By Raising Children Network
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Rest and recovery after birth

Healing takes time so try to rest;  lie down flat when you rest; try to avoid lifting.
  • Healing after birth takes time. Balance rest and activity. If you do too much, you might feel aches, pains, throbbing or heaviness in your pelvic area.

  • Daytime rest is essential for new mums. Lie flat when you rest. An ice pack can help with pain, swelling and healing in the early days after the birth.

  • Try to avoid lifting other children, lots of wet washing, prams, shopping bags and other heavy things.


Taking care of yourself after birth

Change your baby at the right height; get comfortable when breastfeeding; take care of your pelvic floor.
  • Avoid neck and back pain by changing your baby at the right height – for example, at a change table. Always keep one hand on your baby to stop her wriggling off. Avoid bending down to the floor.

  • When breastfeeding, relax your neck and shoulders. Support the lower part of your back with a rolled-up towel. Use arm rests or a cushion under your arms, and have both feet flat on the floor.

  • Take care of your pelvic floor. Avoid straining when you have a bowel movement – take your time, lean forward with a straight back and relax. Have high-fibre cereals, fruit and vegetables, and extra water.

Gentle exercise for recovery after birth

Ask your health professional about starting gentle exercise; as you get back to normal, try walking, swimming, Pilates or yoga.
  • Do gentle exercises for your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Rock your pelvis while lying down. When standing, roll your pelvis in a circle. This will make you more comfortable, improve your bladder control and help you get your figure back.

  • Return to exercise slowly, and avoid intense or heavy exercise. Also avoid exercises that strain your pelvic floor and abdominals for at least 12 weeks. Talk to your GP or a physiotherapist about the right exercise for you.

  • After a while, try walking, swimming, Pilates or yoga. Everyone’s recovery is different. Your recovery might take longer if you’ve had a caesarean section, difficult labour or other issues like abdominal separation.

  • Last updated or reviewed 13-12-2016