Managing Your Health After Pregnancy

The weeks following the delivery of your newborn are a time for recovery, rest, and getting used to new routines. From choosing the best feeding option for your baby and staying on top of feeding times, to changing diapers and managing other daily responsibilities, moms have a lot to deal with after childbirth. As important as it is to give your newborn the best health outcome possible, it is equally important to look after your own health and manage your well-being.

Here are some tips to help you manage your health after childbirth:

Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

Although you may have scheduled, or already attended an appointment with your OB/GYN provider after giving birth, it is important to follow-up with your primary care provider within a year after giving birth. Primary care providers and OB/GYNs offer different services to support your health and it is important to know who to turn to for your care.

Your OB/GYN can help you with:

  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control
  • Annual Pap smears
  • STI testing
  • Breast exams
  • Pain during urination
  • Other breast and vaginal concerns

Your primary care provider can help you with:

  • Annual check-ups
  • Routine blood tests (like diabetes and cholesterol)
  • Vaccinations (like the flu shot)
  • Physical exams
  • Other non-urgent health concerns
Look out for signs of postpartum depression.

It can seem physically as well as mentally overwhelming to juggle all the things that come with motherhood, but your ACCESS care team can help you adjust to your new routine.

Talk to your provider if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Crying more often than usual
  • Feelings of anger
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby
Practice self-care.
  • Rest when your baby sleeps. You may feel like there are a million things to do around the house while your baby is sleeping, but the best thing you can do for yourself, and your baby, is to try to get some rest while they are sleeping.
  • Keep your newborn’s care simple. Learning your newborn’s schedule and needs is hard enough. Making things, like bathing, quick and efficient can help make your routine less stressful. Remember that asking for help is always okay.
  • Manage stress through mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness exercises can help relax your body and reduce stress. Try some light breathing or listen to a 5-minute meditation while you sit or lay still.

Don’t know where to start? This mindfulness exercise guide from the Mayo Clinic offers tips to practicing mindfulness.

  • Eat a balanced diet. If you are breastfeeding, you may choose to intake extra calories as you will be intaking nutrients for both your baby and yourself. Choosing protein and iron-rich foods, such as lean meats, beans, lentils and a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables, can also help you feel energized throughout the day. Talk to your provider about the best options for you.
  • Move your body. While you should never feel pressured to lose weight quickly or return to your exact prepartum body image, integrating some light exercise into your routine can help make you feel energized and give you a moment to yourself that is just for you. Consider taking small walks around your neighborhood if possible.

Exercise after pregnancy can also help keep your heart and lungs healthy. Check out this article on Healthy Pregnant or Postpartum Women from the CDC to learn more. Keep in mind exercise recommendations vary for each person and you should always talk to your provider before engaging in strenuous activity after childbirth.


How can we help?

For more, ACCESS’ Maternal Child Health services, which includes ACCESS Westside Healthy Start program, is ready to help and can connect you with the right resources.

Make An Appointment


March 11, 2024