So you have your birth plan, but what about after baby comes? Have you thought of a postpartum plan?
No need to worry if you have not. Take a bit of time to sit down and think about what you may want things to look like postpartum. If this is your first baby, it may be hard to imagine. Ask a couple of close friends who will give you the "real deal" opinions on what they wish they would have thought of in prep for after baby arrived. If this is not your first postpartum experience, think back to what you would like to do a little differently, if anything. Here are a few things to consider.
🌸 Postpartum Doula- a postpartum doula can come to your home after baby to help with light household tasks, allow you to get a bit of self-care, and assist in meal prep, etc. In speaking with women who have had a postpartum doula, many have reported that they benefited emotionally as well as physically by having a trained doula visiting after returning home with baby.
🌸 Visitors- what is your preference on when visitors can come? Family, friends...?? Having your personal request in place and agreed upon with your spouse and other children can help to avoid stressful moments of too many visitors or visitors that interrupt schedule of mom and baby. Don't be afraid to set boundaries. Maybe there is a person or persons who you expect you will feel most comfortable talking to in the case that you feel emotionally off balance. Feelings of overwhelm, depression, anxiety, loneliness, panic, sadness and fear are common for many after delivery. There are also some women who report that they did not experience any of those feelings. It can be different for everyone. The important thing to know is that any struggle you feel emotionally or physically after having baby should not be kept secret out of embarrassment or fear of judgement. Many women have reported that once they discussed it with their spouse, their psychologist or counselor or a trusted family member or friend, they received assistance they needed. This is so important!!
🌸 Breastfeeding- Create a list of names and phone numbers of at least 3 lactation consultants who you can call if you need to. Collecting trusted suggestions and looking at client reviews prior to making your list will help you to feel comfortable in calling one in the midst of breastfeeding questions or problems. You can search your area for an IBCLC (board certified lactation consultant.)
🌸Provider List- Have a list of your providers names and contact information (phone, email, website, etc.) for easy access. Individuals to remember include: Midwife, OB, Doula, Pelvic Physical Therapist, Lactation Consultant, Psychologist/Counselor, Pediatrician.
🌸 Household Set-up- Will baby be in a bassinet with you in your bedroom? In their crib? Their own room? Might you have to transition to a couch or spare bedroom to allow for better position and movement for you? Now is not the time to be too worried about what your house looks like. Don't be afraid to place baskets of extra supplies in areas of the house that you might need them. Extra diapers and wipes in the living room...maybe two breastfeeding support pillows to have spread throughout the house...a basket of burp clothes in multiple rooms....a bassinet, pack and play, etc. in more than one room of the house..... Don't let it overwhelm you. Simply walk around to each room of the house and see how it is set-up for when you get back. Enough room to move around with baby in your arms? Resources within your reach?
🌸 Physical Healing- Birth is a major event. Your body will be healing as you now take on caring for baby. Typically, 6-8 weeks of healing time is expected for vaginal or cesarean delivery. Please know that this is the basic healing time from the birth itself (vaginal area or cesarean incision site). Your body as a whole takes much longer to begin to feel "normal." Your midwife or OB will see you at around 6 weeks post-delivery. If you are then cleared, make an appointment to see a pelvic Physical Therapist for core and pelvic evaluation.
👉Pain (abdominal pain, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse)
👉Difficulty with bladder or bowel (urine or fecal incontinence, constipation)
👉Back pain, tailbone pain, pubic symphysis pain
👉A cesarean incision site that needs scar massage and instruction on self-message
👉Optimal breastfeeding positions to prevent aches and pains
👉Guidance on postpartum exercise progression based on YOUR core and pelvic strength
This is a small list of what a pelvic PT can help you with. In many cases, seeing a pelvic PT during pregnancy can help with pain you are already experiencing and can provide you with valuable information to have for the postpartum time period. Include a pelvic PT in your pregnancy and postpartum plan. Check out my website for additional information and convenient online scheduling.
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of gathering published information, some researched, and years of practice experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare provider. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this web site. Information provided on this web site and the use of any services purchased from the web site by you DOES NOT create a doctor/therapist-patient relationship between you and Dr. Wilhelm.
Dr. Robyn Wilhelm, PT, DPT specializes in women's health and pelvic PT. An Ohio native, she enjoys Buckeye football and misses the Fall season. Dr. Robyn enjoys her life in Arizona and spending time with her husband, two kids and Chocolate Lab George.