This is an important question to ask yourself during your pregnancy to make the transition into postpartum life as seamless as possible for you and your new babe. There are three main categories that I often recommend thinking about:
1. Supplements for you and babe
Most women get counselled on what to be taking during pregnancy, like a good quality prenatal, perhaps some extra probiotics or Vitamin D, or even fish oil. However, there’s often a gap in what to continue or start taking after babe is born. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, there are important nutrients to be taking to not only support babe’s wellness but your own health. Did you know that our bodies will steal calcium from our bones to ensure there’s enough in the breastmilk for babe? There are standard supplements to keep you and babe nourished, but there are also extras that may be warranted on an individual basis. Low milk supply? Babe having a lot of gas or digestive upset? Difficulty healing from your birth? These are all extenuating circumstances that could benefit from safe and specific supplementation.
2. Day-to-day household management
What are you going to be eating? Who will be doing the cleaning or laundry? How will you get groceries? As trivial as these things seem now, when you’ve got your new babe at home, they can become overwhelming. If you’re able to start planning now, like preparing and freezing meals, or delegating chores to your partner or support system, it will be a smoother transition once babe arrives. One of my favourite things to recommend (even in pregnancy!) is grocery pick-up or delivery services. It saves time, physical energy, and usually leads to healthier choices since you avoid the temptations of walking by your favourite junk foods.
Who will you go to if certain concerns come up or to check-in with regularly to make sure you’re on the right track for your health? Creating your team prenatally by meeting with them and knowing what they can offer helps direct you if you do need them. If you are with a midwife, they often will have postpartum visits and resources for you. You can also decide to have a doula (whether you’re with a midwife or OBGYN), who will check in with you at home after babe arrives. Having a pelvic floor physiotherapist, lactation consultant, and Naturopathic Doctor on your team is a good way to round things out to have some of that longer-term support that you may need.
Babies often bring new challenges to us that we would never have even thought of, so preparing for what you can plan may clear a lot of mental space for you. The postpartum period can be overwhelming, but answering these questions for yourself ahead of time can help you feel more in control.
Written by Dr. Laura Smith, Naturopathic Doctor. Dr Laura has a clinical focus in women’s health including fertility and pre/postnatal health. She currently lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Disclaimer – Everything shared is for informative purposes only. It is not intended for assessment, diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you feel there needs to be further investigation, please seek out a qualified health care professional for a proper assessment.