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  • Writer's pictureDr Rachel Collins

Three Tips for Postpartum Recovery

Three tips for postpartum healing

Congratulations- you just went through nine months of your body expanding and growing a little human, and now you’ve given birth to your sweet bundle of joy! After the initial shock and awe wears off, it's time to start focusing on your postpartum rehabilitation. I get asked a lot about what women should do to help their bodies heal after giving birth, so I want to give you my top three tips for postpartum recovery. You can begin using these tips from your first day postpartum to create a solid foundation you can build upon as your body continues to heal.

  1. Focus on your breath.

  • This is really important because improving the movement of the diaphragm is key to getting our pelvic floors to mobilize, which is important to reduce tension and increase strength in the pelvic muscles. You want to start with 360 breathing and focusing on the air filling more in your belly, sides and back when you inhale. This will help move our diaphragm in a downward motion which will mobilize your pelvic region and help improve pelvic floor contraction on the rebound during the exhale. This will take time to learn; you have been breathing a more shallow pattern due to your diaphragm being limited in space because of the growing baby. I urge you to be patient with your body and just take 2-5 min a few times a day to focus on a 360 breathing pattern.

If you would like to learn more about 360 breathing, check out my blog on breathing!

2. Posture awareness

  • This is something that we all can work on throughout the day, but especially during the immediate postpartum period. What we commonly see in postpartum posture are rounded shoulders, tight low backs and externally rotated legs (feet are turned out). This is because we were trying to make room for a growing baby and moved into positions that are more comfortable. I educate my postpartum moms on trying to correct these patterns as soon as possible. For example, after breastfeeding/bottle feeding, it's important to get into a more extended position to help reduce tension in our chest and reduce rounded shoulder posture. A great exercise for this is to lay on your back with feet flat on the floor and arms out to the side like a goal post and stay there for 2-3 min. It is such a great way to reduce tension in front of shoulders and chest as well as getting your back flat on the floor. You should also keep an eye on rotating your legs outwards when walking, standing and sitting to help reduce tension in the back of the hips and increase hip mobility.

3. REST!

  • I know it’s easier said than done with having a newborn, but you need to try to relax, get as much sleep as possible and take help when offered! I was very stubborn after having a baby and felt like I could do it all, but boy was I wrong. I struggled with some postpartum depression due to lack of sleep and proper nutrition. Please don’t be like me and make sure you focus on #1, which is you. There is such good research out there to show the importance of rest and sleep to help healing both physically and mentally. Start by making sure to take 10 min daily for yourself even if it’s just doing some breathing exercises to help clear your mind. If you feel yourself struggling, reach out for help; there are people around you that want to help. I always tell my moms that you can’t expect to fill anyone else’s cup if yours is empty.

I hope these tips are helpful and are simply enough to start adding into your daily routine. The key to early postpartum recovery is being patient with your body and listening to it as you continue to heal. Our bodies are strong and so incredible in all that they allow us to do, so let’s make sure we take care of them because we only get one.

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