Tip #16 Mom-the first weeks: How long does it take to recover from the birth?

February 8th, 2012 → 5:03 am @ // No Comments

I am one of the lucky ones that recovered from the birth of my kids pretty quickly. I didn’t tear, didn’t need C-sections and the births were all pretty straight forward. So I literally (for 2 of my kids) walked away from the hospital hours after giving birth.

Welcome to Holland… If there are no complications you are generally sent home – often only hours after the birth of your newborn. Obviously, there are many exceptions to this rule but for my 3rd child, I went into the hospital at 10:30, baby was born at 12.00 and I left at 15.30.  Seriously.  And I must say that I really liked the idea of being back in my own house, on my own couch with my new baby. The hospital rooms weren’t my favorite – it was bad enough that all of the babies in the room kept us awake, but if we’d actually fallen asleep we were inevitably woken up for temperatur taking, change of shifts, breakfast etc.  So it worked for me.  But it doesn’t end there in Holland. We have an “after-birth” care system here. Trained women come in every day for 7 days to take care of you, make lunch, check on your baby etc. You are also visited by your midwife and a nurse comes in to test the hearing etc. So you are not on your own.

Having said all this – I did spend a week in the hospital for my first & second born. I lost a lot of blood as my placenta didn’t come out naturally. It meant a trip to the OR and a very weak mother. In the end I received a blood transfusion that sped up my recovery. After that my body (luckily) bounced back into shape pretty quickly.  But I took it easy, slow walks, some fresh air, good food and no real exercise for months.

Here is the “short” answer in my book Babies 0-6 months. It’s part of the second chapter called Mom – The First weeks.  I added this chapter because it was the area I was least prepared for. The Me part.

Some women walk away from giving birth some don’t.  You may feel energetic for the first few days, then very tired. If you’ve had a caesarian, the recovery is longer since you’ve just had invasive surgery and your stomach muscles etc. need to repair themselves. As much bed rest as possible is recommended for the first week and about 4 to 6 weeks before returning to normal activity (6 weeks to be on the safe side). It’s important to allow the recovery process, otherwise you’re putting yourself at risk of injury or chronic problems down the road. Take the time to relax a little, take your baby for easy walks in a pram/stroller. There are a few light exercises that are appropriate after giving birth- talk to your post-natal/women’s health physio for advice.


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