The postnatal period lasts six to eight weeks, beginning right after the baby is born.
During this period, the mother goes through many physical and emotional changes while learning to care for her newborn. Postnatal care involves getting proper rest, nutrition, and vaginal care.
Getting Enough Rest
Rest is crucial to new mothers who need to rebuild their strength. To avoid getting too tired as a new mother, you may need to:
- sleep when your baby sleeps
- keep your bed near your baby’s crib to make night feedings easier
- allow someone else to feed the baby with a bottle while you sleep
Eating Right Nutrition
Because of the changes your body goes through during pregnancy and labor, getting proper nutrition in the postnatal period is crucial. The weight that you gained during pregnancy helps make sure you have enough nutrition for breastfeeding. However, you need to continue to eat a healthy diet after delivery.
Experts recommend that breastfeeding mothers eat when they feel hungry. Make a special effort to focus on eating when you are actually hungry—not just busy or tired.
- avoid high-fat snacks
- focus on eating low-fat foods that balance protein, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables
- drink plenty of fluids
New mothers should make vaginal care an essential part of their postnatal care. You may experience:
- vaginal soreness if you had a tear during delivery
- urination problems, such as pain or a frequent urge to urinate
- discharge, including small blood clots
- contractions during the first few days after delivery
Schedule a checkup with your doctor about six weeks after delivery to discuss symptoms and receive proper treatment. You abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after delivery so that your vagina has proper time to heal.