What is a postpartum plan?

What is a postpartum plan?

What is a postpartum plan?

A postpartum plan is a roadmap to support you and make your transition to motherhood smoother. While you don’t know what the journey or destination will be like, the truth is that the road is sometimes bumpy.

It is a way of organising your life before the baby arrives that will allow you to concentrate on your baby’s care and on your recovery, and to get used to life with a new born more easily.

Why do you need one?

Childbirth and the first few months after birth are unpredictable. Thinking ahead about the different aspects of your life that are likely to be affected by the arrival of the baby will allow you to anticipate possible answers to some of the questions that may arise.

The plan will also help you make informed decisions, set boundaries, and express your needs clearly.

In the first few days right after birth it is essential to concentrate your efforts on healing your body and adjusting to the new routine with your baby. To speed up the new mother’s recovery, keeping warm is one of the universally shared principles of postpartum care. In our industrial societies, taking hot baths, getting massages, covering or binding the abdomen, wearing warm clothes and eating heat-inducing foods are all beneficial ways to regain strength and help the body return to “normal”.

Treating and managing perineal tearing, pelvic floor tone, constipation, haemorrhoids, sore nipples, and breastfeeding problems is also essential for the wellbeing of the mother and therefore the baby.

For these and other common postpartum discomforts (including baby blues and postpartum depression), start collecting names of professionals and services that may be useful should you need them. You can see a list of suggestions at the end of the article.

These are questions that you can use as a trigger to reflect on and find possible solutions. Write down the answers!

Visitors:
  • Who would you like to visit and when?
  • For how long?

Support circle:
  • Who can you call in case you need to take a break, a bath or go for a walk?
  • Who can you call in case of an emergency?

Food:
  • In addition to preparing meals in advance for the first few days after the baby arrives, who could organise a meal train for the first three weeks?
  • Where can you order nutritious and delicious food?
  • Is there a specialist you can consult to help you maintain a balanced diet after the birth?

Household tasks:
  • What are the most important chores in your household?
  • What are the chores that are non-essential?
  • Who could help you with daily household activities (including caring for older children)?

Maternity and paternity leave: 
  • How many days off can you and your partner take before and/or after giving birth?
  • What are the conditions?
  • Is it a paid leave?

Exercise and movement:
  • Where can you go for a walk with the pram?
  • Is there a mums’ group you can join?
  • What postnatal yoga programme can you join?

Rest: 
  • What usually helps you to rest? (herbal teas, sleep mask, relaxation techniques, music, etc.)
  • Where can you take a nap?
  • How can you regain vitality?
  • What is the best way for you to relax?

Relationship:
  • How do you connect with your partner?
  • How do you and your partner cope with stressful situations?
  • What is the best way for you to relax?

Mental balance and spiritual support:
  • What is the easiest way to find balance?
  • Who comforts you in times of need?
  • Who do you trust?
  • Who do you usually lean on?

Self-care:
  • What kind of activities make you feel good?
  • What can you do in 5, 15 and 30 minutes?

List of experts and useful services to have at hand:
  • Acupuncturist / TCM
  • Baby and kids-friendly cafés
  • Baby clothes and accessories (second-hand stores and exchange groups are great)
  • Babysitters and nannies
  • Birth houses
  • Birth preparation course
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Coaches (life, parent, health, etc)
  • Co-working spaces with childcare
  • Childcare
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Doulas / Postpartum Doulas
  • Family centres
  • First aid training
  • Hypnobirthing
  • Learning toys / play group
  • Massage: pre- and postnatal
  • Midwives
  • Naturopathic doctors
  • Nutritionists
  • Ob-gyn
  • Osteopaths
  • Parent coaches
  • Pelvic floor therapists
  • Photographers: maternity/family
  • Physiotherapists
  • Podcasts: pregnancy, birth, maternity, parenting
  • Pre- and postnatal mental support
  • Pregnancy and postpartum fitness
  • Rebozo
  • Reiki therapists
  • Sexual counsellors
  • Sleep consultants
  • Therapists
  • Postnatal Yoga (with or without baby, live or online)
  • Wellness

Finally, here’s another useful blogpost on postnatal essentials to help you get ready for your baby’s arrival.

Bibliography:

Johnson, Kimberly Ann. The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality. Shambala Publications, Boulder: 2017

Romm, Aviva Jill. Natural Health After Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness. Healing Arts Press, Vermont, Rochester: 2002.