Postnatal Support and Guidance
4th Trimester - vital information for mums following childbirth - please read
Following birth you will experience huge physical, hormonal and emotional shifts that transition you from the state of pregnancy to postnatal recovery and motherhood. During this postnatal phase it is vital that you take care of yourself properly so that you can promote healing, recover quicker and prevent future health and wellbeing issues from developing. The key to a safe and healthy recovery is to understand the 4th trimester and know how you can best start your healing and recovery journey.
Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding and Did You Know?
Choosing to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby is the first step and you may need support along the way. Knowing where to get the right advice and who to ask can be daunting.
We would like to give you some guidance and help you find the best places to access any additional support you may need to make feeding your new baby a more enjoyable and positive experience.
Vaginal bleeding, cramping and menstruation
Following your vaginal or C-section birth you will experience a period of bleeding and cramping which is part of the natural healing process. This will be followed by the onset of your menstrual cycle. Knowing what to expect during this time can help to reduce your stress and concerns.
Vaginal soreness, vaginal grazes, vaginal tears & episiotomy recovery
If you had a vaginal birth then it is inevitable that you will experience some form of trauma to the tissues of your vagina, perineum and labia. There are varying degrees of trauma and knowing how to ease your comfort and help the healing process will make your recovery much more comfortable.
Constipation, Haemorrhoids, Bowel Incontinence & Bowel Health
Your bowels will have undergone some changes during pregnancy and birth but within a few days following birth, your digestive system and bowels will adjust and return to normal. During this time you may experience issues with your bowel tissues and your toilet habits. Knowing what to expect and how to help things along will greatly improve your comfort and bowel health.
Pelvic floor recovery, urinary incontinence, pudendal neuralgia & pelvic organ prolapse
Due to the huge changes that take place during pregnancy and birth the organs, muscles and soft tissues of your lower abdomen and pelvis will have undergone changes that will affect their position and function. These changes can cause symptoms and conditions such as urinary incontinence, pudendal neuralgia and pelvic organ prolapse that may last for a few days, weeks months or years depending on how you manage them and how well your tissues recover.
Knowing what to expect and how to facilitate the healing process will improve your chances of reducing symptoms, preventing further issues or making a full recovery.
C-section recovery and scar healing
If you have birthed your baby by C-section then you will have undergone major abdominal surgery and will now enter a period of healing and recovery. There is lots that you can do to help facilitate your recovery, so that you can rebuild a strong core, help your wound heal and provide yourself with good aftercare so that your body and mind can heal as well as possible.
Postnatal nutrition and weight loss
During postnatal recovery and breastfeeding you will need to repair, rebuild and nourish your tissues from the inside out. You can do this by eating a nutrient dense well balanced diet full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, complex carbohydrates and hydrating fluids. These nutrients will help your physiological processes, cellular function and tissue repair.
A healthy well-balanced eating plan will also support weight loss goals, so that you can lose your baby weight when you are ready.
Mummy tummy and diastasis recti
During pregnancy your growing uterus and baby cause the muscles and connective tissues of your abdomen to stretch and shift position to accommodate their growing size. As these tissues stretch the two sides of your abdominal muscles shift further apart. This shift creates a wider gap between the muscles which is known as a Diastasis Recti. Following birth, you may also be left with a ‘mummy tummy’ which occurs because of several combined factors.
Having a Diastasis recti or mummy tummy can affect the strength, function and appearance of your abdomen and core as well as your overall health. So, it’s a good idea to understand why they occur and what you can do to recover from them.
Mental Health & Wellbeing - Postpartum ‘baby blues’, postnatal depression, postpartum stress, postpartum psychosis
Following birth, you may experience a shift in your mood and mental state that will cause you to experience upsetting emotional and mental symptoms such as the ‘baby blues’. These changes are usually temporary and will subside after a few weeks. However, they can last longer or progress into more serious mental health conditions such as postnatal depression, postnatal PTSD, or postnatal psychosis.
This can take you by surprise and cause great distress during motherhood for both you and your family. Knowing what signs and symptoms to look out for will help you seek out the best support so that you can recover your mental health.
Postnatal exercise guidelines
During pregnancy your body will have undergone huge anatomical and physiological changes that will affect your posture, core strength, stamina, pelvic floor function, breathing, balance and appearance.
As you recover, your body will gradually and naturally return to its new state of normal which may not be fully recovered from pregnancy and birth.
Physical activity and exercise will help you to improve the condition, function, and appearance of your body so that your new state of normal is a strong and functional state that serves you well throughout life and improves your body confidence.
Stretch marks, acne, melasma and hair loss/thinning
During pregnancy and postnatal recovery your skin and hair will have undergone some changes that may affect your appearance. Your skin will have stretched as your belly and breasts grew in size, which may leave you with stretch marks.
Your hormones will have shifted which may change the colour of your complexion, cause acne and make your hair appear thicker during pregnancy and thinner after birth.
These changes are all absolutely normal, and though they are common, they can cause some concern about how you look. Taking care of your skin and hair will help you to keep them healthy, manage these symptoms and potentially improve your appearance.