Giving birth is a major event whether you have complications or not. As if giving birth wasn’t hard enough, there is so much pressure on moms while dealing with sleep deprivation and overall exhaustion. Because you are still recovering after birth, there are certain things that you should stay away from.
Just like with any huge event, there are some things to consider after giving birth. You want to be sure how to best care for yourself as you recover. Postpartum is an important time to focus on healing and adjusting to your new life with a new baby.
12 Things You Should Not Do After Giving Birth
1. Ignore Pain
While you may be uncomfortable after birth, you don’t need to suffer. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something, so be sure to listen. Contact your doctor if you’re in pain, and they can tell you how to alleviate it or advise you on whether or not you need to go in.
2. Forget About Nutrition
You can give yourself some leeway as you recover from birth, but be sure not to forget about your own nutrition. It can be easy to go with convenient food choices but feeding your body the good stuff is important to help you recover. If breastfeeding, don’t forget to eat enough to keep your milk supply up.
3. Lift Anything Heavier Than Your Baby
After giving birth, you want to watch how much weight you lift. This is especially true if you’re recovering from a C-section. If you had a C-section, you risk irritating your stitches. You shouldn’t lift anything heavier than your baby in a car seat during the first six weeks after a C-section.1
After giving birth, you may have errands to run or doctor’s appointments to go to. There are a few instances when you shouldn’t drive, especially by yourself. If you had a C-section, you cannot drive for two weeks2, so someone else needs to take you or your baby where you need to go. If you are on narcotics for pain after childbirth, you also shouldn’t be driving. Narcotics can make you drowsy3, so be sure not to operate any heavy machinery, including a car.
5. Have Sex Too Soon
It is important not to rush into sex after giving birth. The act of birth is intense for you and your body, and waiting until you’re ready is crucial. The recommended timing is usually about four to six weeks before you can resume having sex.4 By then, everything should be settling. Waiting until your postpartum appointment before having sex is a good idea so you can get checked out and ensure you are healed. Keep in mind, though, that the timing is just a general guideline. You don’t need to rush into sex at that point if you’re not ready.
6. Limit Climbing Stairs
This point is especially true in the case of a C-section. You should limit climbing stairs to just a few times a day.2 While it won’t hurt your incision, it can be really tiring. Be sure to listen to your body, watch your postpartum bleeding, and not do too much too soon.
7. Push Yourself to Do Too Much
When you have a baby, whether it’s your first or your fourth, it takes time to adjust and for your body to heal. Take this time slowly to make sure your body and mind can adjust. Let your partner do things around the house, or let other people help you. You don’t need to worry about anything except healing and caring for your baby.
8. See People That You Don’t Want to See
There’s no doubt about it. Babies are cute. Your family and friends will want to see the baby, which is completely understandable. However, that doesn’t mean you must let someone visit just because they want to. Who you let come over, when they come over, and for how long is entirely up to you. If you’re tired, don’t want to entertain, or are not comfortable, you don’t have to say yes. Read more about dealing with houseguests as a new mom here.
9. Shy Away From Photos
You may feel like you’re not at your best and want to avoid being in pictures. The thing to remember is that you don’t get this time back. You will treasure these pictures with your newborn one day. Don’t waste time worrying about what you look like. Just be in the pictures. Future you will appreciate it.
10. Listen to Everyone
People will want to give you advice, and while their intentions are good, no two babies are the same. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Listen to yourself and your baby to figure it out.
11. Try to Do It All
Remember that you do not need to do this alone. This is the time to speak up and ask for help from the people you love and who love you. Recovery from birth and taking care of a newborn are hard enough. You don’t need to do it all. Ask your partner, close friends, or family members for help.
12. Be Hard on Yourself
If there is any time when you need to forgive yourself, it is now. Your body is healing, and you simply can’t do it all. You will be tired, sore, and trying to navigate a new life. Being hard on yourself about not being the perfect mom or not recovering faster won’t help you. Having a baby is hard work, no matter how you look at it. It is wonderful, but it takes a toll on your body and your mind. By asking for help and giving yourself space to heal, you will be better equipped to take on the unexpected.