Giving birth is a physical and emotional experience in a woman’s life. It is as exhausting as it is exciting. The first 40 days period after delivery is counted as recovery time for the mother, even if she had a relatively easy normal delivery. After a complicated vaginal delivery or a C-section delivery, the need for care after birth for the mother as well as the baby increases exponentially.
What Is The Importance Of 40 Days After Delivery?
The 40 days after delivery is called the confinement period or postpartum confinement. The first 40 days after delivery in Indiaconsists of different practices. Even though the practices may vary depending on the states and cultures, the basics of all these postpartum practices are the same – accelerate the healing process of the mother and reenergize her so that she can go back to pre-pregnancy mode quickly.
According to Ayurveda, confinement period is the most sensitive time for mothers. Many postpartum practices in India are rooted in this 5000 old healing science.
According to a source, after delivery, no matter if it is a c section or vaginal delivery, most of the body systems of mothers are affected to a certain extend. Though there are certain tips for after delivery care but each organ system is affected differently:
- As the uterus starts shrinking to normal size, mothers experience lower abdominal cramps that are referred to as after-pains
- During the process of childbirth, nerves can be injured, causing numbness or sensitivity
- The digestive system is mostly affected as the mothers more often experience constipation, indigestion, acidity, and gas formation
- The muscles and nerves that control the bowel movements can be overstretched during birth. The use of forceps or vacuum, episiotomy, or tearing in perineal area makes it hard to poop
Besides helping regain the strength and immunity of mothers these 40 days period after delivery helps to strengthen the bond between mother and child. It also helps the baby to adjust to the new world.
Why Do You Have To Wait 40 Days After Giving Birth
It is 9 months of preparation of the body that ends in delivery. Therefore, it is logical to give it some time to recover. If you’ve had a C-section, it can take even longer because surgery requires a longer healing time. There are certain do’s & don’ts after a C-Section delivery that should be adhered to.
The first two weeks after delivery are rocky. In spite of all the pains and strain the woman goes through during pregnancy and childbirth, she has to:
- Take care of a new-born
- Establish breastfeeding schedule
- Make sure to have nutritious food that helps to regain the lost strength
- Focus on iron-rich foods especially if there were loss of blood during delivery
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Take care of perineal tears (in case of vaginal delivery) or C-section wounds to avoid the possibility of infection.
Related Reading: How To Deal With Tailbone Pain After C Section
Moreover, the immunity of the mother and child won’t be up to mark after delivery. Going out or allowing many visitors are not wise during this time.
Therefore, it is important to wait for 40 days after giving birth to get into normal activities.
What Precautions Should I Take During My 40 Days After Delivery
You should not hurry or expect to go back to the pre-pregnancy physical and emotional state soon after delivery. Your body and mind need some time to adjust to the new situation.
Here are the top 8 essential precautions to take during the 40 days period after delivery.
1. Avoid using internal sanitary products
After giving birth, you’ll have vaginal bleeding (lochia). It’s similar to a period but can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. It is best to use maternity pads or sanitary napkins during this time.
You should not use internal sanitary products such as tampons and menstrual cups until the 6th week postnatal examination. This is because the wound where the placenta is attached to the uterine wall will not heal by this time.
You may also have unhealed cracks or cuts in or around your vagina for around two to three weeks. Using internal sanitary products before this wound is healed increases the risk of infections. Also, never forget to:
- Change the pads regularly
- Wash your hands before and after changing pads
- Wash with lukewarm water and keep the area clean
2. Never ignore physical and mental tags
Do not ignore the warning signs of your body and mind. Always monitor your health and emotions. This will help to identify red flags promptly. Any issues that are detected early will cause the least damage. Some of the warning signs that necessitate medical consultations are:
- Intensifying after-pains even after taking medicines
- Discharge from the stitches
- Persisting headache
- Fever higher than 100.4F
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Heavy and continuous bleeding
In addition to your physical condition, it is also important to monitor your emotional state during the 40 days period after delivery. The main problem that many experts see in young mothers is that they fail to address extreme mood swings promptly. This increases the risk of intensifying postpartum depression.
It is important to seek help-
- When you feel disconnected from your child
- If you experience noticeable changes in sleep patterns
- Having strong and persistent feelings of sadness and fear
- An uncontrollable urge to harm yourself
Related Reading: 15 Tried And Tested Ways To Handle Emotions During Pregnancy
3. Do not start doing strenuous exercise
Stay away from vigorous exercises until 6 weeks after delivery. Even after your doctor allows you to exercise, always start with low-intensity exercises instead of high-intensity ones. Exercising too soon after delivery can put your muscles and ligaments that are still loose and weak from relaxing under excessive stress.
Related Reading: 9 Risks Of Exercising Too Soon Postpartum
Doing strenuous exercise before 40 days after delivery can intensify or increase the risk of:
- Muscle damage
- Back pain
- Pressure on stitches
4. Intake of prenatal vitamins are still important
The pregnancy is over, but this does not mean that your body does not need the essential minerals and the vitamin supplements you took during pregnancy. Just like during pregnancy, your body needs these important nutrients after delivery.
Postpartum hair loss, postpartum acne, and other problems are common after delivery. In addition, your body needs essential vitamins and minerals to heal properly and produce breast milk. There are some home remedies to treat hair fall after pregnancy. Continuing the intake of prenatal vitamins can provide you with all the extra micronutrients your body needs during this changing period.
5. Take measures to prevent constipation
Postpartum Constipation is a very common but uncomfortable problem; many factors cause postpartum constipation, such as stretching during childbirth, iron supplementation, postpartum haemorrhoids, hormonal changes, medications, etc.
It is important to take measures to prevent or alleviate postpartum constipation 40 days period after delivery. For this,
- Use stool softeners recommended by your doctor
- Eat high fiber food
- Drink plenty of water
6. Do not overexert yourself
Don’t exert too much during the 40 days period after delivery. Over exertion can get in the way of fast recovery from both C-section and normal delivery. Pushing yourself too hard during this phase can lead to overtiredness and weakening.
Not to mention the strain it puts on postpartum stitches. Therefore, stay away from driving, swimming, and lifting objects heavier than your baby. Also, try to limit climbing stairs.
7. Don’t have sex before the first check-up after delivery
After childbirth, vaginal tissue becomes thinner and more sensitive. It is important to give your body some time before having sex again. It takes a while for the vagina and cervix to return to their normal size. If you have a perineal tear or episiotomy, you may have to wait longer. Coping with a sexless marriage after delivery can be usually tough but it can be managed.
Resuming sexual intercourse too soon after giving birth can increase the risk of postpartum complications such as uterine infection. When it comes to postpartum sex, most doctors recommend waiting four to six weeks after having delivery.
During the first examination after the birth, the doctor will examine the perineal area (if you have a vaginal delivery) and abdominal scars (if you have a C-section). If it is completely healed, he will give a green signal.
8. Abstain from unhealthy habits
It is very important to avoid bad habits during the 40 days after delivery. Do not smoke or drink, and limit or avoid caffeine intake. Likewise, do not eat unhealthy food as your digestive system will be very sensitive during this time.
How To Spend My 40 Days After Delivery?
The first 40 days after birth are very important for both mother and baby. As the baby tries to adapt to the new world, mothers are faced with many problems such as insufficient rest both day and night, sore & cracked nipples, after-pains and discomforts, bleeding, etc.
The following are the top 6 ways the new mother should spend 40 days after delivery to bounce back to her normal routines with optimal health.
1. Take rest as much as you can
No matter whether you’ve had a normal delivery or a C-section, your body becomes weak and tired after giving birth. It takes time to heal. If you have had a C-section or episiotomy, the recovery period will be longer. Rest is the best way to recover quickly.
Resting with a new born baby may not be easy. Your baby may need to be fed every two hours and may need to change diapers every two to three hours. A practical solution to this is to sleep while the baby is asleep
Stay away from all the household responsibilities for the first 40 days. Ask family and friends to help you with housework, or hire a helper if necessary. This will help you focus on resting and caring for your baby.
4 hours of good sleep will refresh you immensely. If you are breastfeeding, use a breast pump to pump out breast milk so that your husband can breastfeed while the baby is sleeping.
2. Use the confinement period for perfecting the art of breastfeeding
The postpartum period is the time mothers establish breastfeeding. Although this is a natural process, breastfeeding is not always easy. Many new mothers have trouble starting breastfeeding, we have a few breastfeeding tips for first time mothers.
Issues like engorged breasts, poor latching, breast refusal, sore nipples, etc. can come in the way of successful breastfeeding. During this 40-day postpartum period, you will be able to identify and correct problems that affect successful breastfeeding.
Related Reading: 6 Things You Will Need For Breastfeeding
3. Use the 40 days after delivery to help you get over baby blues
Due to the exhaustion of labour and the hormone variations, new mothers are prone to excessive mood swings. This is known as baby blues. Around 80% of new moms experience this at various levels.
Use the confinement period to overcome this emotional turmoil and to establish bond with the baby, so that you can enjoy motherhood to the fullest.
4. Eat well
What to eat in 40 days after delivery matters a lot. It is important for new mothers to eat simple and nutritious food. The food that should be consumed within 40 days after delivery should be more or less similar to that of a pregnant woman.
Related Reading: 11 Foods To Avoid After Cesarean Delivery – Know Them Here
All the thumb rules of the pregnancy diet (such as the food should be easily digestible, highly nutritious, hygienically prepared, devoid of allergic risks, etc.) is relevant for a post-partum diet as well. Include various vegetables and fruits, eggs, meat, fish, and milk. You can include some pregnancy superfoods in your diet to have a quicker & efficient recovery.
Focus on food that helps to strengthen immunity, and enhance breast milk production. Also, focus on food rich in iron and calcium.
Postpartum practices have importance in Indian culture. As we know that new moms are weak and tired, both physically and mentally, a head massage and body massage helps relax both body and mind. Postpartum massage should be done by someone who is trained in massaging the postpartum woman. Nurturing oils such as special Ayurvedic oils, sesame oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. are used in post-partum massage.
6. Use this time to strengthen your mental and emotional health
These 40 days after delivery can help you learn the patience and peace of mind that you need to balance taking care of your child and working, in the future. Meditation and breathing exercises will help to fill you with positive energy.
Related Reading: 15 Easy Tips To Lose Weight After Delivery
40 days after delivery is a crucial period. If you use it wisely, it will definitely help you recover fast from the physical and mental strain of labor and delivery. It also helps to establish a bond with the child. Happy motherhood!