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preparing for postpartum

1182 Views 15 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Mummoth
Any suggestions on preparing for postpartum recovery?? This is my second birth. My first was a planned HB--long and hard, but great!--but recovery was so much worse than I ever thought! No one told me it could be so painful for so long. I had to pee all the time, and everytime was a long, painful experience. My small tear hardly hurt compared to the "skid marks" (isn't there a better name?!

Anyway, now I'm thinking I have all that to look forward too AND afterpains! I'm not really scared of birth, but I'm dreading recovery.

Any ideas on making it better, ways to prep, etc? Or ideas for helping me approach it in a more positive way? Is it easier the second time around?? Recovery is something people never talk about, and it was such a shock to me--I was not anticipating such a challenge.

TIA, mamas!
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Hi!Bumping for you!I would love to know these things too!One thing I can think of is one of those doughnut pillows to sit on!
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Here I have some information that really helped me last time. The midwife we're using recommends this post-partum care.

Post-Partum herbal bath for those skid marks and tears to heal. You can take your babe into it, too even if the stump hasn't fallen off. The herbs make the stump dry quicker and is very relaxing for mama and baby. Do you have a recipe/directions for this? Let me know if you want me to post it. It's suggested that you take at least one bath per day with your baby for the first 5 days and as long as you need it afterwards.

Now, here's the information for Afterpains & Discomforts:
After Each baby the uterus seems to have to workd a little harder to stay contracted. Afterpains can be quite intense for some women. As Tylenol and other pain medications reduce your bloods ability to clot and create a burden for your newborn's liver, they are best avoided. Homeopathics and herbs are superior because they will speed the healing process as well as relive the discomfort.

Arnica 30C
Take one dose every three hours during the first 24 hours postpartum. Arnica will also help alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue and is especially wonderful for healing up sore or swollen periniums.

Magnesium Phosphate 6X
2-3 pellets can be dissolved in 1/2 cup of hot water. Prepare this before you begin to nurse your baby and sip on it as needed while nursing, if afterpains are uncomfortable.

This herbal blend comes in capsule form and can be purchased at health food stores or online for about $13. If this is your second or more baby, you may want to have some on hand for the birth. It is especially recommended for women wo have had difficulty with afterpains from a previous birth, women expecting twins or anyone with milk supply concerns.
Dose: 2 pills = one dose. Begin with 3 doeses hourly after the birth. Repeat as needed over the first 2-3 days. Then 3 doses per day until gone.

Hope that helps!

Anyone with info to add about emotional components of baby blues? And techniques/remedies?
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I just wanted to add that you should take it easy. Since you have already had a homebirth you may not have a problem with it but.. My first was a hospital birth with all the trapping and a 2 day stay. My second was a homebirth. I think the birth felt so normal and natural, just part of the rythem of life, that I forgot that I had just given birth. I got up way too quickly and back into the swing of things. When I finally realized how burnt out tired I was 3 days later we had a huge fiasco with the hospital because baby got sick. That lasted another 2 days and nights. So I basically didn't sleep much for about a week. I had a lovely few months of PPD to deal with probably because of treating myself this way.
This time I am laying in bed for the first 24 hours and not getting up much for the 48 hours after that. Birth is natural but it is still exhausting.
Having dealt with PPD after my last birth I am prepared to combat it this time with rest and relaxation and making dh work his butt off to make me feel well.
I had herbal baths last time too. My perineum healed up just fine from my skid marks. My midwife also gave me comfrey in a peri bottle for peeing.
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One word----Casseroles!!! I didn't realize how much easier a newborn is when there aren't other children to feed! When someone would ask me what they could do to help/what I needed, etc. I would say--please, bring us something to eat. I can't seem to muster up the energy to cook. All I wanted to do was to sit and nurse and look at my beautiful baby and rest. So, I might suggest asking for food for after the baby's here--either frozen meals, fresh food or restaurant gift cards for takeout (shhhh, my guilty secret to surviving postpartumhood). I found that it hurt SO much less the second time around. With my first, I felt as if I'd been run over by a truck and couldn't walk. With my second, I took my 3 yo to a community fair three days pp with baby in the sling. Granted, I took it very easy, but so much different! I second the arnica route, too.

Round up help for your older child beforehand, if possible. Maybe a collection of
*new* books or a really cool toy for after the new baby's here, even, gasp, a DVD to watch. Whatever works---it's not forever! My friends took my 3 yo out to the park a few times that first week, which was a blessing! If you can't tell, I had more problems with my oldest than with my recovery!

I totally agree, it IS so challenging---I'm glad you brought this up! I'd say to consider remembering that you deserve to have YOUR needs met, too. Ask for what you need, specifically and not worry about doing it all. Enlist help. Birth is hard work and y'all deserve that slow, relaxed babymoon to fall in love as a family.

All the best,

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The best thing I did for myself was to buy a deep freezer and fill it with lots of meals. That way, all I had to do was pull something out, put it in the oven, and wait for it to smell up the house. I used lots of disposable foil pans (I know, bad for the earth!), so that clean-up was really easy. If I was having a really good day, I would make something from scratch, but if I was tired, or the children were having trouble, it was nice to pull something out of the freezer. If I was ambitious, I also put together a salad to go with the meal. I don't really like endless takeout meals (and it wasn't really possible, given where we lived at the time), so this was my gift to myself.

I also made sure my house was spotless, so that I didn't feel like I needed to get right up and clean right away. I figured that my mom would clean before she left, dh would keep up the laundry and vacuuming, and I could do minor stuff like keep up with clutter. That way, I figured I had about 3 weeks before I really needed to do any heavy cleaning. Even then, I just did little bits at a time (a sink here, toilet there, running the dishwasher, folding a load of laundry, etc.)

My mom stayed with me for a week after the baby was born, and she was invaluable in helping with meals, laundry, errands, big brother ideas, etc. Get someone to help you with the day-to-day running of your house: a good friend who can come over once or twice a week to do laundry and cleaning, grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends to help with the older child or children, etc.

I healed much faster after my second birth than my first; probably had something to do with my wonderful midwives vs. an ambivalent dr.. The midwives gave me an herbal tincture to help with the afterpains (I think it contained cramp bark), as well as an herbal sitz bath (wonderful!!!). Talk to your midwife about what she does/recommends for afterpains and healing of tears.

Good luck! margaret
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Wow, these are such great ideas. I've been thinking so much about the birth (any day now) that I'd forgotten to prepare for recovery.
This'll be my 3rd homebirth, and I do want to say that recovering from the 1st was MUCH harder than the 2nd. Peeing (w/ skid marks) hurt ssooooo bad! More afterpains the 2nd time, but I'd take them over the potty problems anytime.
My MW (different one each time) is WONDERFUL and seems to be anticipating my post-partum needs a lot more than I am. On my list of things to get & do she had me soak a dozen or more menstrual pads in comfrey leaf tea, individually wrap them in plastic, and stick them in the freezer.
Now, after reading all this I think I'll also get some sort of special babymoon gift for each of my older kids and figure out a way to stock up on meals.
When peeing hurts b/c of tears or skid marks, try using your peri bottle and squirting warm (very warm felt best to me) water on yourself as you pee. This quickly rinses away the urine before it has a chance to burn you.

Also, keep some chux pads for the post partum, so you can put an ice pack in your panties. This helped me so much. Also, though terrible bad for the environment, I bought some of the disposable incontinence pants and put the ice pack in there. Those things were awesome for me. I have a terrible time recovering from birth for some reason. I get horrible sore and can't even walk normally for several days. Ice was my best friend as it reduced the swelling and the pain.
oh, the peri bottle was my best post-partum friend! Made a HUGE difference. I was in the hospital, so am realizing I'm gonna have to give this some thought to manke sure I'll be prepared at home, and one thing I want to do is use rubber gloves (the thin, single-use kind) as ice packs. They worked really great, cause you could move the fingers where you needed them. I also want to find thos yucky, mesh panties. I hated the fit, but they did work great for holding pads and ice in place without getting soaked.
You can find all your birth and postpartum supplies online pretty easily. I went with cascade last time I think, but now my mw's use

I love the idea of using the rubber gloves as ice packs. I'll have to do that.

Thanks for all the ideas and support. I haven't replied to this thread yet, b/c I've been a threadkiller lately and wanted the discussion to continue! I hope it does!!!

btw, I never used the mesh panties. I think I threw them away...maybe I'll try em out this time.
so many great suggestions here! i've been wondering about after as well lately (now that i'm still pregnant past our baby's due date

mainly i'm trying to imagine how sleeping will work in our (large) bed with me, dh, our 21mo old nursing & very cuddly son, and a wee newborn... yikes!

when we move to our new place i'm putting a 'romance' bed in the study!!

BUT - here are a few of the things i'm planning to help afterwards

-rescue remedy & arnica tablets
-a heating pad (soooo helpful for afterpains) and hot water bottle
-basically not to leave the bedroom for a week, take it really easy
-my mom's coming to stay & help with food, cleaning and our son
-dh is taking 2 wks off work

and i figure, heck, my body must be wise to this birth trauma by now - it can only be easier! ( i too was shocked by how hard breastfeeding and post-delivery was!! felt like i'd been hit by a truck, and really, our homebirth was pretty short & easy)
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The only thing I regret about my home birth this second time around was my post-partum.

some more ideas:

if you're going to use cloth dipes, why not contract a neighbor/neighbor kid to come over and do that chore for your household!

I am already planning to give that "gift" to my cousin when she has her 1st baby--I'll come over there every other day and do the dipes.

skid mark maintainance--peeing in te shower w/ a hand-held shower thingie is great, or swallow your pride and invest in a sitz bath. You can fill that bad boy w/ water and pee IN it if you need to

new clothes!--why not get some? I was glad I bought a couple items (2 tops, a robe) JUST FOR my post-partum. After all that birthing, and thiough I was just hangin' out upstairs in my bedroom, I liked that I had something cute and new to wear (that fit over my giant engorged boobs, too.)

stay in your bed a week

The magic will last longer; and set aside time for your 1st baby to go out of the house w/ someone so you and dh can stare in uninterrupted wonderment at your new babe.
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Do you think it's worth it to buy and use an herbal tincture? One that my mw recommends is Afterease by Wishgarden. It has black haw, crampbrak, motherwort, and yarrow. I'm horrible about taking vitamins and supplements and although I like the idea of all the homeo-remedies, Sparklin, realistically I know I might take one of them....sometimes. anyway, just trying to decide whether to spend the money on these things or not.
Originally posted by Sparklin
Here I have some information that really helped me last time. The midwife we're using recommends this post-partum care.

Post-Partum herbal bath for those skid marks and tears to heal. You can take your babe into it, too even if the stump hasn't fallen off. The herbs make the stump dry quicker and is very relaxing for mama and baby. Do you have a recipe/directions for this? Let me know if you want me to post it. It's suggested that you take at least one bath per day with your baby for the first 5 days and as long as you need it afterwards.

Sparklin - can you give the recipe for this herbal bath? You can pm me if you like. I'm planning a HB any time now
and am trying to think of everything!


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If you can spring for it, I'd reccomend a postpartum doula. Mine saved me. She knew all the answers for problems. Make the teas, baths,etc. Took the baby when I needed her to. Got breastfeeding help for me. Most of all, she knew when I needed to stop and would force me into bed, tell the other "helpers" to leave and take over completely.

My doula was a gift. At my shower, everyone contributed to my postpartum doula fund. What a great gift!
What I'm hoping we'll do this time around, is use delivery services. There's a company in my area that delivers fresh, organic vegetables, and there's always the milkman (who can bring ALL the dairy products we use) It's a bit more costly, but it's worth it, when I *know* we won't have the energy to go shopping. These things would make good shower gifts.
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