When you're counting down the days to your due date, each minute can feel like an eternity. After all, you've been waiting for months to finally meet your little one. But as exciting as that moment will be, you can't forget to take care of yourself too. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do every day while pregnant that'll make postpartum life easier. Trust me when I say that even the smallest changes can lead to a big payoff in the end. Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section, every new mom can benefit from a smoother transition into the postpartum period.
By now you've probably read all the pregnancy and parenting books you could get your hands on, and if you're anything like me, all the hypotheticals might leave you feeling a little anxious about what's waiting right around the corner. Not to worry, though, because there are so many ways to be prepared for whatever life has in store for you. From tips to make your postpartum recovery easier to adopting some new lifestyle habits, you don't have to wait until childbirth to get started. So check out these simple things you can do when you're pregnant to make your postpartum life easier.
1. Prep With Pads
I thought having a C-section meant I wouldn't have vaginal bleeding, but my OB-GYN explained that every mother will experience bleeding regardless of how they delivered. So, as What To Expect noted, you can stock up now on pads to prepare for the period-like flow postpartum. It's a win-win since any leftover pads can be used when your menstrual cycle resumes.
2. Slow Your Roll
For many of my more athletically-inclined friends, having to dial down their postpartum exercise program came as quite a shock. But taking it easy is necessary. As certified nurse-midwife Coralie Macqueen told Parents, "you need sufficient rest for the muscles and ligaments that hold your uterus in place to regain their strength." So, if you enjoy working out, go ahead explore modifications that will make your routine easier and won't seem like such an abrupt change.
3. Nourish Your Skin
If you're lucky enough to experience the famed pregnancy glow, you might want to prepare for how your skin will change postpartum. Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Johnson told the Baby Center that, "stress, big hormonal swings, and the fatigue of new parenthood can put a new mom's skin through the wringer." So what can you do while you're pregnant to help your skin? Johnson recommended you invest in products with, "mild formulas and use a lotion or a cream that contains 12 percent lactic acid as an occasional exfoliant." This way you can take care of your skin without wasting too much time or money.
4. Drink Up
Your parents and doctor were onto something when they told you that drinking plenty of fluids is healthy. As OB-GYN Dr. Robert James Gallo told Fit Pregnancy, you should drink, "at least eight glasses of water a day plus eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains." If you start these healthy habits while pregnant, your postpartum digestive system will thank you.
5. Set Up A Schedule
Despite thinking I could do it all, I quickly realized that asking for and receiving help from friends and family was a lifesaver. While you're pregnant, coordinate your calendars with people who have offered to help to avoid stress and ensure things will go smoothly.
6. Consider Cushioning
Though it's not the most fun topic to discuss, I wish I had given more thought to caring for my bum postpartum. From constipation to episiotomy stitches, going to the bathroom and sitting can be uncomfortable after delivery. According to Kids Health, you can prepare for postpartum recovery with cushions, hemorrhoid cream, and medicated wipes to be kind to your behind. You may even benefit from this while you're still pregnant since carrying a child takes a toll on your digestive system already.
7. Write It Down
I'm the type of person who will immediately forget something unless I make a note. Pregnancy and postpartum life isn't too different. As parenthood researcher Elly Taylor told Parents, "plan to take as much time off work as possible and have your partner actively involved from the get-go." Obviously this may not be practical or possible for everyone, but writing out a potential plan while you're pregnant can at least help you feel mentally prepared for life as a new parent.
8. Squeeze It
Regardless of how you deliver, anything you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor will help after birth. According to the Mayo Clinic's site, you can, "do Kegel exercises to help tone your pelvic floor muscles." How exactly do you practice this? "Tighten your pelvic muscles as if you're stopping your stream of urine," the Mayo Clinic noted. Not only will this help with your bladder control, but it can even make postpartum sex easier — once you've been given the all clear, of course.