PT, DPT, PRPC
Megan can be reached at email@example.com
Taking care of yourself during pregnancy and the postpartum period can be anything but easy at times. Although it might not seem like it, these two seasons of life are crucial for self-care. You and your body are going through major physical, mental, and emotional changes. Daily self-care doesn’t need to be extensive or take up a large majority of your day but it does need to be a priority.
Listed below are some of my favorite forms of self-care during both the pregnancy and postpartum periods.
Taking Care of Yourself During Pregnancy
Movement is one of the greatest forms of self care during your pregnancy. Even a simple daily walk around the block is great and very beneficial to prep your body for the real workout to come – labor and delivery. General rule of thumb for exercise during pregnancy is to not start any new exercise routines while pregnant. For example, if you weren’t much of a runner prior to becoming pregnant, you wouldn’t want to go out and train for a marathon during your pregnancy. Not sure where to start? Schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health physical therapists to get you on the right track!
Take a Bath
What sounds more relaxing than a nice, warm bubble bath?! Nothing, in my opinion.
Pregnancy can often be accompanied with aches and pains – after all, your body is changing a lot while growing a small human! Although it is common to have these issues, it is NOT normal and you should not have to just ‘live with it.’ Common ailments that are accompanied by pregnancy include sciatica, back pain, hip pain, pubic symphysis, and others.
Relaxation and Meditation
This is a wonderful form of self-care for all of us! However, it is especially crucial during pregnancy. Working on meditation and breathwork can be very beneficial to help prepare your body for when it is time to bring that sweet baby into the world. There are many free apps such as Calm and Headspace that provide guided mediation and breathing exercises.
Taking Care of Yourself Postpartum
Take a Bath
Just like during pregnancy, this is a wonderful form of self-care, especially early in the postpartum period. If your little one was delivered vaginally, taking a warm sitz bath is a great way to facilitate the healing process.
Nurture Yourself with Yummy, Whole Foods
Our bodies are in a major state of healing, especially during the first 12 weeks postpartum (also known as the 4th trimester). By eating nutrient-dense whole foods, you are providing your body with the most optimal nutrients to allow yourself to heal and to have the energy to care for your family.
One way to help make this process a little easier is to prepare freezer meals in advance so you are ready to just take them out and pop them in the oven – minimal prep and time needed!
Say “No” Or Set Boundaries
I CANNOT stress this enough. This sounds easy but can actually be very difficult for a lot of us. Who doesn’t love to love on a new baby?!
Of course, we want to show our little one off but having visitors at all hours of the day for extended periods of time can get very overwhelming very fast. It is more than ok to decline or set a timeline on visits.
Move Your Body
Exercise is medicine! Moving your body in a way that feels good to you can be therapeutic both physically and mentally. This does not mean that you should start training like you’re going to participate in the next Olympic games but rather walking, yoga, stretching, or other low to moderate-intensity movements that you enjoy.
You’re probably thinking, ‘this lady is crazy if she thinks I can get enough sleep.’ And you’re right, you probably won’t be getting all the sleep all the time. However, making sure you get enough rest to function and allow your body to properly heal is imperative. Accept the help offered by family or friends and take the nap. You need it!
In my opinion, this is a non-negotiable for all post-partum mama’s. Our bodies go through major trauma throughout the birthing process and it is very necessary to get the proper care after to help yourself heal and feel good again. Incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain, diastasis recti, and other pelvic conditions are all common but NOT normal following childbirth and should not be something that you just live with. At Apex, we have a team of highly qualified pelvic health therapists ready to help you throughout this recovery process starting as early as 3 weeks post-partum.
There are many other forms of self-care but these are just a few of my favorites. Whether it’s on this list or not, make sure you take care of yourself so you can take care of your family. Remember, you can’t fill from an empty cup!