gray scale photo of a pregnant woman
Birth, pregnancy

The Second Trimester: Exciting Things you MUST Prepare During Pregnancy

Symptoms, Growth, To-Do List During the 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy

So you’ve crossed the threshold of the first 13 weeks of pregnancy and entered into the 2nd trimester. Congrats! Maybe now it is feeling real. Hopefully, the nausea and some of the initial symptoms of the first trimester are subsiding. You are feeling more energetic again. Maybe you are ready to prepare for birth and life after baby. Let’s talk about what you need to know and do in the second trimester.

When is the Second Trimester?

The second trimester starts at week 14. The average length of pregnancy is 40 weeks and so each trimester is approximately 13 weeks. As the second-trimester starts, so do new stages in your pregnancy. Weeks 14-27 of your pregnancy are a great time to focus on preparing for life after the baby arrives.

During this season of your pregnancy, you can expect that your uterus will continue to expand.  Your body will experience some aches (chiropractors can be great!), your skin may start to show stretch marks, and skin changes and you will likely start to feel the baby move!

Symptoms of the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

During the second trimester, if you are lucky, you may get a break from some of the pregnancy symptoms you experienced early on. However, there are still many changes happening in baby and in you. Your belly will continue to grow and likely really pop during this time. Your hormones continue to fluctuate and your body continues to adapt to the caring for the baby growing inside.
Some of the symptoms you may experience include (but are not limited to):
-Leg cramps/Charlie horses (these were one of my worst pregnancy symptoms!)

-Dizziness/lower blood pressure

-Round ligament pain

-Varicose veins

-Swelling (especially ankles and feet)

-Tender breasts

-Nasal congestion

-White/clear vaginal discharge

-Dental problems

Learn more about your Baby’s Development During the 2nd Trimester here!

Start Preparing for Baby’s Arrival During the Second Trimester 

The second trimester is a great time to use your energy to prepare for the baby’s arrival. Yes, you want to prepare for labor and delivery. Also, you want to prepare for all the changes that come after the baby is born. A birth plan is great, but do not forget to create a postpartum plan as well.

Preparing Your Body For Birth During the 2nd Trimester of Your Pregnancy

When it comes to preparing your body for birth, this means taking care of your wellness while also prepping the body for the work of delivering a baby. Continue your exercise routines as you and your medical provider feel comfortable. Continue to prioritize proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, fibers, and vitamins.

You want to prepare your core and vagina for birth. This means working with an expert in prenatal exercise, practicing visualization and pelvic floor movement for birth, and perhaps getting your partner involved with perineal massages.

Preparing Your Home For Birth During the 2nd Trimester

When you come home with the baby, you want to make things accessible and easy so that you have the time to rest and recover as needed. This is a great time to think about a snack and water basket for when you are trapped on the couch, easy access to diapers and feeding items, and food that you (or your partner or support person) can easily prepare. If you have a home with steps, ensure that you can remain on one floor for the first couple of weeks as your body recovers. Another way to prepare is to stock your bathroom with a basket full of the postpartum recovery times you will need.

Another part of preparing your home is preparing for the logistics. Who can help by bringing food? Who can help with pet or sibling care? Will you utilize the service of a postpartum doula or other helping professional? Have these conversations with your partner and do the research so that you can make the most empowering decisions for you and your family.

Learn more about your Baby’s Development During the Second Trimester here!

Preparing your Finances/Work-Life for Birth During the 2nd Trimester

As you prepare for your baby to be born, you want to know what the leave policies are for your place of employment as well as your partner’s (if applicable.) Talk with your HR department and get all the information on what is available to you and what you need to do in order to ensure you can take full advantage of your benefits.

This is also a good time to have a conversation with your partner and make a plan about finances. With a baby can come more unexpected situations and expenses and working to set aside money for the “what ifs” is a wise choice. While it can be tempting to go all out on nursery decor and onesies, work to find a balance that feels comfortable for you and your partner.

Preparing Your Mind For Birth During the Second Trimester

The hormones, lack of sleep, myriad of transitions… they can be difficult mentally as you adjust to new motherhood. During the second trimester, spend time asking about and learning your family history around mental health struggles. Also take this time to learn the signs of PMADS (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders). PMADs can show up during pregnancy as well, so be alert of your mental wellbeing.

Preparing Your Relationship For Birth in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

While it is really beautiful to see your partner step into parenthood, there are also challenges like less time together, lack of sleep, changes in intimacy and decisions to make for the baby and your family. In preparing your relationship for birth, start the conversation about how you can share the load of household responsibilities, research that needs to be done, communication with friends and family. Take this time to list out things that make you feel connected to one another so that you can tap into those things when you need to.

As you move through the second trimester of your pregnancy and weeks 14-27, there are many things you can start researching, discussing, and preparing for so that you can move into parenthood with more understanding and preparation. While you can never be prepared for and control all aspects of having a baby, you can be proactive so there are less surprises!

If you are in the second trimester, join a kick-ass group of ladies preparing for life after baby with intention and honest conversation. Head to the group coaching page and find the next session of Postpartum Planning Group. If there’s not a group that matches your time needs, you can always do the self-paced eCourse as well!

benefits of making a postpartum plan in the second trimester of pregnancy
Birth, pregnancy

First Trimester: How to Handle it and What To Do

Maybe it was feeling morning sickness or perhaps you missed your period. Maybe you just felt different and thought to take a pregnancy test. No matter how you learned you were pregnant, the realization makes you think about all the things to do in the first trimester. Let’s not forget, all the things to avoid during the first trimester.

I’m not going to give you a lecture or 20-point to do list, but let’s talk about how you can start taking care of yourself and that growing baby in the first trimester weeks.

To learn more about the first trimester timeline and baby’s development, check out my post on the Zulily Blog about Baby Development During the First Trimester.

Pregnancy Trimesters

There are 3 trimesters in pregnancy and a “fourth trimester” which describes the first 3 months after you have your baby. The weeks of the pregnancy trimesters are:

First trimester: 0-13 weeks

Second trimester: 14-26 weeks

Third trimester: 27-40 weeks

The first trimester may not look like a lot of change on the outside, but a lot is happening as baby grows and your body changes to take care of your new baby.

What do I Need to Do in the First Trimester?

Enjoy your cravings and also work in nutritious choices.

It can be fun and curious when you have strange cravings. I first thought I might be pregnant when I came home from work and put hot sauce on a spoonful of peanut butter. Yep, pregnant. I also tried to make a salt and vinegar ice cream. That did not work very well. Enjoy those cravings and have fun with it! When it comes to working in nutrition choices during the first trimester, work in vegetables, fruits, fibers and lean meats if you consume meat.

Avoid fish high in mercury, don’t eat cat litter (but really let someone else handle the cat litter) and stay away from anything that you think could give you an infection from being uncooked or unpasteurized. It is also wise to try to cut back on caffeine. This can be hard since you may be feeling so tired, but work to reduce intake. This is also a good time to start prenatal vitamins and folic acid. First trimester sickness (morning sickness but it can hit at anytime of the day!) can make it hard to eat and drink enough, so keep some healthy snacks and water nearby at all times (this is a water bottle that I happen to love). Oh and stop any tobacco, alcohol or drug usage. If you need help stopping, find a program nearby to assist you (getting help is always better than suffering alone!).

Find a trusted provider

Your pregnancy and birth team is very important. If you do not have a trusting relationship with your current provider, it is okay to switch to someone that makes you feel more confident. Find a provider that will listen to you, has an approach to pregnancy and birth that you align with, and will help you understand all the changes and choices you will experience. If you have a history of anxiety or depression, or are feeling depressed during pregnancy, ensure that you have a good relationship with your provider and can bring these things up.

Give yourself permission to rest

Chances are you will feel fatigue throughout pregnancy, but it can be most evident in the first trimester. While you are cutting back on caffeine, you can also be adding in rest. Let go of something on your to-do list and add in a nap. Communicate with your partner (if applicable) that all the hormone and body changes mean you need more rest.

Protect yourself from getting overwhelmed by comparison

It can feel like there are hundreds of things to do after you find out you are pregnant. You may get tempted to download every app and join every Facebook group. Figure out what makes you feel seen and connected and identify anything that traps you in comparison. If you love bump pics and fruit sizes, great, but if you do not, that is okay too.

You do not have to do everything possible to have a good and loving pregnancy. Check out our Instagram page for the space you need for REAL talk about postpartum- preparation, education, advocacy, communication, connection. We help you prepare for life after baby and support you through the first year with resources, small group coaching, 1-on-1 consults, courses

Plan your parental leave

Start to explore parental leave at your place of work and your partner’s place of work. Look into your contract and any HR policies to see what will be available to you. Plan accordingly so that you are able to have a leave.

Should I Announce My Pregnancy in the First Trimester?

Deciding if and when to announce your pregnancy is a very personal choice. Some people will tell you that you HAVE to wait until after 12 weeks, when the risk of miscarriage declines. You do not have to wait. It can be very valuable to have people in your corner no matter what the outcome of your pregnancy is- we need community in our joy and in our pain.

Some people will tell you to announce right away and make it big. You do not have to do that either. If you want to keep your pregnancy intimate, that is totally fine.

If you and your partner do not agree on when to disclose your pregnancy, spend time communicating, discussing your values, and working to find a compromise. Sometimes an outside counselor or trusted friend can be a good third party to help you talk through it.

Related: Communication after baby

woman looks for a doctor during the first trimester

Preparing for Birth and Postpartum

When you find out you are expecting, you want to think about birth preparation and postpartum preparation. Birth preparation includes your preferences for how and where you birth. Postpartum preparation includes setting yourself up for success with life after baby and the transition home and beyond.

Birth prep can be completed via an online course like Birth It Up or at your hospital or through a local birth educator.

Postpartum prep is more difficult to find. At Postpartum Together, we offer an eCourse paired with a small group to guide you through making a postpartum plan so that you and your partner can be prepared for bringing home baby, having support, staying connected in your relationship and more.

Everyone has their own idea of first trimester tips. Prioritize taking good care of yourself, getting in tune with your body, establishing important relationships with your support team and learning about the changes happening in you and your baby.

making a plan for postpartum
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!

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

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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

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  • 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.

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.

Birth, Postpartum

Bleeding After Birth: Postpartum Lochia Impact on New Moms

What to Expect About Postpartum Lochia

You knew your baby would leave the hospital in diapers, but did you know that you would too? After the process of childbirth, you will experience lochia which is bleeding after birth. For all women, it is important to know what kind and amount of bleeding is normal, what products you need to be stocked up on, and how long this bleeding after birth will last after having your baby. Whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section, you will experience bleeding after birth that should decrease and change color over time. This is a mix of blood and mucus and it starts after your delivery. When you were carrying your baby, the body requires extra blood and tissue. Now that you have delivered, the body gets rid of the extra. Your body is healing from where your placenta was attached and your uterus is shedding lining. You may also be recovering from a tear or episiotomy.

How Long Does Bleeding Last After Birth?

Women can expect to bleed for 4-6 weeks after birth, though the blood should change over time.

Related: Cramping After Birth

Products to help with Bleeding After Birth

Click here for easy access to products through Amazon:

If you give birth in the hospital, stock up on the supplies they offer. You will also want to have supplies at home ready to go to help ease the period of postpartum bleeding.

Adult depends: Yes, these are the adult diapers. You will likely only need them for a couple of days, but you will want to change them frequently.
Pads of various sizes/Pantyliners: Have different sizes on hand as your bleeding decreases over time
Peri bottle: While this is more geared towards pain, it can be a great way to clear some of the blood without a painful wipe
Witch Hazel Pads (tucks): Again, mostly for pain, but these are a good substitute for toilet paper those first few days as you’re facing pain. The witch hazel is soothing to the vagina.
Loose Underwear/Mesh Underwear: The last thing you want is for everything to be tight and suffocating. Mesh undies are a great way to stay comfortable and breathable. 
Padsicles: If this sounds like a combination of pad and popsicle, that’s because it is. These frozen pads with the soothing power of witch hazel and aloe vera might be your best friends. Learn how to make them at home in this blog post.

Click here for easy access to products through Amazon

Postpartum Bleeding Problems

It’s important to know the signs of when postpartum bleeding is not normal. Large blood clots, bleeding that does not decrease over time and foul-smelling bleeding are reasons to contact your doctor. In the first few days, blood clots may be as big as a golf ball, but that should not be the case after the first couple of days. Postpartum hemorrhaging happens in 1-5% of women after birth and early detection is vital.

Call your doctor if you have:

Red and heavy blood more than a week postpartum

Large clots (bigger than golf ball), or high number of clots

Discharge has a foul-smell

Fever or chills

Dizzy and/or nauseous

Racing heart

Note: Postpartum bleeding may increase when you are breastfeeding, engaged in an activity (walking steps, etc.), straining to use the restroom or when you first get out of bed.

Bleeding is a normal part of postpartum as the body transitions from pregnancy and birth. However, if you feel your bleeding is abnormal, contact your doctor.

Disclaimer: The information on Postpartum Together is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Postpartum Together Site. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

Birth, Postpartum, pregnancy

DIY Padsicles: How to Make Frozen Pads for Postpartum Recovery

Make Your Own Frozen Pads for Postpartum Recovery Care

After giving birth, your body has a lot of healing to do. If you delivered vaginally, or delivered by cesarean but did some pushing and laboring, you may have swelling and tearing of your perineum. (The perineum is the area between the anus and the vulva.) Padsicles will be a key to alleviating pain and healing as a postpartum mom.

Postpartum bleeding is normal and most women experience vaginal pain after delivery. Think about it- you removed a human from your body- it’s going to take some time to let that heal! You may experience painful urination after delivery and general pain in that area. This is why padsicles can be such an important part of your postpartum recovery kit, and they are easy to DIY (and cheap!)

I’m going to tell you what you need to make DIY Padsicles, why you’ll love them and when to use them!

This post contains affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission for the products recommended.

padsicles ingredients.JPG

What You Need to Make Homemade Padsicles:

Homemade padsicles are an easy way to aid your healing after birth. You only need 4 things, although some women like to add a 5th ingredient. (Find all of these in my quick Amazon Postpartum List)

  1. Maxi pads

    You can choose what size (or sizes) you want to use. In the video, I am using a large hospital pad. However, this will work with any store-bought maxi pad. I recommend getting one that is long enough to fill your underwear and thick enough to hold the witch hazel and aloe vera.

  2. Witch Hazel
    Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory making it a safe soothing topical remedy. Witch hazel is often used to treat sunburn, razor burn, bug bites, hemorrhoids and more. It is traditionally known to have a soothing effect on the skin.

  3. Aloe Vera
    Aloe vera is known to reduce swelling and itchiness. It has a cooling and soothing effect, making it a great part of padsicles for vaginal relief. Aloe vera is also healing for wounds, which is good news for a new mom with a painful vagina.

  4. Freezer-safe bag and/or pad wrapper

    When using a standard store-bought pad, you want to leave the wrapper on while making the padsicle and wrap it back up for freezing. If you use one that does not have a wrapper, or choose to remove the wrapper, you can simple roll the pad and place in a freezer-safe bag. Once you’ve finished your batch of padsicles, it’s easiest to put into a large freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer until they are needed.

  5. Essential oils
    Some women like to add essential oil such as lavender to their padsicles. This may be an added benefit, however, the witch hazel and aloe vera will be enough for the healing mom.

My “recipe” is to squirt them until the pad is adequately wet and will freeze well. I do not measure. However, if you love to measure, here’s a suggestion:

Step by Step Making Padsicles

  1. Unwrap the pad, but leave the wrapper attached so that it can recover the pad after you complete the padsicle

  2. Start with witch hazel. Saturate the pad- 3 to 4 tablespoons worth.

  3. Add the aloe vera. Use 2-3 tablespoons worth.

  4. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil if you’d like.

  5. Use a spoon or stir stick to spread evenly over the pad.

  6. Fold the pad and cover with wrapper.

  7. Put in freezer safe bag and into the freezer until they are needed.

  8. Pull them out and enjoy the relief after baby.

When To Use Frozen Pads After Delivery

Vaginal pain will likely continue for 5-14 days. As time progresses, if you are getting rest and being easy on your body, the pain should decrease each day. Padsicles are great for the first few days after you get home. Personally, I have made 1 pack of maxi pad padsicles for my postpartum recovery and they were more than enough for my healing. I wore them throughout the day for 4-5 days after coming home from the hospital. While in the hospital, take advantage of the ice packs they have available as well as tucks pads and any other accessible recovery items.

Alternatives: How to Buy Them Instead

If you don’t want to make padsicles at home, and you want to have an equivalent, you’re in luck! There are a few products on the market that help with postpartum recovery.

Frida Mom Perineal Pad Cooling Liners

DIY Padsicle Kit

Dermoplast Pain & Itch Spray

Tucks Md Cooling Pads

Reusable Perineal Ice & Heat Packs

Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray

Are you preparing for a new baby? Postpartum is an exciting time, and it can come with a lot of unexpected. I’ve taken the guesswork out of it and am helping women like you prepare for an empowered postpartum. How do you set up your support team? What conversations do you need to have with your partner beforehand? What red flags should you look out for? How do you prepare to still take care of YOU while taking care of a baby? I’m letting you in on it all in the My Empowered Postpartum eCourse.