What Your Placenta Has To Do With Resting As A New Mom
Updated: Jan 1
I just have to vent for a moment. As a momma who has had 6 babies and learned the hard way…for the love of the giant wound inside your uterus after you’ve given birth…REST!
New momma, please rest.
I know it’s fun to have first outings with the new addition and feeling lighter and having more energy is so nice after pregnancy. BUT, but, but, you are still healing.
See that placenta up there? That’s the placenta that kept Lylah nourished within me, and also was the size of the bleeding wound inside of me for weeks. It’s about the size of a DINNER PLATE 🍽 You have one, too. (If you just had a new baby, of course.) That’s one heck of a scab in there, huh?
If your child had a wound that size would you let him up to move right away? Of course not. You’d encourage your sweet baby to rest.
Why should the rules be different for us moms?
Every time you walk, bend, and lift it stretches that wound and hinders the healing processes to take a little longer. Did you know the bleeding amount is often a sign of you overdoing it– even weeks after birth? The more you rest, the lighter the bleeding gets. If you fully rest as much as possible (my midwife advises 1-2 weeks bed rest, only up to pee and shower! Then, gradually adding in light chores and mommy duty tasks), the bleeding can even stop way less than the “normal” 6 weeks!
Rest is helpful for more than just the placenta sound site, too:
Lying down for a few days after birth also helps prevent uterine prolapse.
Resting helps keep your mood more stable as we care for ourselves, inside and out, because we aren’t pushing to hard and getting overwhelmed.
It encourages more important skin-to-skin oxytocin time with our new babies which has a plethora of benefits for both momma and baby.
Now is the best time to soak in all the willing help from family and friends! Those fun first outings and chores can wait.
Us Americans force ourselves back into fast life too quickly and end up with PPD and Anxiety. It’s ridiculous now how common it is for us moms to struggle hard emotionally after birth. I’ve been there – it stinks. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming. This is one easy step to avoid it as much as possible.
What if you can’t fully bed rest due to spouse needing to go back to work?
Ask for help from other family, friends, your church community, and neighbors. Hire a mother’s helper to care for other siblings for a few hours and do light chores. Rest when and how you can, in-between must-do items like making meals. I would often sit with the baby on the couch once my husband was back to work and play with my kids from there, or enjoy extra snuggles with all of them while we watched a movie. Let some chores slide for now. Use a grocery pick up or delivery option instead of walking through the stores (Shipt is THE BEST THING EVER right now to me!). Enlist older siblings to help with chores and sibling care that they are capable of for their age (even a 2 year old can grab a diaper for you). Make freezer meals during pregnancy so they are ready to go. Create a Take Them a Meal sign up so people can bring you meals for a few weeks.
Make expectations clear with your spouse before birth in how he can be helpful during your transition and recovery. I think many people forget how traumatic birth is on a woman’s body because we look like we’re back to normal but our insides, emotions, and hormones are so not back to normal for a long time.
Share this post with your spouse and family so they know WHY it is important!
Other things you can do to start self-care recovery is to schedule pelvic Physical Therapy sessions to make sure your pelvic floor gets back into a good place and prevent prolapse or peeing yourself (seriously, you don’t have to live with it!). Also, you can do belly breaths along with shoulder and neck stretches (Especially needed for those nursing shoulders– ouch!). All these can be done seated or lying down and very gentle to do. While it doesn’t feel like you are doing much, it makes a difference in those early weeks and it counts! Fit2b has a whole prenatal and postnatal program to guide you through and it’s all tummy safe to help prevent and heal diastasis recti. I’ve used this program through several pregnancies and postpartums, it’s the amazing information and only takes a few minutes a day!