Our American culture is definitely not one which is friendly to postpartum mothers. After birth, mothers need lots of time to rest, sleep, cuddle and nurse their new babies, and just generally rest from the work of giving birth. Particularly if the birth was via cesarean, rest is vital to the healing process!
We sometimes expect new mothers to be up running errands within a day or two of giving birth or leaving the hospital. But the risks of getting “up and around” too quickly are very costly, and this is the perfect time to snuggle up with your baby and get to know him or her! Inadequate rest after birth has been linked with the development of postpartum depression and early-onset osteoporosis.
Below are some common tips I’ve collected from midwives over the years to help optimize healing after birth.
Spend five days IN the bed. Immediately after giving birth, you should leave the bed ONLY to empty the bladder. Meals should be eaten in bed, and the main focus should be feeding and bonding with baby.
Spend five days ON the bed. Get up to go to the bathroom, get a drink, or grab a quick snack. No standing up to cook an entire meal!
Spend five days AROUND the bed. Eating meals at the table is okay at this point, as is sitting on the sofa and hanging out with visitors. Still, no housework.
Even after your fifteen days of rest are over, be extremely conscious not to overdo things. Flow of lochia (postpartum bleeding) should steadily decrease. If bleeding increases at any point, go back one step.