• 10 Questions Every New Mom Asks After Giving Birth, Answered!

    Find out when you can take a bath after delivering your baby, and more.
    by Kitty Elicay .
10 Questions Every New Mom Asks After Giving Birth, Answered!
PHOTO BY iStock
  • You finally did it! You have safely delivered your baby. Now, for the next six to eight weeks you can focus on postpartum recovery and dealing with the many physical and emotional changes. You probably have a lot of questions about the activities you can resume, from the simple act of taking a bath to more strenuous activities like exercising and swimming. We've rounded up answers to your most burning questions, especially those that get asked a lot over at our Facebook group Smart Parenting (SP) Village. But before you do these activities, make sure to get the go-signal from your doctor first! Do it during your postpartum checkup three weeks after delivery or for any succeeding checkups you may have with your doctor.

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    1. When can I take a bath?

    Elders would say that you should wait a few weeks before taking your first bath, but according to BabyCenter, showers and tub baths are safe immediately following a normal delivery. It can even be therapeutic, especially if you use warm water that can soothe the episiotomy repair, ease swollen hemorrhoids, and prevent infection.

    You may shower, bathe or wash your hair at any time after the birth of your baby, according to Women’s Care, an obstetrics & gynecology center in Oregon, U.S.

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    If you had a cesarean section, you may be asked to wait a week or so until your abdominal incision has healed, according to BabyCenter. It’s best to discuss it with your ob-gyn so they can give you the go signal. Make sure to carefully dry your stitches after each bath.

    2. How soon after giving birth can I poop?

    Urinating and pooping may be difficult and painful after birth, but don’t feel scared about tearing your stitches when you go to the toilet. According to physiotherapist Hanna Dabbour, you may not need to poo for a day or so after giving birth. But she writes in her column for BabyCenter that doing a poo won’t make the cut any bigger or rupture your stitches, either. So you can go to the toilet as soon as you are able to do so. 

    What you need to avoid is getting constipated since your stool hardens and make you uncomfortable. Drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich food like fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread, according to National Health Service UK. If needed, you can ask your doctor about stool softeners or laxatives. “I waited until I really have to go, so I won’t have to push,” shared mom Samantha Lee.

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    3. When can I start expressing milk?

    Experts usually advise new moms to wait six weeks before expressing milk so that babies can get used to breastfeeding. Direct breastfeeding stimulates breast milk production and latching helps your body produce milk your baby needs, according to L.A.T.C.H. Philippines lactation counselor Sylvia Malabanan. Introducing a bottle too early may cause “nipple confusion,” according to KidsHealth.

    But there are circumstances when a mom can start pumping earlier, according to Lori J. Isenstadt, a lactation consultant, in her interview with The Bump. If the baby is unable to breastfeed due to a health issue, or if she was born prematurely, you can feed her breast milk via cup or syringe.

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    4. When can I wear shorts?

    You might think it a funny question, but you’d be surprised to know that a lot of moms from our SP Village genuinely would like an answer to this question. According to ‘pamahiin,’ wearing shorts after birth can cause ‘lamig,’ which can make a new mom sick.

    There’s no scientific evidence to back up this claim, however. When it comes to postpartum recovery, comfort is key — so wear whatever you like!

    5. When can I go up and down the stairs?

    It’s a common question from moms who’ve had a C-section. Since it’s a major abdominal surgery, your doctor may advise you not to use the stairs for a week or more after the procedure. Once you’re all clear, move slowly and carefully as you go up and down, and take a break if you feel pain or become tired. Try and limit your trips up the stairs and definitely avoid carrying a heavy load while navigating the steps.

    Support your tummy when you laugh or sit down. You can gradually introduce movement to your abdominal area to promote blood circulation in the area. 

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    6. When can I go back to exercising?

    It will depend on how active you were during pregnancy and what type of labor and birth you had. Try gentle pelvic floor exercises first. It will strengthen your pelvic muscles and can help you prevent urinating uncontrollably.

    If you did regular exercise even while you were pregnant and your normal delivery went smoothly, you can carry on with light exercise and stretching as soon as you feel ready, according to BabyCentre. Whether you had a normal delivery or C-section, avoid high-impact exercises and activities — your body needs to recover and getting rid of the bulges can wait.

    For C-section moms, the first six weeks after the operation is a time for healing, says Dabbour. After, you are safe with gentle toning exercises like pelvic tilts, bridges, and leg slides. However, make sure that you get clearance from your doctor first.

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    7. How soon can I have sex again?

    Whether you had a C-section or vaginal delivery, doctors will advise you to hold off the sex until six weeks have passed. This is to prevent any infection or injury to your body, which needs time to heal and recuperate.

    The most important thing to remember is sex after giving birth is a personal choice your partner should respect. Remember, there are ways to be intimate without having intercourse!

    8. When can I go back to work?

    While you’re waiting for the Extended Maternity Leave law to be passed, you can make the most out of your 60-78 leave days (for normal and cesarean delivery, respectively). Six weeks is considered the normal length of “disability” following delivery, according to BabyCenter, but some women may feel that they can return to work sooner than that.

    Whatever you decide, you should consider the underlying factors of going back to work after giving birth — the sleepless nights and fatigue due to round-the-clock feedings may affect work performance. And the emotional guilt that comes with leaving your baby behind may be overwhelming, too. Before you get back to work, make sure everything is in order. This guide can help.

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    9. How soon can I get a massage?

    A postpartum massage can offer pain relief, relax and reduce stress, and even improve breastfeeding, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Postnatal massages are recommended approximately 12 weeks after birth, according to Dr. Natasha Balbas, who specializes in women and children’s health, in her article for SmartParenting.com.ph. If you’ve had a C-section, it’s best to wait until your wounds are healed so that you are able to lay either on your side or on your stomach without discomfort. Read more about it here.

    10. When can I go swimming?

    Wait until your lochia — the vaginal discharge after childbirth — stops. According to Parents.com, it’s best to wait four to six weeks after delivery, when the cervix has closed completely, and the risk of uterine infection decreases.

    For women who had a C-section, swimming may be allowed after six to eight weeks, with the approval of your doctor. And even with her approval, you may want to wait until you no longer have any cramping or pain in your incision before getting into the water, according to LiveStrong.

    As mom Laura Fry pointed out, mothers need rest after childbirth because inside their body is a wound the size of a dinner plate you have at home. Yes, it’s that big. So give yourself enough time to rest!

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