The IVF journey is an emotional and physical roller-coaster that can significantly impact postpartum recovery. According to a study published in PLOS ONE, women who undergo IVF may experience unique postpartum challenges linked to hormonal fluctuations and psychological stressors. Consequently, the importance of holistic and gentle care following IVF is emphasised. This entails:
- Providing emotional support to address the psychological impact of IVF
- Offering personalised medical care to manage hormonal imbalances and other physical health concerns
- Ensuring women have the resources they need to nurture their well-being and recovery.
This comprehensive approach supports the healing process after the rigorous IVF journey.
Nurturing Your Body: Physical Recovery
Movement and Wellness: Exercise Tips
Pelvic floor health directly impacts postpartum recovery. Performing Kegels, exercises that strengthen pelvic muscles, can aid healing after childbirth, make sex more enjoyable, and prevent urinary incontinence. Pelvic health is closely tied to overall wellness, and any disruption can cause physical discomfort and stress. Therefore, focusing on pelvic floor health can lead to smoother postpartum recovery. Regular exercise, such as physio-led online sessions, promotes this wellbeing, and offers the additional benefit of education, empowering new mothers in their journey. Hence, maintaining pelvic floor health is crucial to a holistic and swift postpartum recovery.
Nourishing Your Body: Nutrition Insights
Recipe for Warming Lentil Soup
- Ingredients: 1 cup lentils (rinse and drained), 1 medium onion (chopped), 2 cloves garlic (minced), 2 medium carrots (chopped), 1 stalk celery (chopped), 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 2 tsp cumin, 100 gm chopped leafy greens (spinach/kale), Salt and pepper (to taste).
- Instructions: Sauté onion, garlic, celery, carrots in oil till soft. Add lentils, broth, cumin, and salt; simmer 20-30 minutes till lentils tender. Stir in greens; serve when wilted.
This serves as a nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, and warm meal beneficial for postpartum recovery, supporting metabolism and digestion.
Mind and Emotions: Emotional Well-being
Partner and Family Support: Communication Strategies
Mindful Moments: Relaxation Practices
- Start by expressing gratitude about the new parenting journey and discuss the shared responsibility of looking after the newborn.
- Convey your expectations clearly and explain that you need their help without having to constantly ask for it.
- Talk about the challenges and feelings you're experiencing in the postpartum period and the importance of mutual emotional support.
- Subtly introduce the need for domestic help and co-parenting roles.
- Always facilitate open and empathetic communication, ensuring your partner has the right understanding of the situation.
- Encourage their engagement by involving them in your healing process and daily child care responsibilities.
Here's a brief breathing exercise:
- Start by sitting comfortably and closing your eyes.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, feeling your abdomen expand.
- Hold your breath for a moment, concentrating on the silent stillness within.
- Slowly breathe out through your mouth, feeling your body releasing tension.
- Continue this cycle for any length of time, focusing on your breath and quieting your mind.
- Whenever you find your mind wandering, gently guide it back to your breathing.
- Feel free to practice this exercise any time you need relaxation, focus, or just a moment of calm.
Bonding and Breastfeeding: Baby-Centered Care
Feeding Connection: Breastfeeding Tips
Cherished Moments: Bonding Activities
- Prepare surroundings with essential items like a breast pump and Haakaa.
- Stock up on nutrient-dense snacks and continue taking prenatal vitamins as breastfeeding consumes more calories.
- Familiarise yourself with techniques that alleviate common issues such as engorgement and soreness.
- Have an arrangement with your partner on feeding and diaper duties to avoid future conflicts.
- Organise a warm, private space for skin-to-skin bonding sessions.
- Prioritise proper nutrition and hydration to support lactation.
- Attend workshops or seek expert guidance for more clarity and confidence about breastfeeding.
- Create a comfortable resting routine, crucial for health during postpartum weeks.
- Start by finding a quiet, warm room where you both are comfortable.
- Lay your baby on a soft towel or blanket, ensuring they're warm enough.
- Warm a small amount of baby-friendly massage oil between your hands.
- Begin by gently stroking your baby's feet, moving upwards to their legs.
- Use gentle, circular motions to massage their tummy.
- Move to the chest and arms, using sweeping strokes from the center of the body outward.
- Finally, gently massage the face, avoiding the eye area.
- Throughout, observe your baby's reactions, ensuring they're comfortable and relaxed.
- Finish by having some gentle skin-to-skin contact to strengthen your bond.
Practical Tips for Daily Well-being
Chore Harmony: Household Management
A weekly chore schedule specially tailored for IVF mothers can help to alleviate stress and ensure all necessary tasks are accomplished. A well designed chore schedule incorporates meal preparation, laundry, house cleaning, pet care, and personal postpartum care needs while also allowing for rest, recovery and bonding with the newborn. By scheduling ahead and even outsourcing some tasks, IVF mothers can better handle their 'new normal' post delivery period. This approach is data-backed, with multiple researches indicating that such organisation prevents stress, helps in better recovery and can ward off potential postpartum depression.
Self-Care Sanctuary: Personal Rituals
Caring for yourself is just as important as tending to a newborn. Whether it's practising mindfulness through yoga and intentional breathing, indulging in self-pampering with homemade refreshments, or scheduling quiet time for soothing skin-to-skin contact with your baby, prioritising self-care ensures that you are nurtured and equipped to embrace every moment of this beautiful journey.
Seeking Professional Support: Medical and Psychological Care
Mental Health Matters: Professional Counselling
- Start by acknowledging any feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or thoughts of self-harm you might have.
- Seek to identify if these feelings persist beyond the first two weeks postpartum or if they are worsening.
- Don't downplay your emotions; remember, approximately 10-20% of women can experience postpartum emotionally distressing conditions.
- Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider specifically to discuss your mental health.
- Be prepared to openly discuss your feelings and experiences; remember, healthcare providers are there to help and support you.
- If you already have a therapist, booking a session can offer a safe space to talk.
- Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness but an essential step towards recovery and wellness.
In the sacred journey of postpartum recovery, the gentle embrace of self-compassion and nurturing care reveals its transformative power. As IVF mothers, you deserve every ounce of tenderness and strength that this path requires. Embracing the practice of self-care, both physically and emotionally, empowers you to navigate this unique chapter with grace. Through nourishing foods, mindful moments, and heartfelt connections, your recovery becomes an act of self-love. At Milann, we stand beside you, offering a guiding hand and a safe space to share your stories. Let us be your partner in this empowering journey, supporting you in finding your balance and embracing the joy of motherhood. With gentle care, we empower you to heal, to thrive, and to create a future filled with love.