Coping with the Pain (Perineum Swelling, Episiotomies, & Tears)

Proper Nutrition: Now more than ever, you want to insure that you have the proper balance of your dietary needs. While it may seem to be overkill, make certain that your fiber intake is higher than normal. Eat plenty of whole grains, salads, or as your granny would say, roughage. You want to avoid becoming constipated at all costs as straining later can cause pulling/stretching of your perineum.

Mom Testimonial: "Ok, I haven't actually followed this advice yet! Following my first birth I was so very eager to eat all my favorite Italian dishes that made me ill during pregnancy. You know the ones. packed to the ceiling with various cheeses? The result was very painful! I became constipated. The pressure of trying to "go" then stretched and pulled my incision. My reality was another embarrassing trip to the doctor and pain that was multiplied tenfold. Next time I will be much more careful about what I eat and drink in those first few weeks!"

Kegel Exercises: "You may be familiar with these exercises in your preparation for delivery. Now that you are post partum, you will find them handy for improving the control you have over your continence levels as well as helping your vaginal walls and floor return to normal as soon as possible. Side benefits? Improved sex life (later when you have the energy!) and it does speed the healing time after birth. Click here for more information on Kegel Exercises.

Mom Testimonial: "Easy to do, anywhere and everywhere! You can even do it discreetly without those around you knowing. Very secret tip: When you resume making love with your partner, try doing a few kegels and watch the fireworks explode!"

Rest: "While the urge may be there to get out and begin exercising right away, please be certain to give yourself time to heal properly before doing so. Even that which is considered normal activities should be returned to at a reasonable rate. Resuming slowly may be frustrating but use this time to allow others the opportunity to help out. You, in the meantime, focus on yourself -- and enjoying that new baby!

Mom Testimonial: "Unbelievably, I was very eager to jump back into my old routine. I had a great delivery and was well on the road to recovery. Fortunately I did listen to the advice of more experienced moms and did allow my body a chance to heal first. Beginning with very simple activities allowed me to recover fully without setbacks later on. Plus -- what new mom doesn't want to be pampered?"

Melissa Jaramillo is mom to many. She's passionate about building, encouraging, and strengthening families on this adventure known as parenthood!

Copyright © Melissa Jaramillo. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.