice a day can prevent infection, accelerate healing and relieve your pain. (A sitz bath is a warm-water bath that covers only the hips and buttocks.) While moving your bowels, hold a clean pad against your stitches. Avoid constipation by eating a diet rich in fibre.
  • Weight Loss. You'll probably lose between 7 and 12 pounds immediately after the birth of your baby - that's the total weight of your baby, amniotic fluid and placenta. In the days and weeks ahead, you'll lose excess fluid in the tissues and circulation (another 2 to 3 pounds) and the weight of your uterus will drop from 2 pounds to 2 ounces. Odds are, you'll still have weight you want to lose. To lose that weight, follow a reasonable diet. Non-breast feeding women need 1500-2000 calories a day; women who breast feed need about 2000-2500 calories a day. Avoid crash diets. Limit your fat intake to under 30% of your total calories. Eat more carbohydrates and more fruits and vegetables. Watch the size of your protein portions - red meat and cheese mean extra fat. Count on losing only 1/2 to 1 pound a week. It will take several weeks to return to your correct weight. Be patient - you will get there.
  • Exercise. While you should avoid strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks after you have given birth, you should try to set aside a few minutes each day for exercise. Exercise is essential for getting the muscles of the abdomen and pelvic floor back to normal. It also helps you feel more energetic, keeping you fit to care for your new baby.

    The Kegel exercise

    This is a very effective and very easy exercise to tighten vaginal muscles after childbirth. Simply tighten your vaginal muscles as you would if you needed to stop urinating midstream, hold it for a few seconds, release and repeat several times. It's great because no one but you knows you are doing it - and you can do it practically anytime.

    Postnatal Exercises

    Postnatal exercises are specifically designed to help your body return to its pre-pregnancy shape in the days and weeks following childbirth. Your doctor or nurse may recommend one suited for your needs.

    Aerobic Activity

    Once you feel up to it, start an aerobic activity - it can help build endurance, reduce body fat, improve your self-esteem and just make you feel better. Choose an activity that you enjoy and can stick with. Running, cycling, swimming, aerobic dance and walking are all excellent. Aim for three 20 minute exercise sessions every week. Increase the intensity and duration of exercise when you're ready.

    For a well-rounded exercise routine, combine your aerobic exercise with a strength training program.

    Always check with your doctor before starting any diet, exercise or weight loss plan.

The Emotional Changes

  • The Blues and Postpartum Depression. It's not unusual to feel depressed and tearful for a few days after delivery. But if those symptoms persist, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. Symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, paranoia and acute depression, and can leave you unable to take care of yourself or your baby. If you feel like you're suffering from postpartum depression, consult your doctor immediately. The best way to handle the stress and responsibilities of new motherhood is to talk about them. Going without help may make your depression worse. Prompt treatment means prompt recovery.
  • Bonding. The relationship with your baby begins the second he or she is born. Get to know your baby through eye-to-eye and skin-to-skin contact.
  • Rest and Sleep. Fatigue is all too common in new mothers. Get plenty of sleep and rest - and go easy on yourself. It takes time for your body to adjust to not being pregnant. To get back to normal quickly, try these tips:
    • If you're tired, stop what you're doing and lie down with your feet slightly raised above your head.
    • Take a nap whenever your baby is sleeping.
    • Maintain a balanced diet.
    • Drink lots of fluids.
    • Eat meals and snacks that require little preparation - salads, sandwiches, fruits and yogurt.
    • Have someone help you around the house so that you can rest during the day.
    • Take your phone off the hook and discourage visitors if you're not up to socializing.