marriage, Postpartum

Setting Healthy Boundaries After Having Your Baby

How to Set Boundaries After Baby for You and Your Family

Often I hear from clients and moms on social media that after their baby was born, they felt out of control. People wanted to visit. There were so many opinions. There was so little sleep and time to connect as a new family.

Whether you’re the kind who wants space after baby or wants visitors waiting at the door, it’s important to be on the same page with your partner and support people and to have boundaries in place that help you have what you need (because believe it or not, momma, YOU and YOUR NEEDS are really important). struggling to set boundaries with family after having my baby

Boundaries are How We Communicate Our Values to the World

Have you ever felt mean or even “bitchy” for needing and setting boundaries? Especially as women, we are often raised to be people pleasers. And yet, this is exhausting and doesn’t take our needs and desires into consideration. It is important to be a kind and giving person, but in order to truly do that, you need to establish boundaries.

Finding our values

When we set boundaries, we are challenged to identify and communicate our values. We must look at what we have the time, energy, space, resources for and what we do not. Boundaries communicate what we believe as a family and how our values reflect that. Setting boundaries leaves less room for confusion and resentment. Boundaries Can be Hard to Set For many, setting boundaries is very difficult. It can create a pit in the stomach and a fear of offending someone else.

Confidence in boundaries

While asking for and accepting help is vital for new families, so is having boundaries around what is helpful and what is not. While boundaries may feel uncomfortable at first, they can help you avoid even more discomfort doing the road. Without boundaries, you may have difficult and tense conversations and interactions in the heat of the moment. Without boundaries, you will likely experience your own resentment and feelings that interfere with your needs and emotions.

Related: How to find a therapist

Set Boundaries After Baby Inside and Outside of the Home

Inside the Home

When it comes to setting boundaries as a new family, you want to consider what you need inside your home and outside of your home. Boundaries inside the home include boundaries with your partner, with your time and with who comes in and out of the home.

These boundaries directly impact your “safe space.” For new moms this might mean setting boundaries that ensure that you have time to sleep and not host visitors. This might mean that anyone who wants to see the baby can also help with something around the house. This might mean being on the same page with your partner about the time you each need to yourself. It also includes setting boundaries around how you make decisions for things like sleeping and eating for your baby.

Outside of the Home

When it comes to setting boundaries outside of the home, this may be where you are willing to take baby. This could be deciding when you’re ready to attend a big family function or what kind of social events you want to be apart of. This means learning to say “no” to things that aren’t fully in line with your values so that you can say “yes” to the things most important to you.

In the current midst of COVID-19, setting boundaries both inside and outside of the home include being on the same page with your partner about the kind of restrictions you want in place as far as visitors, leaving the home, childcare, work, etc. Boundaries may mean that you are finding creative ways for family to get to know your baby. Boundaries may mean that you are doing things like grocery delivery to avoid the stores. There is no “right way” to approach this, except for being on the same page after conversation and research. (We will look at how to do this below.)

Related: Postpartum During COVID

Deciding on And Holding to Boundaries

1. Prioritize: Decide what is most important for you- for your time, your energy, your presence. Think about what you can let go of and what you feel firmly about.

2. Communicate: Use verbal and non-verbal tools for communicating with your partner and/or support team.

3. Examine Mind and Body: Know the implications of boundaries- what feels mentally taxing? What takes an emotional toll? Approach your boundaries out of these root needs/effects. Adjust as needed.

4. Define Circles: You likely have different levels of intimacy with different circles in your life. Define these circles and who is in each of them. Who is part of decision making? Who gets more intimate parts of your family?

5. Define Activities: What activities are you comfortable with? Specifically with COVID, what approach does your family take and why? How can you communicate these to others outside of your home?

6. Listen, Learn, Respond: Set an intention for listening without emotional charge. Learn from those you trust. Respond with firm kindness.

How to Prioritize Your Family Boundaries

making boundaries for your family with values
  • List top 5 values of your family and put them somewhere you both/all can see

  • Check with these values when you need to make a decision

  • In a new situation, schedule a “meeting” and commit to both doing prior research so you can make educated decisions together

  • Unite in your front of communicating boundaries as a team

RELATED: Marriage, Teamwork and New Parenthood

How to Communicate Boundaries After Baby with Your Partner

communicating with your partner about boundaries
  • Shared google document

  • Shared calendar

  • Physical whiteboard/journal

  • Weekly meeting (different from date night)

  • Deciding what you each can and cannot negotiate on

If boundaries feel like a big and difficult topic, you are not alone. We aren’t always taught to set healthy boundaries for ourselves and it’s not often we are given tools and tips for communicating our needs. It’s my hope that some of these points and tips resonate with you, normalize your experience, and give you the tools you need for boundaries that feel empowering for you.

Help with Setting Boundaries After Baby

If you want to set health boundaries and you are currently expecting, check out our next Postpartum Planning Small Group. If you are a new mom and want help setting boundaries after baby, check out one of our New to the Mom Crew or After the 4th Trimester small groups. There is a small group to support you in all your needs!

We talk about boundaries as a conversation to have with your partner during pregnancy in the Creating Your Postpartum Plan eCourse. This comprehensive eCourse helps you to prepare for postpartum by working through the changes you may face and how you want to lay the foundation for your family. You get a 10 page download to complete your own personalized plan while working through the instructional videos. In this course we talk a lot about boundaries because it can be hard to anticipate what your needs will be and what the reaction from others will be, but by proactively working with your partner and support team, you can ensure that you find and use your voice and set healthy boundaries.

Birth, Postpartum

C-Section Massage: Healing After Your Belly Birth

C-Section Scars and Why We Call it Belly Birth

Here at Postpartum Together, we have chosen to refer to vaginal birth and belly birth. Your C-Section Scar is a testament of your beautiful belly birth. Cesarean is a common name for the operation of birthing via incision in the abdomen and uterus. But, we find that referring to this as a c-section dilutes the majesty of any and all birthing. By saying “Belly Birth” we honor that you DID birth a child and you DID do a miraculous thing and celebrate it as it is- a birth.

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) Disclaimer #2 This post may include affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on sales made through links on this page.


csection scar massage taking care of your cesarean scar

What Happens After Belly Birth?

Following a belly birth, most women are instructed on how to watch for infection. We You are taught to ease back into activity, and what to do in those early days. However, many women have shared that they were not instructed to perform c-section scar massages on their belly incisions. I attended a postpartum class with Julie of Strong Body Strong Mama and noticed as she instructed a new mom who had delivered via belly birth on how to massage her scar. From that point, I did some research of my own. I talked with my own clients and audience, and have learned that many women are not instructed on how to care for their scar after birth.

Why Do you Need to Massage Your C-Section Scar?

Scars heal by new scar tissue developing and replacing the tissue that was there. When this new tissue develops, it does not grow in the same direction as the original. This means it needs to be retrained and moved to better align. Another issue that can happen with tissue regrowth is adhesions (scar tissue binding to the organs). These issues can cause problems and pain for moms months or years following birth. Some problems women may experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Back Pain

  • Limited mobility

  • Frequent urination

  • Painful Intercourse

RELATED: Sex After Baby: Am I Ready?

When and How to Massage Your C-Section Scar

You should wait until your doctor is able to confirm that your belly scar is healing properly before starting to massage. Oftentimes women get this clearance at their postpartum follow up appointment.

You will see in the video below, you want to start gently with your scar. Start around the scar and then make your way towards the incision scar as you are more comfortable. Massage it a few minutes each day. Your scar has a skin, muscle and organ layer and you will learn different levels of massage and techniques to work each level and help your tissue move freely in all directions.

As you watch below, will see different techniques in the video to show you how to massage and how to lift and roll your scar. Listen to how Sarah of Pelvic Floor and More explains each step, when and how to use the technique and tips for taking care of your scar after a belly birth.

RELATED: Constipation After Birth

Postpartum Recovery: C-Section Scars & The Pelvic Floor

When it comes to postpartum recovery, no matter how you birthed, women often are unsure of how to take care of their bodies. With so much attention on the baby, many women feel like there aren’t enough resources and checkups on her (I will ALWAYS say the one 6-week-check up is NOT enough!) Thankfully,there are resources available to you like Strong Body Strong Mama and Pelvic Floor and More. If there are other topics regarding postpartum that no one prepared you for or go unspoken, comment below or send me an email so we can get it on the blog!

Postpartum

How to Find a Great Pelvic Floor Therapist After Having a Baby

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues that support your organs, support urine and stool movement, and impact sexual function. Throughout pregnancy and birth, the pelvic floor goes through a number of changes. The muscles can tighten and loosen, the tissue lengthens and the function of the pelvic floor can be compromised through the pressure it undergoes. After birth, changes in your pelvic floor may lead to complications with sex, urination, pain and discomfort. Whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth, a pelvic floor therapist can be helpful in healing. Both tissue damage around the vagina and cesarean incisions can create complications for women.

Related: Postpartum Resource Planner

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed. Information from this site should not replace your regular medical care.) Also, this post may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we may make commission on any purchases made through links. 

during pregnancy, the baby can cause changes to a woman’s pelvic floor

Why pelvic floor therapy?

If your shoulder or knee went through as much physical trauma as your pelvic floor does, you would likely receive a referral for physical therapy. It is totally normal to need to “retrain” your pelvic floor after the weight of bearing and birthing a child.

This is even standard care in some parts of the world. According to this article in HuffPost, For decades, the French government has subsidized “perineal re-education,” i.e., physiotherapy that helps strengthen a new mother’s pelvic floor.“This is a kind of physical therapy designed to retrain the muscles of the pelvic floor, including the vagina, and is one of the cornerstones of French postnatal care,” she (French mother and writer, Claire Lundberg) wrote.

For mothers in the US and many other countries, pelvic floor therapy is not standard care and we are often left to hear about it from a friend, a blog, etc. and find our own way. However, it is important to be able to gain confidence and comfort in the pelvic floor after birth. Some women go years without giving the pelvic floor attention and healing and then deal with things like pelvic floor prolapse even 10 years after birth or incontinence for years. While things like peeing while jumping or painful sex may be common, these are not normal and you don’t have to live with it forever. Pelvic floor therapy is designed to help you through these issues.

RELATED: The Pelvic Floor, Kegels, and What Happens in Pelvic Floor Therapy

pelvic floor physical therapy

How to Find a Pelvic Floor Therapist

When looking for a pelvic floor therapist there are a few things you want to consider.

  • Do you need your therapist to take insurance or will you use private pay?

  • What days and hours are you able to attend an appointment?

  • What do you need to feel comfortable at this type of appointment (gender, personality of therapist)

Where to Look for Pelvic Floor Therapist

Maybe you already know a pelvic floor therapist or have a friend who can give you a recommendation, but if you’re starting from square one, let me help you out a bit!

Databases

I found that there are a few “databases” online where you can put in your location and look for a provider. Unfortunately, I found the results to be very limited both in number of results and ability to filter and find specialties. Pelvicguru.com and pelvicrehab.com turned up better results, but still felt quite limited.

Google Search

You can try a Google search in your area. Example: Women’s Pelvic Floor Therapist Columbus, Ohio. This will likely bring up both individual therapists and offices that provide this service. Once you find options, take a look at the website and look at their services, specialties and/or staff to see if there is mention of pelvic floor and/or women’s health.

Social Media

Sometimes the best information you can get is from finding recommendations from others. If you’re area has a local moms Facebook group, this can be a great place to ask for recommendations. You can also follow the #pelvicmafia on Twitter or Instagram for posts from and regarding pelvic floor specialists.

Your OB/Midwife/PCP Referrals

If you’re experiencing symptoms that lead you to seek out pelvic floor therapy, you can talk about these symptoms to your medical provider. This may be your OB/Midwife and/or your primary care provider. Many providers are not trained in pelvic floor and therefore may not have answers, but you can directly ask them to write you a referral for pelvic floor therapy.

*Note I have had some clients share that they were told there pain/discomfort/worry was “normal” and were not written a referral. Know that there is no degree to which you need to experience these things to warrant pelvic floor therapy. Remember, this is standard care in some areas of the world. If your provider doesn’t believe you need it, but you do, go with your gut and seek out a therapist.

RELATED: Sex After Baby: Am I Ready?

Normalizing Pelvic Floor Therapy

While many parts of the world still do not see pelvic floor therapy as standard postpartum care, many women are speaking up about the importance of this healing. It can be awkward to talk about painful sex, peeing yourself, feeling heavy “down there” and other things that come with pelvic floor complications, but the more we speak up for ourselves and speak with one another, the less awkward it becomes and the more women know they don’t have to suffer with those issues forever.

Many providers and women see birth as the goal in a pregnant woman’s health, but truly the goal should be a supported and healed mother to take care of her new baby.

RELATED: Best comfy clothes for postpartum moms


best clothes for a new mom
motherhood

Mombod Aboard: Have the Fun With Your Kids Without Worry

Because Your Memories Can’t be Measured by the Scale

This post is written in partnership with Goldfish Swim School. Goldfish Swim School has provided us with the experience of lessons for my honest review of our time there. We are thankful for the positive family environment we’ve found at Goldfish Swim School. And we are thankful to have an encouraging place to embrace the mombod and make memories.

goldfish swim school young kids

This post may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission from any purchases made from links provided).

Hey momma- Can we have a talk? 

Friend to friend.

Woman to woman.

Mom to mom.

Mombod to mombod.

I know you’ve been seeing a lot of messages and pictures lately. The ones that tell you how to drop the baby weight and “bounce back” regardless of whether you are 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years after baby. I know you’ve stopped your scroll and thought to yourself “if I could just look more like her, then I’d be happier.” You have tried to watch what you eat and move your body more and yet these kids take a lot more time than anyone prepared you for and there’s always something that needs to be done. Truly, you want to make all the memories with your little ones, but maybe, you’ve thought, you’ll do more when you hit that goal body. 

Related: What is postpartum?

Memories Can’t be Measured

But what if that goal body isn’t really the important thing here? Even if the number on the scale, the pants size, the belly that may still be lingering… what if those aren’t the things that define you and the moments that are special? What if you can enjoy the day, the week, the month, the year and all of the moments that come just as you are? Suit up, momma, because your memories can’t be measured.

Suit up. That’s right, put the suit on. Sit in the sun. Put your toes in the sand. Splash with your little ones. Go to the party. Attend the lessons. Go to the park. Jump in the deep end. Because what your kids will remember most, what they need most out of their moms, is not fitting some outward society expectation, but connecting in meaningful ways.

Related: Presence Over Performance

Putting a Suit on that Mombod for Swimming Lessons

toddler class goldfish swim school 1 year old

When my family first talked about enrolling in swimming lessons, it was the start of winter. I don’t own a scale, but I knew my weight was beyond that “ideal” I have kept in my mind for most of my adult life. Some of the suits stored away wouldn’t flatter me anymore. It was sobering to realize the room would be filled with other moms and dads who could see me, mombod and all, escorting my little one in the pool.

These things could have easily kept me from going to lessons, but there was a much stronger realization and driver. I knew my days with my kiddos aren’t slowing down. They aren’t going to be this age another day. I knew that when they are grown and we look back on their childhood, I want to share laughter and joy about the experiences we have and not regret over the experiences we skipped due to insecurity.

Suit up, momma. Suit up and do the fun things with your kids. Make memories. Laugh loudly. Suit up and don’t let time pass without embracing the moments- because they will go by fast. \

Looking for the perfect suit or another staple for your postpartum body? Find some of my favorites here!

RELATED: Postpartum Weight Loss Comments. Eck.

Finding a Fun Place for the Family (and your Mombod)

If suiting up leads you to swimming lessons with your kids too, we recommend finding the Goldfish Swim School near you. We chose Goldfish because of their approach that makes swimming fun for our kids with play-based lessons and lots of skill building. We easily found a time that worked for our family because of the many options and knew we would have a chance to make up a class if life came up and we missed a lesson.  It also helps that the colors are bright and the atmosphere is so fun that my kids are excited to enter each week. My friend Megan answered all the frequently asked questions about lessons at Goldfish here! Whether it’s swim lessons or any other family activity, suit up, momma.

PS: You can have fun at home and get a sneak-peek of the Goldfish way on their Youtube Channel. (Hello free at-home activity!)

goldfish swim school at home youtube
Birth, Postpartum

Postpartum Constipation: Guide to Pooping as New Mom

Pooping Problems After Giving Birth

Shit happens, but sometimes it doesn’t. After giving birth, up to half of women will deal with postpartum constipation. This is another part of life after baby that isn’t discussed but we are here to give you the rundown: why postpartum constipation is common, what you can do to get things moving again, and when you should talk to your doctor about constipation.

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) Disclaimer #2 this post may include affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on sales made through links on this page.

Peeing and Pooping After Birth: The Amazon Must-Haves

constipation.png

Why Do New Moms Get Constipated After Giving Birth?

There are a lot of things that shift “down there” when you go through birth. Regardless of whether you had a belly birth or vaginal birth, there are spots that are tender and mentally, we are nervous about feeling the pain again.

Physical factors of postpartum constipation:

  • Dehydration: You lose a lot of fluid in birth and you may go a long time without drinking. This may make it difficult for your stool to pass through.

  • Labor Hormones: All of those hormones that go into birthing you baby may also make your bowel movement more difficult.

  • Medication: Many painkillers are known to cause constipation. If you have painkillers during or after your birth, this can play into after birth constipation. (Cesarean/belly birth may include more medication which can increase chances of constipation. Iron medication (which may be used for some women due to blood loss) also are known to cause constipation.

  • Lack of food: Many hospitals require women to stop eating during labor. This may mean you have less to move through your system following birth.

  • Poop during delivery: Some women poop during delivery. Think about it, if you’re pushing, it can happen! (Don’t worry, your doctor or nurse has seen this before, it’s okay!)

    Mental factors of postpartum constipation:

  • Fear of pain: Our bodies naturally tense up when we fear pain. If you had tearing, an episiotomy or an incision during birth, you may have fear about pain when trying to poop.

  • Embarrassment: If you have a well-meaning nurse, partner, family member, etc. who is helping you with postpartum recovery, you may feel timid about trying to poop after baby. Let it go sister- the embarrassment and the poop! We all poop.

    Related: DIY Padsicles

    How to Poop Again After Giving Birth

woman on toilet pooping after giving birth.jpg
  • DRINK UP! For a number of reasons, it’s important to stay hydrated and get a lot of water after birth. This will give your body something to work with!

  • EAT UP! Make sure to have some fibrous foods as part of your after-birth buffet. Whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies are important parts of eating after birth (and for the weeks of postpartum beyond.)

  • FEET UP! Using a stool to elevate your feet, legs and pelvis while using the toilet can help create relaxation in your body to help things move without strain.

  • BREATHE! Remember those breathing techniques you learned for birthing your baby? Those same techniques can be used to help you poop after birth. Relax your muscles and don’t rush/force it out.

  • Be gentle. Use a peri bottle or other way of wiping instead of toilet paper to be cautious of any tearing and pain. Use a sitz bath to help comfort the area.

  • Stool Softener. Your doctor will likely provide you a stool softener that is safe for breastfeeding and after birth. A medication like Colace can help things get “regular” again.

Dealing with Long-term Postpartum Constipation

While there are many ways to help things get moving right after birth, it is also important to think about the long-term impact on your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor helps our body to poop without pain or problems. There are many reasons to see a pelvic floor therapist (and pelvic floor physical therapy is standard care in some countries!) and ensuring that your able to poop and release gas when you want to (and not unwelcomed!) is just one part in addressing the pelvic floor.

RELATED: Do I need to exercise my pelvic floor?

Possible Problems with Postpartum Constipation

While postpartum constipation is quite normal, you do want to keep an eye out to ensure there are no complications. Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus that can cause discomfort) can be common for those struggling with constipation. If you are experiencing pain, padsicles can be very helpful. If the hemorrhoids persist, your medical provider may want to look into it more.

As your body works to go back to normal, remember what is normal for you when it comes to pooping. How often and at what time of day did you go before giving birth?

If you experience bloody stools (keep in mind you will have postpartum bleeding, so you will likely see blood when you are on the toilet, but check to see if it is in the make up of your fecal matter), strange color and/or excessive pain, let your medical provider know.

RELATED: Bleeding after birth

For some women, constipation after birth goes away after the first few days. If this persists for more than a week, let your provider know and keep up the steps for helping your body get “regular” again!

If no one told you about constipation after birth, it can be surprising. Here at Postpartum Together we believe that NO PART of postpartum should be taboo and we are here to talk about it!

Related: After birth cramping

Baby’s Poop- What’s Normal?

Now that you know what to expect with your own poo after giving birth, it will be important to know what to expect from your baby’s poop too! Poop color, poop consistency and more can vary in the age of baby. Learn all things Normal Baby Poop over on the Zulily Blog.

Birth, Postpartum

Cramping After Birth? Here’s How to Handle Postpartum Involution

For a majority of your life, you’ve anticipated cramps. Menstrual cycle cramps you learned about in junior high health class and have experienced for years. In pregnancy, you’re prepared to have braxton hicks cramps and eventually the labor pains. Now that the baby is here, are you in the clear? Cramping after birth can be surprising.

One thing you may not know is that afterbirth cramps are also normal. If you’re like most women you’re wondering “why didn’t anyone tell me I’d have cramps after giving birth!” Whether you’re currently pregnant or finding this article because you’re experiencing afterbirth pains, I’m here to say yes, it sucks and yes, it will get better!

(Skip to the end if you’re just wondering what you can do to ease this pain!)

You can also listen to me open up about all things postpartum with Mama J on this episode of “January’s Podcast”

why am i having cramps still after i had my baby

This post may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from any purchases made from links on this page.

Why Do I Still Have Cramping After Birth?

Cramps after giving birth are called involution. This is the process of your uterus returning to normal size and is often marked by short, sharp pains. Throughout your pregnancy, your uterus grows around 25X its’ normal size. These cramps after giving birth are helping the uterus to shrink back down. While the process usually takes around 6 weeks, you likely won’t feel these pains for that long. As the days pass, the cramping will reduce and then subside.

Related: Delivering the Placenta

Why Do I Cramp More When Breastfeeding?

Involution (uterine cramps) are caused by the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding which means the cramping is likely stronger during a nursing session. When you start breastfeeding, the oxytocin is released which triggers the uterine cramping. It’s definitely amazing how our bodies work like that (but that doesn’t make the pain any more enjoyable!)

breastfeeding makes me cramp after having my baby

The Cramping Is Usually Worse in Subsequent Pregnancies

Some of my clients shared that they didn’t notice these cramps much with their first, but they were surprised how strong they were with their second or third child (or beyond!) Most people agree that the afterbirth cramping increases with each postpartum and this is thought to be because of the uterine muscle tone. After the first, the uterine muscles are likely still strong and able to contract more efficiently. In each subsequent postpartum, it takes more effort for the uterine muscles to contract and, therefore, you may have more noticeable cramping.

How Do I Get Rid of Cramping After Birth?!

I wish I could tell you there is a magic pill you could take while doing a magic yoga move and chanting a magic phrase. If I told you that, though, I’d be lying.

When it comes to afterbirth cramping, there are ways to alleviate the pain, though.

  • Pain Relievers (Medicine): Whether you’re at the hospital or at home, you likely have access to OTC pain relief. Check with your provider on dosage if you are breastfeeding.

  • After Ease (Liquid Drops): If you prefer to avoid medication but still want relief, try a liquid drop like After Ease. After ease can be added to your water and is created for postpartum moms to find relief from cramping

  • Heating Pad: Whether it’s the break and heat pad from the hospital, a favorite heating pad from home, or a homemade rice sock, finding a way to put heat on the painful area can help minimize the pain you’re experiencing

  • Deep breathing: Remember that breathing practice you did for birth? It can come in handy again as you breathe through the cramping afterpains. Purposeful, focused breathing!

  • Pee/empty bladder: Don’t avoid urinating!

    RELATED: The First Pee After Birth

  • Belly binding: Belly Binding is a technique that includes wrapping the abdomen with cloth to provide support for healing. Some believe this helps the uterus contract and the pressure can be helpful in alleviating afterbirth pains

No Part of Postpartum Needs to Be Taboo: Even Cramping After Birth

If no one told you about after birth cramping, it can be shocking to realize that even after birth you may still feel contractions. Here at Postpartum Together we believe that NO PART of postpartum should be taboo and we are here to talk about it!

Want a safe space to talk about ALL THE THINGS life after baby? Need a judgement free community? Do you want to learn about the changes that have happened in you- mentally, physically, relationally, identity and more?

Postpartum Together has a number of small groups to help you navigate your transitions after birth. Get the details and secure your spot here.

Postpartum

Worst Massage of Your Life: Fundal Massage After Giving Birth

What is a Fundal Massage?

how to stop it from hurting when i pee after birth

 

When the Nurse Comes In Right After Birth…

A fundal massage, also known as a uterine massage, is a normal part of after-delivery care.  This typically happens shortly after birth and can continue for hours or days depending on the needs of the patient.

Who doesn’t want a massage after the labor of bringing another human into the world?

When Do You Get a Fundal Massage?

A uterine massage often happens while you are doing skin to skin with your newborn and is done in order to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging. Chances are, if you’ve had massages throughout your life, most of them were not near your pelvic bone and uterus. This massage is also described as “rougher” than massages you may be used to as your doctor, nurse or midwife works to stimulate the uterus.

Stimulating the uterus to contract is important to help rid the body of blood clots and help it to move into the post-birth processes needed for recovery. Your medical provider will also place one hand in the vagina to support the uterus.

The name “fundal massage” comes from “fundus” which is the top of your uterus. The uterus is an organ in which the fertilized egg is implanted. The uterus grows throughout pregnancy and upon delivery, will transition back to its’ normal size.

uterine massage after giving birth

Postpartum Hemorrhaging

Postpartum hemorrhaging refers to the excess loss of blood following childbirth and occurs in 1-5% of birthing women. Hemorrhaging causes a drop in blood pressure, which the body is not prepared for. Fundal/Uterine massages as well as other preventive measures are done to decrease the chances of hemorrhaging after giving birth. Fundal Massages happen after vaginal birth, cesarean birth, miscarriage and abortions. Any time that a pregnancy comes to an end, the uterus needs to contract and heal. You will likely receive fundal messages from your medical team (and if you don’t, it’s a good time to ask why you are not!) and you may be instructed on how to perform a uterine massage yourself.

Some women will only need uterine massages for the first couple of hours after birth. Some women will continue to receive these massages for a couple of days as the body discards blood and tissue following birth.

There are many aspects to care after childbirth and it is important to talk with your medical provider about what to expect and what kind of care you can anticipate. It is also important to talk to your support person about how to help you through birth and beyond.

Related: Postpartum Bleeding

Sources: The information for this post was gathered through anecdotal, stories shared by other moms, March of Dimes, Cochrane Library.

Birth, Postpartum

Peeing After Birth: What You Need to Know about the First Pee

 

how to pee after giving birth

 

The First Pee After Birth: I Did NOT Expect This!

Here at Postpartum Together, we’ve been talking about the unexpected parts of life after baby. We are usually prepared for birth, but there are many things that happen right after birth that can come as a surprise to new moms. One of those things is peeing after birth (or the first few days of peeing after baby) and how it can hurt and sting. We aren’t here to scare you about afterbirth, but to help you know what you can expect and to let you know you’re not the only one! I remember being shocked at how difficult it was for me to make it to the toilet the first couple of days after giving birth and how much I dreaded going to pee because it would sting so badly.

RELATED: Delivering the Placenta

Why Does Peeing After Birth Hurt?

Peeing After Vaginal Birth

Birth takes a toll on your lady parts. For women who deliver vaginally, there is often either an episiotomy or vaginal tearing.

Episiotomy: Surgical incision in the perineum during childbirth to enlarge the area baby passes through

Vaginal Tearing: Also known as perineal lacerations. This is tearing that occurs as the skin and tissue is unable to stretch enough for baby to pass through

Regardless of whether you have an episiotomy or have vaginal tearing as baby passes through, the skin and tissue is damaged in childbirth. This makes the area sensitive and can create open wounds. There is also swelling in this region which can contribute to the discomfort of peeing after birth. When you think about it- the swelling and tearing and wounding- it’s no surprise that there can be a burning sensation and pain when you pee.

Peeing After Belly/Cesarean Birth

It is also possible to experience painful pee after a cesarean birth. For those who push and labor for a vaginal birth but transition to cesarean, there may be damage- tearing and swelling- to the vagina from the laboring. Also, a catheter is often placed after a cesarean and the removal of that can cause painful urination.

How to Decrease Pain During Postpartum Pee

I don’t believe in magic solutions or the ONE MISSING STEP to fix your problems. The reality- for many women, peeing after baby is painful. It stings and burns and is a dreaded time. There’s no sugar coating that. However, there are some ways to help decrease that pain (and remember, it won’t last forever!)

  1. Peri bottle and warm water: A peri bottle is simply a bottle that you can fill with warm water and squirt at your crotch while you pee and after. Why? Because the pressure and water can help counteract the sting and allow you to pee more easily, plus a squirt after can clean you up without needing to wipe. No one wants to put toilet paper on that area right after birth. You can get a simple peri bottle like this one or a fancy pants one like this.

  2. Pain Relief:Decreasing swelling and alleviating pain are a part of afterbirth. For your vaginal damage, these are important parts of healing. First, pain reliever. Talk to your medical provider about what dosing is safe right after birth, but you should be able to take pain reliever. Second, ice pads. Cooling will help alleviate pain and reduce the swelling from tearing and bruising. You can purchase ice packs to put in your mesh undies, or you can make padsicles.

    RELATED: DIY Padsicle How-To

  3. Positioning: Believe it or not, the way you are seated on the toilet can have an impact on how you pee. Leaning your body forward can help position the area to be more relaxed. A foot stool allows you to lean forward, prop your legs and create a more natural flow. Foot stools are highly recommended for both pee and poop after birth (and all of the time!) Plus, it’s nice to have on hand once potty-training begins so it’s a great investment! Want the easy-to-stock-up Amazon List? See all the items recommended for pee (and poop) after baby here!

  4. Go in the shower/bath: Throw out your typical opinion of peeing in the shower. Sometimes the counter of warm water surrounding you is very helpful for those first few pees. Peeing in the bath? I know. It’s pushing boundaries, but if you can lay in the bath (get a sitz bath?!) and then pee right before getting out, it’s not that bad. And it can provide a lot of relief for that burn/sting sensation in the early days.

woman pee in shower after birth

Complications to Peeing After Birth that You Need to Be Aware Of

Most of the time, burning and pain while peeing subsides after a few days or weeks. As the body works to heal itself after birth, swelling decreases and tears/stitching heals and with that comes more “normal” urination. However, some women can experience UTIs after birth and it’s important to know when to seek medical advice. (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) 

Signs of a UTI After Birth

Pregnancy increases risks of UTIs and the fear of painful pee can cause women to hold it in which can increase risk of UTIs. It is important to find a way to comfortably (as much as possible) pee after birth so that you can take in adequate fluids and not hold in your urine.

(Info sourced from Americanpregnancy.org )

  • Pain or burning (discomfort) when urinating

  • The need to urinate more often than usual

  • A feeling of urgency when you urinate

  • Blood or mucus in the urine

  • Cramping or pain in the lower abdomen

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Chills, fever, sweats, leaking of urine (incontinence)

  • Waking up from sleep to urinate

  • Change in the amount of urine, either more or less

  • Urine that looks cloudy, smells foul or unusually strong

  • Pain, pressure, or tenderness in the area of the bladder

  • If bacteria spreads to the kidneys you may experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

RELATED: Pelvic Floor in Postpartum

Momma- delivering the baby is a huge feat! Don’t be surprised if there are still some things that are uncomfortable- we never want to scare you (it doesn’t last forever!) but make sure you aren’t totally shocked by life after baby!

This post includes affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission from anything you purchase. They don’t give us much, but hey.

Birth, Postpartum

Birthing The Placenta?! What Comes After Having Your Baby

What is This New Organ in Your Body?

No big deal, the placenta is just an extra organ your body grows along with baby. Yes, your body is THAT incredible- it grows an additional organ! This is what nourishes your baby throughout pregnancy. The umbilical cord connects your baby to the placenta as it delivers oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

It is a protector- filtering out harmful substances and waste and eventually passing on antibodies to your baby. This organ is also responsible for producing a number of hormones throughout your pregnancy (this is a reason why you can have a hormone “crash” after delivery). The placenta is usually attached to the side or top of your uterus throughout the duration of your pregnancy (Sometimes it is attached to the front of the stomach called anterior placenta.) Once you deliver your baby, the placenta must follow as well.after you deliver baby you then must deliver the placenta

When Do You Deliver the Placenta?

Once your baby has arrived, you will still feel mild contractions. This is because the uterus is working to separate your placenta from the uterine wall and move it through your birth canal for delivery. This is often referred to as the “third stage of labor.” The “afterbirth” may come quickly within a few minutes of birth or could take up to half an hour.

Your provider may assist in this delivery by gently pulling on the umbilical cord and/or kneading/massaging your uterus to help it move while coaching you through light pushing and breathing it out. Your placenta will move through the birthing canal with a gush of blood at which point your provider will inspect the placenta to ensure it has all been removed.

If you deliver via cesarean birth, your doctor will remove the placenta before closing your incisions. Your doctor will likely massage the top of your uterus to encourage it to contract.

RELATED: Bleeding After Birth

Does it Hurt to Deliver the Placenta?

While you will probably continue to feel mild contractions, most women compare the placenta to something jelly-like! Imagine giving birth to a jellyfish or a jellocake- now you have an idea of what to expect. While you may feel discomfort as your medical provider helps to aid it out via pushing on the uterus, the delivery feels different than delivering the baby. It is squishy- with no arms, legs, or a head to move through the canal so it can move through with more ease.

delayed cord clamping means the doctor cuts the umbilical cord after the placenta is delivered.

Delayed cord clamping means the doctor cuts the umbilical cord after the placenta is delivered.

Many women say they feel a relief of pressure once their placenta is delivered. You may be given Pitocin at this time to aid in the uterine contractions and help minimize bleeding. Oxytocin and prostaglandins, the hormones released during breastfeeding, can also prompt the uterus to contract as it returns to normal size.It’s common to feel nervous about the need to deliver something else after your baby’s arrival, but do your best to relax and focus on breathing, not tensing up. Breathing and relaxing your pelvic floor will make way for your placenta to move through.

What Do You Do With the Placenta?

There are differing opinions on how to handle a placenta after delivery. Medically it is seen as an organ that no longer has function, but some women choose to keep the placenta and discard it in different ways. If you give birth at a hospital, the standard protocol is likely to discard following biohazard protocol. Many hospitals will allow you to make other arrangements for your placenta if you proactively have this conversation, however, some states and hospitals have strict guidelines against this. If you deliver at home or in a birthing center, you’ll likely have more conversations throughout your prenatal care about what you would like to do after delivery. Many birthing centers and home delivery midwives will make a plan with you.

Biohazard Discard

The hospital will follow standard protocol- likely putting the placenta in a heavy duty plastic container and incinerating the organ for disposal.

Consumption of a Placenta

Some women believe this magical organ replenishes nutrients in the body and may aid in preventing or alleviating postpartum depression and other mood disorders while boosting energy and milk supply. There is varying research and medical opinion on this. Consumption may be through ingesting the raw placenta in something like a smoothie or through dehydrating the placenta and encapsulating it.

Related: Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Burial or other Method of Honoring 

Some women choose to keep their placenta for an act of honoring it. This could be done via planting it alongside a tree, using it to create art or jewelry.what is afterbirth or the “third stage” of delivery

Preparing While You are Pregnant

While you are pregnant, you will want to talk with your medical provider about your placenta to gain more understanding.

During prenatal appointments, here are some questions you can ask:

1. Do I have any risk factors for placenta complications?
2. What are the signs of a placental problem?
3. What is the protocol for disposing of the placenta? (If you wish to keep it, talk with your provider beforehand about options.)

My story of Placenta Delivery

I am a mother of two and had two different birth experiences. With my first, I remember the afterbirth as uncomfortable, but not as painful. It seemed to move through me and out of me while I was more focused on holding my new baby. My body was relaxed and I noticed the placenta coming out but did not do a lot of extra work. My midwives massaged the uterus to help it expel the placenta.

With my second, there was a lot of anxiety in the room following my birth. My daughter was only on my chest for a couple of minutes before being taken for an exam and to the NICU, and she did not initiate any breastfeeding. I was making choices and having intense conversations with my medical team while the midwife was trying to deliver my placenta. As my cervix started to shrink back down to size before my placenta had been delivered, I was administered Pitocin to aid the contractions or the uterus. I was facing a retained placenta, and it had to be manually removed (yep, this means an arm up in the vagina to manually bring the placenta out.) This process was painful and much different from the peaceful ease of my first.

Related: Homebirth Story
Related: Hospital Birth Story

Being Informed About Your Birth

When it comes to delivering your placenta, it’s first important to know that it must happen! It is also important to make decisions beforehand if you wish to keep it instead of following standard hospital protocol. Lastly, it is important to have conversations with your provider about complications and risk factors. Most women will deliver the placenta with ease and free of complication, but there are some complications that can be threatening to the birthing mom and can lead to a cesarean birth and/or higher risks of bleeding after birth.

SOURCES: Information for this article was sourced from anecdotal evidence, story contribution from other moms, americanpregnany.org, healthline, mayoclinic.

Birth doesn’t need to be scary, but it is an important time to be informed. Empower yourself by asking questions of your medical provider and understanding the changes and process of your body.

Are you expecting and in need of a value-packed birth prep course? Check out Birth It Up!
Are you wanting to prepare for life after baby? Make your Postpartum Plan here!

Birth, motherhood, Postpartum, pregnancy, Pumping

What is a New Mom Coach and Why Do You Need One to Improve Your Life?

New Mom Group Coaching: Your Growth in Motherhood

how to find someone to support you in postpartum as a postpartum coach after you have baby

Every new mom deserves more postpartum support than the standard care we have in the United States. A new mom coach helps you identify that support, advocate for that support, and get the support new moms need.

When talking to moms, I often hear that postpartum, the time after having a baby can be surprising. I get it, it was the same for me. I have always been fortunate to have a great support system and yet there’s something about postpartum that is still so taboo- people aren’t talking about it and women enter this season without preparation. The transitions of new mom life are many, and the places to talk about it and process it are few.

A new mom coach is your guide, your cheerleader, you empowerment sister when it comes to postpartum and new mom life. A new mom coach helps you to move through the changes of postpartum with support and community.

Do All New Mom Coaches Do the Same Thing?

Honestly, the term “Postpartum Coach” or “New Mom Life Coach” is fairly new and there is no “formal” definition. When you search for Postpartum Coach you will get diverse results.

Some postpartum coaches are trainers who focus on weight loss and the postpartum body.
Many postpartum coaches come from a clinical or therapeutic point of view.
A number of postpartum coaches focus on the spiritual transformation of motherhood.

It’s hard to define a new mom coach, because we all come at it from different angles. It’s important that when looking for a coach, you find someone who aligns with your values and your style.

Postpartum Together New Mom Group Coaching

Postpartum Together New Mom Group Coaching was built very intentionally. Together is the emphasis on a group coaching program instead of individual program. At Postpartum Together we whole-heartedly believe that we were made for community. We were made to have a village to support us in postpartum. We were meant to learn alongside other women.

In a society that has taken a lot of that away, we are bringing it back. Our clients share that hearing from one another, having a safe place to be authentic and REAL with other women, having open judgement-free dialogue is life-changing. At Postpartum Together we follow a curriculum that provides you with a weekly theme, prompts throughout the week and place to have discussion, and a weekly video call. This means you are guided through each aspect of postpartum changes with education and space to reflect and learn from others. Weekly, we get face-to-face on a video call and go even deeper together. Together. We believe in TOGETHER.

Another benefit of the group coaching aspect is it allows us to keep the cost lower than individual programs and give more women access to the support and guidance you deserve.

Related: Where do we learn about postpartum?

finding your tribe of mom friends after baby

Who Needs a New Mom Coach?

Short answer? Every mom DESERVES an intentional space to work through the transitions of motherhood. Each mom DESERVES to have someone guide her through the changes and help her find her strengths. Every mom DESERVES tools and resources to help her as her relationship, body, mentality, responsibilities and more change. In years past, there was more of this naturally built in. We lived closer to family. We got to see others go through postpartum. Now, we are often left with highlight reels of social media that leave us with little to really connect with.

Longer answer: There are many factors that can contribute to benefiting from a postpartum coach. A postpartum coach is for you if:

-You want to prepare for life after baby
-Having a baby for the first time
-Going back to work after maternity leave
-Transitioning to being a stay at home mom
-Adding a sibling to the family
-Fostering or adopting a baby
-You want support through your changes
-Need to process your birth experience
-You feel like your body and mind have changed and you want to understand that
-Want to find your identity again after becoming a mom
-You want to improve your relationship and marriage
-Reminders that you’re not alone in new mom struggles like sleep, breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding), work and job questions, overwhelm and more
-You want a non-judgmental space to be seen and accepted, even when motherhood is messy.

Related: Marriage/communication after baby

How is a New Mom Coach Different from a Doula, OB, Midwife, Trainer, etc.?

Postpartum takes a village. A care team. A group of people who can support you. This might include (but not be limited to):
-OB/Midwife
-Doula
-Chiropractor
-Physical therapist
-Lactation consultant
-Counselor
-Pediatrician
-Baby sleep consultant

A New Mom Coach is different from all of these. Your coach is like the glue that holds you to your team. A postpartum coach can help you identify and connect with these resources you need. She takes the time just for YOU to walk through your unique experience. A coach gives you the tools to process your changes, find healing, find empowerment and move forward into a more confident motherhood.

A postpartum coach doesn’t tell you “how to” as much as provides a space for you to identify and find what matters most to you and your family. A postpartum coach isn’t a doula. A doula is often helping you with your home, breastfeeding, finding immediate solutions. We love postpartum doulas, but we are not doulas!

Related: More than a mom

Are you looking to have your best postpartum with the support of a postpartum coaching group? Learn more about Postpartum Together groups here. (And if we aren’t the right fit, I’m happy to help you find a coaching service that is!)

I’m Chelsea. A postpartum coach committed to making space for your unique story and empowering the hell out of you on the way.

I’m Chelsea. A postpartum coach committed to making space for your unique story and empowering the hell out of you on the way.

Interested in becoming a postpartum coach but not sure where to start? Email me here to chat more.