Giving birth is one of the most sacred and special moments humans can experience and witness. While it is an experience mothers will never forget, it also results in a very hectic first month, in which the parents don't always know what they should or shouldn't do, and the mom usually experiences a lot of physical changes as well as emotional rollercoasters. But do not worry; all of this is normal.
To help new mothers (and fathers) do their best during the first month with their newborn, we have assembled a list of things moms should avoid. It does take a while after giving birth for the body to fully heal, and in order to help it get there, there are things one can do and things one should avoid. Everybody is unique and different, and it heals at different speeds, but for example, doing things like taking sitz baths and wearing mesh underwear can help a lot. And as far as mental and emotional wellbeing goes, accepting help, saying no to things, and allowing themselves to rest and relax as much as possible can do a lot for new moms.
Now here they are: 20 things moms should try to avoid the first month after giving birth. Some are obvious, while others many moms are not aware of.
20 Don't Lift Heavy Things Or Exercise Much
Let's start with one of the most common things people know should be avoided after giving birth, but we had to include anyways. No woman should during her pregnancy or right after giving birth lift heavy things or exercise a lot. Especially after giving birth, when the body just went through so many changes and needs a bit of time to heal, exercising and carrying heavy bags should be avoided. Now, of course, this doesn't mean you can't pick up your baby or take a walk outdoors, but just make sure you do not rush into any physical activity quickly (Kids Health).
19 Avoid Big Decisions
After giving birth the hormone levels in the body tend to fluctuate, and this can heavily affect the mom's emotions. Until the body heals a bit more and hormone levels go back to normal, the mom should definitely avoid making any big life decisions, if possible. The stress and excitement of having a newborn are not really a good environment to decide things or make big changes, and it can easily happen that a decision might be regretted a couple of months later. Besides, this first month should be enjoyed as much as possible, so relaxing and spending time with your child is the only thing moms must do (Motherly).
18 Postpone Any Swimming Activities
As we mentioned, the body has gone through a lot, and by a lot we mean an incredible amount of changes within a short period of time, so giving it some healing time is essential. Besides the whole area down there is sore and hurts, and has all sorts of discharge, which is normal, but it is also something that would make swimming rather uncomfortable. On top of this, a swimsuit is not the perfect type of clothing for post-pregnancy, and depending on what kind of water one is in, it could easily lead to infection as the area is still healing (Parents).
17 Do Not Neglect The Power Of Sitz Baths
Alright, while swimming isn't ideal for the post-pregnancy body, using a sitz bath can be quite soothing and beneficial for the healing process. While there are pre-made mixtures one can buy at a pharmacy, there's also plenty of DIY recipes online to make it at home. Of course, the mom should always consult with her doctor on what kind of sitz bath she should use and always follow the instructions. Postpartum bodies can be very painful and if there's even the smallest amount of relief that new moms can get with a sitz bath, they should definitely make sure to do them (Very Well Family).
16 Avoid Guests If You Don't Feel Like It
Sure, everyone wants to see the new baby as soon as possible, but just because they want to come and visit that does not mean the parents need to say yes. Don't feel bad about saying no to guests, you are tired, exhausted, in pain and you want some privacy - nobody has the right to be offended if you kindly reject their offer to visit. People tend to not realize how tiring it can be for parents to constantly have people over, and honestly, the first month after giving birth, moms need to prioritize their child's needs, as well as their own.
15 Avoid Forcing Yourself To Stay Awake
Sleep, sleep, sleep! Sleeping is the best activity for healing your mind and body! And after just giving birth, it's really what every mom needs. So while the adrenaline and excitement of starting this new chapter of your life can keep you awake, you really should try to sleep pretty much whenever your baby is sleeping. And even if the baby is awake and there's somebody else who can keep an eye on them, use that. Postpartum recovery is a slow process, and giving yourself enough time and rest is crucial. Besides, taking a nap next to your little one is a wonderful feeling (NHS)!
14 Go Slow On "Grown Up Time"
Grown-up time should be delayed for a few more weeks, ideally until you feel like you have completely healed and there's no more pain down there. Meanwhile, you can stick to other methods of closeness and a lot of cuddling with your partner and your little bundle of joy. So while this might be hard on some couples, making sure you communicate and are honest with each other the whole time is crucial. Besides, chances are both of you will be so tired at the end of the day that "grown-up time" won't really be a priority yet (Mayo Clinic).
13 Avoid Damaging Your Hair
Women generally tend to lose less hair during pregnancy, which is a side effect of the hormone levels. Once they give birth, however, this changes and it is not so uncommon to lose quite a bit of hair. While it takes some time for the hormone levels to get back to normal, and every woman's experience with this can be different, it is generally a good piece of advice to not damage your hair much. This means you should say no to coloring your hair or using too much heat on it, at least for the first few weeks after giving birth (Fit Pregnancy).
12 Avoid Straining
Straining - whether it's due to bowel movement or lifting and pushing heavy things - is something that moms should absolutely avoid in the first month after giving birth. Straining is bad in general, even for healthy people who have not just given birth, but if you're a new mom do not strain under any circumstances. Everything you do you should do slowly and carefully during this first month, in order to make sure your body is not harmed in any way. And if you're struggling with bowel movement, eating healthy with a lot of fiber and being hydrated will do wonders (Kids Health).
11 Don't Hold In Pee
You need to drink a lot of water, so your body is constantly hydrated enough for full recovery, but this also, unfortunately, means you will have to pee pretty often. And in the beginning peeing can be quite painful, but you should under no circumstances hold it in. There are things you can do to speed up the healing process like doing sitz baths and wearing mesh underwear, but even without those, after a couple of weeks, it will already feel much more comfortable. Besides, you'll feel a bit relieved after every time you do it, and you'll slowly notice an improvement (Parents).
10 Don't Deprive Yourself Of Meals
Lots of moms are stressed about getting back in their old shape, but while exercising and eating healthy should be a priority later on, the first month after giving birth moms really should give themselves a breather. This means eating good and not skipping meals! After nine months of being rather careful when it comes to what they are eating, they can finally indulge a bit. Of course, if breastfeeding, they still do need to make sure they don't have alcohol, spicy food or too much caffeine, as those can end up in the baby milk. But other than that, enjoy your favorite foods, you definitely deserve it (Motherly)!
9 Avoid Getting Lazy On The Kegels
Kegels are a new mom's best friend. They might feel a bit painful in the beginning, so definitely start slowly, but after a couple of days they should feel fine, even good. Kegels are a great exercise in general, but they are especially beneficial for recovery after giving birth, as the area could use some muscular training. And if you're not familiar with Kegels, it's basically the movement of muscles you do when you try to hold in pee. So squeeze, hold and then let go. Repeat a couple of times throughout the day, and once recovered, you'll feel as if you never gave birth, to begin with (Sutter Health).
8 Don't Avoid Breastfeeding Because Of The Initial Pain - It Will Go Away
If you decided you want to give breastfeeding a chance, be prepared for some soreness and pain initially. And while of course, you're free to give up on breastfeeding at any time - it is a mom's decision after all - do think twice before you give up due to the pain, because the pain will be gone after a bit, plus there are ways to deal with it, such as a warm compress on the area and massaging the chest. However, if the pain is too much to handle, take a rest and try again perhaps in a few days. Everybody is unique, and everyone's pain tolerance is different (Today's Parent).
7 Don't Use Tampons
As we've already mentioned, the area down there is in the process of healing, and while a lot of women might be tempted to use a tampon because it's convenient, sticking to pads is much better at this point, as tampons can turn out to be quite painful. Making sure the area is as clean and dry as possible is the best way to help the healing process, and pads in combo with mesh underwear are the best way to go. As long as the mom is comfortable and in as little pain as possible, no one is really going to care what she's wearing down under (Romper)!
6 And Don't Wear Regular Underwear
As we already mentioned, staying away from regular underwear - even the super comfy cotton kind can be beneficial for a mom's healing process. Mesh underwear is very, very breathable, which at this stage is essential. And the best part of it is that it is usually offered at hospitals, just ask a nurse or a doctor. If not, it can be bought at pharmacies or specialized stores, and it might be something moms should make sure to get in advance and heave ready waiting for them when they come home after giving birth. After a month (perhaps even a bit earlier depending on how things look and feel) the mom can start going back to regular comfy underwear (The Cut).
5 Or Tight Clothing
Tight clothing, particularly when it comes to pants and skirts, is another thing women who just gave birth should avoid. This also means no yoga pants or leggings, no matter how comfortable they might feel. The vaginal area needs to be as free as possible and only covered by light and loose clothing, which is why comfy dresses are ideal. Now of course, if necessary you can squeeze yourself in a pair of jeans, but please make sure to spend as little time as possible in them. Comfy sweatpants around the house and wider pants for outdoors are the best solutions (Parents).
4 Don't Stop Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Just because they are called prenatal, doesn't mean you can't have them after giving birth. Especially during the first month, they can still be necessary, as the body does need a lot of the vitamins and nutrients they contain. This is also definitely applicable to those mothers who decide to breastfeed. The best way to go about this is to consult your doctor and have them tell you which prenatal vitamins you should take, and for how long you should be taking them after you've given birth. Either way, do not just abruptly stop once you've given birth; keep going for at least a couple more weeks (Romper).
3 Avoid Others Influencing Your Parenting Decisions
People love to share their opinions and thoughts, but whether it's your own parents, parents-in-law or other relatives and friends, you absolutely don't need to follow any piece of advice you get if you don't want to. This means that if you don't want to breastfeed, you don't have to if you want to only use gender neutral clothing you can - whatever you decide to do, it's your right as a parent. And if there's a piece of advice you do think is beneficial, you can follow it, but you should by no means feel as if others have the right to dictate how you raise your child (The Guardian)!
2 Avoid Anything That Causes Additional Stress
Nowadays our lives tend to be so fast and stressful. But after giving birth, moms should really take a breather and slow down. This is why relaxing, sleeping and spending time with the baby is the only thing you must do. Anything else is optional. And if something causes you stress, make sure to not let it in your life for now. Yes, this can be very difficult, but minimizing stress at this time is important and will make moms get back on their feet quicker. Besides, having a newborn is causing enough stress on its own - even though it's also one of the most wonderful experiences ever (WebMD)!
1 Don't Do Everything Yourself
Lastly, be okay with accepting help. Especially first-time moms feel like they should do all these new things themselves, and letting anyone else take care of their newborn almost feels like betrayal. But the truth is, the mom also needs some time to rest and relax and accepting help is definitely not something she should feel bad about at all. The more months pass, the less often friends and family will offer to do things for you, so use this nice gesture while it lasts, and don't feel like you're betraying your child or anyone else. There's nothing wrong with a helping hand (Life As Mom).