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Your pregnancy--roughly 10 months or 280 day--will pass by quicker than you ever expected. During this time, you’ll read everything that you can get your hands on about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and feel like you have a pretty good understanding of “what to expect.” However your part-time job as a pregnancy market researcher isn’t finished when the little one arrives.

The holistic pregnancy experience is: 1/3 pregnancy, 1/3 labor and delivery, and 1/3 recovery. Do not forget the last component--recovery is just as important as the other two. You will regret it if you do.

The Condition of a Woman’s Body Immediately Giving Birth

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Firstly, throughout pregnancy, your body temperature increases .5-1.50F as it serves as an incubator for your growing baby. When you give birth, you lose the internal heat of the baby’s body temperature, the placenta, a lot of blood and fluids, and are normally exhausted from the experience of labor. Therefore, your body shifts into a “cold state” with a decreased temperature of .5-1.50F. It takes six weeks for your temperature to rise back to normal, which is why you will experience hot flashes and cold thrushes.

Additionally, many new moms don’t realize that the below symptoms can happen--and they can happen all at once.

-water logged, bloated, and swollen

-injured perineum area and/or tears

-burning when urinating

-sluggish circulatory and digestive systems

-postpartum blues and mood changes

-sore, sagging and engorged breasts

-still carrying a lot of excess fat

-joint pains

-episiotomy pain

-hemorrhoids

-hot flashes and cold flushes

-urinary or fecal incontinence

-uterine after pains

-vaginal discharge (lochia)

-pharmaceutical effects of inducement, epidural, and cesarean

-hair loss and skin changes

-varicose veins

-flabby, sometimes bloated tummy

-stretch marks

-darkened nipples

-linea nigra

-pregnancy melasma

Make a Plan.

Now that you know what to expect AFTER expecting, there should be no doubt that you need to plan for your recovery. Within hours after the placenta is birthed, your body will slowly begin to heal. Within the first 6 weeks, 80% of the hormonal re-balancing takes place, and 90% of the shrinkage of the perineal organs. That is only 20% of the time we spend pregnant, yet it’s a huge “healing window of opportunity.” The process of healing could be accelerated by shedding retained fluid and fat in a very short time resulting in increased energy and an overall stronger recuperation.

Top 3 Recovery Tips

1. Cope with postpartum blues or mood swings. Low levels of essential fatty acids or Omega 3, 6 & 9 levels are directly linked to depression. At Postpartum Support International (PSI), the first thing we advise moms is to start to replenish them immediately in the form of a concentrated oil.

2. Help stabilize hormonal re-balancing. Limit your chemical intake and exposure for the first 7-10 days after childbirth. Chemicals are known to interfere and slow the process of hormonal rebalancing and the supply of breast milk.

3. Treat after birth pains with heat. Bring heat to your abdomen by placing place a hot water bottle, heating pad or even an electric blanket on your womb area. Deep heat penetrates the muscle tissue which helps with discomfort, shrinks the womb and dispels lochia faster, speeding up the overall healing process.

P.S. Did you know that the #1 complication from child birth in the U.S. is postpartum-related emotional illness? One million mothers are affected annually, and many of them have a “clean mental health history,” like me. That’s even further proof not to wing it, and to have your recovery plan in place by the beginning of the third trimester.

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Whether I live next to you or across the country, social media makes it easy for us to stay updated on each other's lives and that's a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of your kids and I think it's great that you choose to share videos of your child singing, giggling and taking his or her first steps.

I simply choose not to share pregnant pictures, or even a family photo from the hospital once our daughter arrived because my pregnancy, birth and growing family are parts of my life I wanted to protect from the outside world.

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