Although bed rest may not be necessary, it is important to rest as much as possible after normal delivery. Pregnancy and childbirth can be overwhelming physically, mentally, and emotionally, and you need to go easy on yourself and get plenty of rest in order to recover completely.
All women are different, and healing times will vary from person to person. So talk to your doctor about what kind of activities you can do and how much rest you should get.
12 tips for faster recovery after normal delivery
- Listen to your body. You don’t need to confine yourself to bed. If you feel up to it, take a walk outside or do Kegel exercises, both of which can be good for your mental and physical health.
- Avoid stairs. Avoid going up and down the stairs for about a week after delivery.
- Avoid heavy lifting. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby. If you want to do weight-training exercises, ask your doctor when you can start them.
- Don’t rush to lose weight. Some women feel pressured to lose baby weight as quickly as possible. Resist the urge to give into this pressure. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and how to achieve weight loss goals safely.
- Eat a nutritious diet. Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Regularly take any medications or supplements prescribed by your doctor.
- Get enough sleep. Try to sleep whenever your baby sleeps. Avoid having many visitors over for the first couple of weeks post-delivery.
- Keep your routine simple. This includes your baby care routine. Your baby needs to be kept clean and comfortable but does not need to be bathed every day. Limit house chores if you are just too tired. Your health is more important than making sure your house looks impeccable.
- Don’t skip doctor’s visits. Visit your doctor for scheduled checkups or more often if needed. Your doctor may ask you to come for a follow-up visit after a couple of weeks (generally 2-4weeks) of delivery.
- Accept help. Don't hesitate to accept help from your friends and family, whether it’s taking care of the baby, doing chores, or just for emotional support.
- Practice good hygiene. Hygiene measures include taking care of your perineal area including any stitches, as well as regular hand-washing after using the bathroom, changing your baby’s diapers, and before you have meals or feed your baby.
- Take care of your perineal area. Avoid douching or using tampons until you have had a check-up at four to 6 weeks after delivery. Vaginal intercourse must be avoided until your doctor allows it. You may have to wait for a few weeks till your perineal area heals completely.
- Seek professional help if needed. If you are feeling extremely depressed even after 2 weeks post delivery, or if you notice disturbing signs such as vaginal bleeding, foul-smelling discharge, and fever, talk to a doctor.
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Johns Hopkins Medicine. What Really Helps You Bounce Back After Pregnancy. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-really-helps-you-bounce-back-after-pregnancy
Nemours Children's Health. Recovering From Delivery. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/recovering-delivery.html