Postpartum and Staircases. Advice please. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My midwives came for my home visit last week. As of today, I am 37 weeks and 4 days.

Everything is great except that they are concerned because our only bathroom is on the second floor. They suggested I take the tv upstairs and stay up there. Basically, they said they didn't like me traversing the stairs in the first two weeks as it could lead to problems like a prolapsed bladder.

Well, I couldn't give a rat's ass about the tv. I want access to the kitchen, I have to let the dog in and out, my ferrets are in the dining room and my grandmother (two houses away) can't get upstairs to see me. (Also, my washer and dryer are in the basement...so there is that problem, too, since we'll be CDing.)

Now, I can see that they don't want me to go up and down stairs every hour or so, but what about having a commode on the first floor that I use all day, freshening up in the kitchen and going upstairs to go to bed at night. Would I be putting myself at increased risk by doing that?

My house is set up with a small living room with a loveseat and a chair. I can curl up comfortably for a nap there, but could not get a night's rest on the couch. There is not room for our king-size mattress on the first floor, simply not enough floor space. I could, potentially, borrow a full mattress and put it on the floor in the foyer, but that would be extremely inconvenient for a number of reasons.

All input is appreciated. I hadn't read this concern in any of my books or online, so when they mentioned it, it really surprised me.

Thanks!!

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#2 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 02:05 PM
 
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The house we lived in when dd was born had only one bathroom & it was upstairs. I just went about my normal business and did stairs VERY slowly-- going down hurt a lot more then going up! Something to remember, even though you will be peeing out a ton of fluids those first few weeks, you no longer have a head pressed firmly into your bladder, so you don't need to pee as often! I would also lay down with baby for 1-2 hours every time I went upstairs, then pee again before coming back down, so that minimized my trips.

Good luck
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#3 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 02:11 PM
 
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I think as long as you don't overdo it, you should be fine. Keep the trips up/down the stairs to once/twice a day would be fine. Go slowly.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#4 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 02:16 PM
 
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My great aunt warned me about steps, but I completely blew her off. I thought it was just an old wives tale. Guess I'll be more careful this time.
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#5 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 02:20 PM
 
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When I had ds#2 at home (in ahouse where the only bathroom was on the 2nd floor with the bedrooms), my midwife requested that I only traverse the stairs the number times I was PP. Meaning, one time on day 1 PP, two times on day 2 PP, 3 times on day 3 PP, and so on for the first week or so. I think it was an attempt to keep me upstairs resting (baby mooning ), than for any significant physical reason (like a prolaspe bladder), though I recall her talking about PP bleeding and that doing too much too quickly would prolonge bleeding.

I did stay upstairs for a few days (though I used my "stair time", but tried to stay within in her recommendations)and had ds#1 and DH bring me food and such. It really did offer me an opportunity/"excuse" to rest and be pampered for at least a few days before trying to "get back to business", which I highly recommend (if it is possible).

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#6 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 03:56 PM
 
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I guess if it were me, I would consider whether I had any other risk factors for prolapse, and ask what exactly the increased risk would be. (And what the likelihood that if it happened while I was climbing stairs, it would have happened anyway...because honestly it is hard for me to imagine something like climbing stairs capsizing pelvic floor muscles that were otherwise ok.)

My impression is that midwives in general are anxious to prevent women from pushing past their true comfort point because they feel they Have To (e.g. to take care of other people). Unless it sounds good to you or you have a special heath problem, it is hard for me to imagine how remaining confined to the second floor of your house like an invalid for 2 weeks would be good for your overall health! I think I would have been a lot more sore after dd's birth if I hadn't had a chance to get up and "walk it out". You are also going to be under a lot of stress if you can't do things like get yourself a drink or see your grandmother, or heck, see something other than your bedroom.

I have reservations about the whole "babymoon" thing and midwives' prescriptive love of it, but I'll spare you the rant. :-)

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#7 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate everyone's input on this so far, as it has concerned both DH and me. We don't want to frivolously and unnecessarily damage my body, but we don't want make me miserable for two weeks without it being a good idea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eminer
I have reservations about the whole "babymoon" thing and midwives' prescriptive love of it, but I'll spare you the rant. :-)
I would like to hear your rant on babymoons, eminer. PLEASE. It's something I'm trying to decide about right now, as my mother has offered to stay with me for the first few days after the birth to help out. She hasn't really said anything herself, other than the offer, but my grandmother has mentioned it more. I told her that I might want the help for a few days, starting a few days postpartum and my grandmother thought I was nuts. I said, but Shanon will be there and I think we might want a few days to get comfy as a family" and her reply was that he knew nothing about babies. (F*ck...he knows more than I do, having had cousins all over the place as opposed to me, only child being raised by only child of only child! But still, he doesn't know a lot, although he's loving, affectionate, helpful and all-around perfect ) Anyway, point is, my mom is pretty cool with what little she knows about AP, CD, etc. but she's certainly not crunchy. I know she never let me CIO, but wasn't a babywearer either. That sort of thing. I just don't know whether it'll be good to have her there or not. So, your opinion on babymooning is welcomed!! Please, lay it on me....off topic be damned.

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#8 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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I took it easy on the stairs and it did hurt to go up and down them, but I did it from day 3 of birth. I had a c-birth and was in the hospital for 2 days. I would listen to your body and just keep the stairs to a minimum. If you have help then I would have that person walk with you for the first few days for support. I know I did more than is recommended, even with my c-section, but feel it kept me moving around and helped the healing process.

I didn't go with the babymoon idea for my DD, my mom ws at our house for 2 weeks and we had friends and family stop by quite a bit. The friends helped out by cooking and some cleaning and my mom really helped me by being supportive without been judgemental. DH was home too but needed to work after a few days. We will be doing the same for DS when he comes!
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#9 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 05:09 PM
 
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Do you know about old-school care for tears? They used to tie your ankles and knees together with strips of cloth. You might keep that in mind as you hear the "modern" interpretation of the advice. It's an evolution, I think.
Keeping your legs together (the exact oppostite of climbing stairs) is a common recommendation for the days after birth to let the tissues and muscles heal without being stretched.
If you do go up and down the stairs a lot, you might try keeping your legs together the rest of the time (no lunges or splits!) to make up for it. And I think keeping a commode downstairs is a great idea. That way, if you don't feel like it, you don't have to go upstairs.

As far as baby moons, my preference is to keep my options open. The worst is to have your support coming from out of state, because you can't change your mind! They are either there or they aren't, and you can't fix it to your liking. With people so close, perhaps you can play it by ear? Tell them you'll call when you want or need the company, but you don't know when that will be? I'd refer to it as company, not help, but in actual practice you might need either.
It's tough to plan, too. You might really need someone to go to the supermarket or you might need someone to talk to you, across from your bed because you are stir crazy and feeling the insomnia of hormones.

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#10 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 05:45 PM
 
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Ok -- I'm not sure that this will be what you're looking for, but my rant about babymoons is basically that they are often recommended in a prescriptive, even pushy, way. This is just another well-intentioned instance of undermining women's *own* ability to figure out what *they* feel ready to do, what kind of help would be useful to them, what kind of space their families need to bond, etc.

When the babymoon thing comes up, it is almost always said that a period of postpartum confinement is nearly universal. This is supposed to imply that it's like breastfeeding or co-sleeping: lost to the western world, but actually the human norm and a wise tradition. However, as a religion person, I am wary of glossing over the cultural explanations people give of their own practices too quickly. Nearly universally, women are not confined after childbirth to
"recover" or bond. They're confined because of blood flow, ritual impurity, etc. Especially since a lot of the cultural examples people point to over and over are agricultural societies, I think it's important to bear in mind that *patriarchy is nearly universal*.

The interesting thing is that prescriptive confinement really never was lost to the western world. Western obstetrics originally had women stay in bed (and be cared for) for days and days after a normal birth, until it became apparent that it was causing a lot of potentially fatal blood clots. A lot of women are still told to keep their babies home for 6 weeks (or now sometimes 3) too keep them from getting sick, but as a firm rule, this is really a permutation of the evil eye. If doctors were serious about protecting babies in their underdeveloped immunity, they wouldn't suggest we birth them at hospitals or take them into pediatricians' offices. By comparison, the likelihood that a bug will jump off a random sick person and into the sling in which my newborn is wrapped, nursing, simply because we have gone outside, seems pretty remote.

Anyway, I am aware that there are many women who love the idea of staying inside with their babies for days or weeks, in a bathrobe, while other people do their laundry and dishes. I'm also aware that after a hard birth, women may need this to recover. More power to anyone who wants or needs it! But I draw the line at the prescriptive version: if you don't want to do this, you simply aren't in tune with the transformative nature of new motherhood, or you are risking your health or your baby's health. I was sick a lot as a child. Maybe because of that, I do not feel staying inside as intimate or "being taken care of" as nurturing. After dd was born, I felt fine (though sore from a *serious* workout, including my arms, which apparently found constantly carrying a 7-lb thing in that position novel :LOL), and I did not feel more able to bond while staying in bed or even inside my apartment. So instead of having my mom cook and do dishes, we all headed down the 4 flights of stairs and grabbed a bite at the diner. (I also ended up returning to grad school a few days after dd was born, which while it is the sort of thing that will get people shaking their heads at you, really was the best thing for all of us in our situation at the time.)

In my mind, anyone who is pressuring you in any way to handle the postpartum thing by a rule other than what sounds like it would be most comfortable for you, or what your own body and intuition are telling you at the time, or what your or your baby's personal concrete health actually requires, may simply want the best for you but should bug off. :-)

My mom -- also supportive but uncrunchy -- was at my dd's birth and stayed with us for about a week afterward. In retrospect, what I really wish is that I had communicated better ahead of time! She was all anxious about being useful, and the thing is that when you're breastfeeding, what you really don't need is someone to rock the baby for you (i.e. distract him/her from nursing). I just wanted us to be having a good time, intergenerationally bonding, and while I guess it was nice knowing she was there to weigh in if I had a problem or to do some dishes, I largely did not want help per se. I wanted her to carry dd so that dd could get to know her grandma, not because I was too tired or overwhelmed to carry dd. I also really hadn't made her aware of my expectations, how I wanted the birth to be, how I wanted to get home from the hospital, how I wanted to be with dd. We got to that discussion toward the end of the week, with a lot of hurt feelings in the meantime.

It is often said, "Don't turn down any offers of help." If it's going to stress you out, why not turn it down? Especially, I am wary of any help -- whether from your mom or a midwife or whoever -- offered in the spirit that since you do not yet know how to take care of a baby, you will naturally want help. It's like being coached during pushing. Your intuition does not suddenly turn off when your uterus starts shrinking. It can actually undermine your ability to tune in and connect in the way you need to, to your individual baby, if someone is in the background telling you what to do. It can also be a little manipulative: It's hard to turn down. Well no, I guess I *haven't* really taken care of a baby before, gee maybe I *don't* know what I'm doing, and if I want help I have to accept it in the form it's offered, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings... Dang it, other people are already getting plenty from you. Eventually it will be time to bring the baby to the grandparents' or invite everyone to the baptism or whatever. If they can't respect what you want for yourself in your own house for a few days after you give birth then pllllfffffffllllttt.

You know what works for you, or at least you will know when it begins working for you, in the situation at hand. Don't let anyone else tell you what *should* work for you. (Yeah, and don't let anyone else tell you not to let anyone else tell you what should work for you, either! If you want to let someone else tell you... Oh, never mind.)

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#11 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 06:03 PM
 
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eminer

ITA. As someone who went back to college two weeks pp, and couldn't have imagined not. It is a personality thing, and I'd rather take it easy around the house *and* get out of the house.

Sort of related to this topic, why did the hospital tell me not to drive after dd was born? It was either one or two weeks (C-section mamas were listed on the same little thing as 'no driving for six weeks') and I never could figure out what driving had to do with giving birth...

Kash, homeschooling mommy to Gillian (8/5/00) and Jacob (3/23/05)
and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
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#12 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 06:08 PM
 
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Think about this;
after birth of the placenta, there is an open wound the size of the placenta that needs to heal. As the uterus contracts, th wound shrinks, but as long as your bleeding, it's there. If you had a wound on the outside of the body that size you would certainly keep yourself in bed and let others care for you. Climbing stairs is tough on a sore perineum, and tough on those abdominl muscles after birth.
2 weeks seems a bit excessive to stay confined in your room, but for three days at least, staying close to your bed with your baby is to your benefit.
You will allow your body a good start towards healing. Staying in bed and nursing your baby will help you get breastfeeding off to a very good start. You do not need help with the baby. Taking care of the baby is your job. Anyone who wants to help you should be there to help YOU, by feeding you so you can feed the baby, cleaning the house so YOU can feed the baby, doing the laundry so YOU can feed the baby, taking care of the pets so YOU can feed the baby.

If your Mom comes to help, keep her interference to a minimum by taking lots of naps. "Mom, would you get me some water/tea/juice/food? Thanks, I'm going to take a nap now, turn off the light on your way out!" Get together some really great novels you have been dying to read, a Thermos for tea and water, some snacks in a cooler, and lay in bed and nurse your baby.

When people start calling with offers to help, have a list by the phone so you won't be tempted to say everything's fine! Bring me dinner, stop at the grocery store, do some laundry, vacuum the living room, walk the pets. Whatever needs to be done.


The easier you take it on yourself the first few weeks, the easier and more complete your healing will be. After about 2-3 weeks, the offers stop coming in, and you don't want to have burned yourself out trying to do everything yourself. And if you do, and ask for help, they're going to say, "What's up with her? She had that baby weeks ago! She should be over it by now!"


I'm also interested in eminer's opinion of babymooning!

edited to add, Ooops! eminer already did!
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#13 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 06:10 PM
 
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IMO, you'd be more likely to fall down the stairs than prolapse! Our bodies are so amazingly resilient, and we were built to birth!

I've never had any problem with stairs after my births. I wonder if perhaps they had a client w/a prolapse they attributed to stair climbing? To me, that's bizarre! Maybe Stairmastering, but a flight of stairs? Talk about giving the wrong impression......I love the advice to listen to your body, go easy on yourself and do what YOU want to do!

Or move

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#14 of 28 Old 12-02-2004, 10:17 PM
 
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post-partum and stairs--my favorite topic!

After ds's birth at 6:18 a.m., I went upstairs and my homebirth midwives mentioned, for the first time, that I should avoid stairs for the first post-partum week. : Wha? I bought two peri bottles--one for my upstairs bathroom, one for the main floor bathroom, 'cause I was so prepared.

At 36 hrs. post-partum, I took a field trip downstairs for dinner, carried by dh. That peek did show me that if I were downstairs, I would feel compelled to unload the dishwasher, just quick pick up this and that, etc., etc. So at least for the reason of relaxation and calm and taking care of my and baby's needs, "babymooning" is a good idea.

It was not until later during my post-partum, and indeed over the past year, that I have learned WHY exactly stairs are bad, because even my mws couldn't give me an excellent answer (or maybe they did, but I was in a fog.)

There are several factors that lead to pelvic organ prolapse, and everyone loves to talk about vaginal birth as being the Big Bad Prolapse Boogyman. I think that COULD be a factor in your standard PUSH*PUSH*PUSH*PUSH for 2 hours hospital birth nonsense, but not with every birth.

This obnoxious directed pushing causes increased intra-abdominal pressure, and could overstretch or overuse the muscles of the pelvic floor. Extra intra-abdominal pressure (during pushing during a birth, or in constipated old women) or weak pelvic muscles (overused during overzealous pushing, or in a sedinatry person) can cause proplapse.

But my favorite suspect in the prolapse possiblity is the unsung hero: the ligaments of the pelvic floor.

During pregnancy, and after birth, the ligaments that support the uterus and the muscles of the pelvic floor are LOOSE and highly vascularized (with a good blood flow.) According to my physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor muscle strength, this makes the ligaments prone to injury. If these ligaments are overstretched more than they already are, or are repeatedly overused, that can lead to permanant damage, as a ligament does not regain strength or heal like a muscle does.

This realization was huge for me: kegels will strengthen pelvic floor muscles, no matter what. Use a muscle, it will get stronger.

A ligament, however, won't get stronger by squeezing it. If you overstretch a ligament in your arm, doing bicep curls will not strengthen the ligament--and in fact, adding stress to a stretched-out ligament is how to break a ligament more. This is why football players get put on the injured list when they've sprained an ankle or shoulder or whatever the heck it is they do.

If a post-partum woman (vaginal birth, cesarian--as you can guess, IT DOESN'T neccessarily matter how baby was born; mama carried a pregnant uterus for 9 months--this is enough stress.) simply relaxes her body and lets it heal for a few days, a week, this allows the overstreched ligaments to heal without any undue stress.

So sttairs, with their bouncy moves and that they're often done while kind-of holding one' breath, are naughty, because they're a jarring activity, they increase intra-abdominal pressure, and the weight of the body is bouncing on the weak ligaments. Pushing a vacuum is another naughty-naughty, as this freakishly increases the intra-abdominal pressure, which puts stress on the pelvic floor.

In the case of a tear, good point Apricot--keep those legs together. It really does do the trick. Bodies are amazing.

I do not know the magic receipe for recovory, how many days of rest, or when resting leads to letting things get lazy. There comes a time when resting ligaments and muscles need to get back to work, to do what they do best.

Another reason to calm down post-partum was mentioned by sevenkids, as every post-partum mama has also got her womb to worry about. My hbmw explained that healing womb-wound as a soft scab. Post-partum bleeding, lochia, can be extended to a longer bleeding interval by interfering with the wound's scab--bending all the heck over, exhurtion, goofing around, can cause that little scab to loosen, and there's fresh blood on your pad.

I hope this sheds light on the seemingly bizzare "no stairs" rule. I also wonder why this is never adequately addressed in popular pregnancy/birth how-to books.
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#15 of 28 Old 12-03-2004, 12:53 AM
 
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tinyshoes, thanks for enlightening me! Anytime I hear a *rule* I have to question....just my personality . I have duplicates of most everything upstairs, so I do the minimal amount of stair climbing anyway (read:lazy). I tend to want to take it easy no matter what floor I'm on...and usually PP, all I want to do is gaze at .

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#16 of 28 Old 12-03-2004, 02:21 AM
 
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I'm lazy, too. I can't imagine being unable to restrain myself from doing my dishes! But I WISH. : I also must say I wasn't at all tempted to bounce up and down stairs right after giving birth. I took them slowly, because otherwise, it hurt.

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#17 of 28 Old 12-03-2004, 12:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia
Anytime I hear a *rule* I have to question....just my personality .
I hear ya...after the endless rules pregnant and birthing women are bombarded with from the OB/GYN department, I question any and all suggestions, midwife, OB, doula, friend or whoever.
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#18 of 28 Old 12-03-2004, 05:03 PM
 
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Gosh, with dd#1 my ob never even asked if I had stairs, I figured that as long as I was not too uncomfortable it wouldn't be a problem and never thought to ask, lol.


I have a short flight of very steep stairs to my bedroom (loft), I stayed at hospital for three days and was perfectly comfortable with a slow careful ascent by the time I got home. My pp recovery felt very fast, by the end of the week I was mostly back to normal and would have gone crazy confined to bed! Not sure if that's normal?
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#19 of 28 Old 12-03-2004, 10:37 PM
 
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My midwives asked me to stay upstairs for the first 5 days after DD's birth. I "cheated" once to go downstairs and write a quick email. But I'm very glad I did avoid the stairs for those first few days; I believe it helped me give myself permission to take it easy and not overdo it.

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#20 of 28 Old 12-04-2004, 01:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaccat
Gosh, with dd#1 my ob never even asked if I had stairs, I figured that as long as I was not too uncomfortable it wouldn't be a problem and never thought to ask, lol.
My OB never told me anything about stairs, either. I think most OBs are of the mind that if a woman's organs are going to prolapse, that's a predicable eventuality, and surgery or hysterectomy will repair that later.

I think most OBs are of the mind that post-partum bleeding ususally lasts 4 to 6 weeks.

However, I think these are innacurate ideals: post-partum bleeding might usually last 4 to 6 weeks, because most American women are doing too much and their wombs bleed, rebleed, bleed, bleed, bleed. By simply calming down, many women I know have had much less bleeding with their second babies, because they chose to relax a bit and let the wound heal.

And not thinking about a woman's anatomy, thinking about her ligaments and muscles and treating her as the obstetric athlete she is after having a baby, and offering sage advice about healing, is uncool and typical of the OB tradition. If it hurts, take Advil. Wear a pad.
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#21 of 28 Old 12-08-2004, 12:09 AM
 
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I guess a lot of mothers don't have the help of their mother or MIL after the birth of their babies. My has come after the birth of each of my children.

As for stairs, my mw had me in bed for 2wks on my side in bed!!! No sitting up, trips only to the bathroom. I had to go out to the chiro and she told me to go down the stairs sideways and to lye down in our van for the trip. I did as I was told, I trust her to know what is best. I had to take dd to the fp doc after a wk due to staph infection, I again went sideways. I sat in my mother's car and it was awful (I was very swollen).

It really is better for your body to rest lying down. I thought this was foolish, but now I understand.

I would park myself up stairs. I would find someone else to take care of the household *must* for the first 8 days at least and then revert to your plan for the rest of the time.

We did use sposies for the first week then the infection hit and I brought out my cloth. Fortunately my MIL has no problems washing cd for me. Oh, yeah, my MIL lives down stairs in an apartment attached to our house.

There are such a thing as postpardum doulas, I'm not sure what their role includes but it is worth investigating.
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#22 of 28 Old 12-08-2004, 01:25 AM
 
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Sevenkids & Tinyshoes Excellent points.

Here is my rant.

My first baby
(18 hour hospital labor, no epidural, painfree thanks to HypnoBirthing)
I went up and down the stairs the first 2 weeks. I had no idea of this "40 days of rest" observed around the world or why. My El Salvadorean cleaning woman was shaking her head at me and telling me this was a BAD bad thing. I poo poo'd her. I felt absolutely fine.

A few short months later, I felt like my insides were coming out.

I was totally panicked. I read up online about prolapsing and how it's happening more to women in their 30s!!! Whereas in the past it used to happen to women in their 50s (years after they were done with childrearing.) Hmmm. (The more I read, the angrier I became. It seems to me that this is a silent epidemic that no one talks or writes about. Jacklyn, you are very lucky your midwives even mentioned it!)

I was seriously afraid I couldn't CARRY a second baby! I did see some Maori healers for the prolapse (you can do a search on the health and healing board for my experience with it). It did resolve in time.

I do have a weak pelvic floor to begin with. I've had incontinence (urge to pee frequently and some accidents) ever since early childhood. I'm not overweight. But I've always had a flabby tummy (no ab strength) which doesn't help. And the horrible, forced pushing I did for 2 hours under Pitocin (so as to avoid a C-sec) didn't help matters either.

The cervix dialates to 10 cm. That's pretty big. How long does it take to shrink back.... give it time... be gentle on yourself. They say it takes 6 weeks for the uterus to shrink back. That's what women need.... six weeks to be "off the hook" from any expectations of work. Let someone else get up, walk to the fridge and grab you a sandwich or a drink (if you are lucky enough to have someone with you). Even if you don't have "risk factors" it is still wise to stay off your feet and off the stairs, as much as humanly possible (limit it to 1 or 2x a day if you have to use the stairs.)

Check this out:
Traditional Health Beliefs of the Vietnamese culture

Quote:
Walking is done in small steps to prevent the uterus from falling out of her body.
Interesting isn't it?

Second baby (homebirth )
This time, I was determined to do things differently. I read books on postpartum care BEFORE I gave birth and told my DH (and everyone else) I too would be observing the 40 days of rest at home. I lined up help.

My SIL stayed with me for 2 weeks. I didn't see this as getting to be "spoiled." I saw this as a way to contribute to my inner, physical healing. So I did not dread this time (feeling trapped). I enjoyed it.

I stayed upstairs for 2 weeks. I didn't go downstairs.

I did feel guilty. My DH or SIL were delivering meals to me (at 2 weeks) but I felt great.

Week 3 my SIL couldn't stay anymore. My original wish for 40 days (6 weeks) of rest was cut short dramatically. I had to leave the house (take my 4 yr old to summer school, so he wouldn't be climbing the walls at home) and was out of the house (driving car, climbing in and out of new-mini-van ) and guess what... I over did it.

While I physically felt great and wanted to be out doing stuff, my innards weren't ready, at all.

Week 4 I felt a horrible bulging in my vagina. It turned out I had a cystocele (bladder bulging into the vagina) AND a rectocycle (rectum bulging into the vagina.) My OB was vague... "stay off your feet."

So I called my psychic (my friend's SIL who lives the next town over who I talk to from time to time, not an 800 #). I asked her "how long should I stay off my feet? in bed?" Answer (this is why I love talking to her - I got a solid answer) 4 more weeks. : (BTW, after the 4 weeks, it did get A LOT better. My midwife said the rectocele was gone. )

My friends were wonderful. One picked up my son from school, another dropped him off and so on. I had 2 babysitters rotating.

I HATED being inside that second round, because it felt forced and was unexpected, but I had to do it. Sadly, I didn't have any other female family members to stay with me - like in other cultures.

Finally, I just wanted to say that I found a paper online a few years ago about a study in rural India. Typically the only vacation the women who worked the fields got was the 40 days of rest after birth. When the women went right back to work (hey, they say they feel fine, right?) they started noticing something that never happened before - more instances of prolapse. And I doubt those women (used to hard physical work) had "risk factors." I doubt their abs were flabby like mine.

I really : would like a third child. I wonder if I can carry another baby without doing more damage. I did do some PILATES (with someone who works on strengthening the PF after birth) and see a PT for a month... I need to go back.

BTW, postpartum doulas in my area cost $25 per hour : and there is a 20 hour minimum (or something.) But, heck, if I have to next time, then I'll pay it.

I do not see the "baby moon" as some conspiracy to keep women down home and barefoot. Is there anything wrong with GENTLY INSISTING that women stay off their feet as much as possible for the first few weeks? Have someone else care for the younger children/pets while YOU focus on healing.

Electra - you are right, most women don't have the luxury of a helpful mother or MIL. My mother is dead and my MIL is NOT nurturing or helpful when she visits. I begged my sister to come stay with me (she couldn't) and I begged my SIL. She did.

I was hoping to write an article for MDC about this issue. (I wish I had the time.) Women need to be made aware.

(But then you have people like my friend who was out and about 1-3 days after her 1st homebirth (a VBAC no less) no problems. Fine. But... at least women need the INFORMATION to make their own informed choices. If they want to do whatever afterwards, so be it. At least they were warned.)

nak on the boppy, in front of my flat screen monitor (no or minimal radiation)

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#23 of 28 Old 12-08-2004, 03:15 AM
 
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I was out the day after my last birth....but only b/c I felt like it. The thing that most concerns me is when mothers feel like they *have* to be doing something up and about---being "productive." I can't think of anything more important than listening to what your body needs and taking care of your newborn. I hate that guilt about doing what we need to do (resting, doing as little as possible, nursing all day, etc) is even an issue

I would love to see an article about this in MM----tinyshoes?????

I have retired from administration work, so if you have a question about anything MDC-related, please contact Cynthia Mosher. Thanks!
 
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#24 of 28 Old 12-08-2004, 12:04 PM
 
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I suspect that our high incidence of PPD might be partly due to women doing "too much" too soon, with very little support at home. I met a first time mom recently (C-sec) whose husband had no real clue or understanding about recovering after a birth (much less a C-sec! ) and was pressuring her to resume her activities - the sooner the better.

By coincidence, look what I found in my mailbox today:

Postpartum Care outside of the Western World

Quote:
Research on Traditional Postpartum Practices

A number of researchers assume that these practices including the extended rest period may help protect new mothers against postpartum depression. A research study in China showed that only 5.5% of new Chinese mothers were depressed at six weeks after childbirth compared to 10 to 15% among new mothers in Western society.

Other research studies have shown benefits from taking time to rest at home in some kind of seclusion. Studies with groups of Chinese and Malaysian mothers and new moms in Taiwan showed less postpartum depression among those mothers who followed the traditional practices of staying in for a period of time. This does not mean resting in isolation, but limiting outside activities and relaxing at home. It also means following the prescribed postpartum diet, receiving massages, staying warm, and drinking teas in order to rest, recover, and rejuvenate.
Tinyshoes - if you want to write an article, I'll help you.

10 - boy
5.5 - girl
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#25 of 28 Old 12-08-2004, 04:58 PM
 
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Jaclyn, don't worry about it. I have been trucking it up and down the stairs since the day after Cold was born. He's a week and one day now. It didn't really hurt from the start but was sore when my breast were so engorged. It hasn't affected me at all. I probably go up and down 5 times a day and it's no big deal. The only concern i've heard of is the risk of hemmorage from the strain of lifting and climbing stairs. But, if you are taking things slow and have help nearby in case of an emergancy.. i'm not the kind to stay in bed.
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#26 of 28 Old 12-08-2004, 05:02 PM
 
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Crap, maybe i'm wrong. I just read the last few posts before mine... boy that would be a hard lesson to learn huh? I feel fine so i'm not restricting anything but lifting anything heavier than baby.
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#27 of 28 Old 12-09-2004, 11:19 AM
 
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This has been a really interesting thread! I personally did NOT stay in bed... but I did nap daily with ds, and we left the house fairly frequently (ds in the sling and dd walking). I left the laundry to dh since our washer and dryer are in the basement down steep stairs. I did have to go down the stairs once daily to shower, as our only shower is in the basement (thankfully this will change before the next babe is born!). My parents and dear friends of mine brought me meals that lasted into the second week. After that, we either ate out or dh took care of meals.

I did get out and about a lot, but I cannot bear to lie around all the time. When I was at home, I rested and nursed ds while napping, reading a book, watching TV etc.

I know so many moms who've had to go back to work at 6w pp, so they were doing too much right away in preparation for returning to work.
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#28 of 28 Old 12-09-2004, 04:39 PM
 
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I am expecting #4 now and have had different experiences with all three births postpartum. My first I lived in a townhouse with only bath upstairs and I just carefully climbed the stairs when I needed to. No problems, had family with me for a few days and then my church family brought meals for ten days. My biggest blessing was when one of the ladies asked if she could do anything for me and did a load of dishes and swept my floor. I was so shaky and sleep deprived that the kitchen was overwhelming to me. The second baby we went to a campsite and cooked dinner over a fire 4 days pp. No I wasn't camping, but my parents were and I wanted to visit with them before they left. That house was on an extremely steep hill and I had to walk up from the driveway very slowly. I remember the first night that I had to consider dinner, I just dissolved into tears. It was just too much for me to deal with. My SIL called and I told her and she arranged to have friends bring me a weeks worth of meals. With #3, I had about a week of meals promised, but felt the need to clean house before the first meal was delivered--STUPID! I hurt so bad that I spent the next two days in bed and definitely started bleeding heavier again.

So all that to say, I think the idea of taking it easy and letting others bless you for a week or two is a wonderful idea. I don't think it is about oppression so much as about nurturing the nurturer. Giving us a chance to focus on our new little one and our family without having to worry about all the day to day "to do lists".
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