Imagine being sick and going into labor. Now, add on top of that a sick husband and child. Yep, that happened to me with my second child. All the hype a baby normally brings quickly faded, because we had to deal with, well, being sick.
It was my husband and daughter, Sofía, who got sick before I did. My husband had a sore throat and cough, and Sofía had a mild cold. However, only an hour before I went into labor, we checked her temperature and it was 104.2° F (40.1° C)! So on top of going into labor and being sick, I was terribly worried about Sofía and what was going on with her. That was Saturday night, and on Monday we found out she had an ear infection as well.
On Saturday morning (the morning before going into labor), I started getting a sore throat. After I delivered Bella the next day, my nose was starting to run. It definitely got worse as the days went by. That first week took a huge toll on me!
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The Woes of Having a Cold After Giving Birth
Here I’ve broken down the woes of being sick postpartum:
I just wanted to sleep! Can’t a mama just get some shuteye? No way! I had just delivered a baby and every night I had to wake up two or three times to feed her. I was also extremely tired from being sick. That’s one exhausted mama!
I had to keep blowing my drippy nose, even when I was trying to get my baby to latch while breastfeeding. It’s not so easy to multi-task while breastfeeding that first week! Taking care of an 18-month-old and a newborn is also a bit tricky. Fortunately, I had my mom and husband there to help me for much of the time.
My skin easily cracks, especially in the winter, so I had cracked nipples (sorry, TMI 🙂 ). My baby’s latch was really bad, so it led to cracked nipples that bled (I’m sorry, I did it again!). How horribly unpleasant! I wanted to scream every time I had to feed her. This is something that might lead new moms to turn to formula, but there is a way. I am still breastfeeding her to this day, so it can be done.
Unpleasant to Eat
I had the hunger of a lion since I had just delivered a baby and hadn’t eaten for hours, but I couldn’t really enjoy the food I was eating with a sore throat.
Don’t Take My Picture!
I looked terrible. I mean, having a baby doesn’t exactly make you look pretty in the first place, but when you are sick you don’t look too great either. So I was basically frump times two!
No Sibling Pictures
Our older daughter, Sofía, couldn’t hold Bella at the hospital because she was also sick. I was looking forward to getting some really cute pictures of them together, but that was shot down the drain.
Lots of Pain
I had just delivered a baby, so I was hurting. I went through a lot of pain from that and being sick at the same time.
9 Tips on Staying Healthy for Labor
Luckily, I did get some great help from my mom, husband, and some wonderful neighbors who brought me dinners. I couldn’t have made it through that first week if I had to find a way to do it myself or just with my husband.
There’s really no way to avoid getting sick in the winter, especially when you are pregnant, but here are my tips to avoiding illness for labor time:
Eat Really Well
And I mean, really well. I probably wasn’t eating the best stuff the months before I had Bella. The holidays are definitely a time of excess eating and treats that come out of your ears. I am not proud of what I did, but I indulged myself and really didn’t think about the consequences.
I was pretty good about exercising while I was pregnant with Sofía, but she was also my first baby and born in July. Winter is a hard time to find motivation to exercise, so this second time around I was pretty sedentary (except for the fact that I had an 18-month-old and kept moving that way).
Take any and every opportunity to rest. We get to bed around midnight every night, and things didn’t change when I was pregnant. We still went to bed that late, but now I realize that I was pushing my body by doing that.
Wash Your Hands
You never know where the germs are that are spreading the illness. If you touch your phone, wash your hands. If you type on your computer, wash your hands. If you touch a door knob, wash your hands. I wasn’t washing my hands all the time, because my hands crack too easily. I don’t enjoy dealing with cracked hands, but if I could do it over, I would be more diligent about the hand-washing.
Be a Home Body
This is one that most people obviously can’t do, but if you are a stay-at-home mom, try to stay home the last month before your due date. The more people you are exposed to, the greater your chances are of getting sick. The holidays had just passed before I went into labor, so maybe we had gone out too much. It would have been a sacrifice to stay at home for Christmas and New Year’s, but I might have stayed healthier if we had.
Be Diligent About Taking Your Prenatal Vitamin
I didn’t have a problem taking my prenatal vitamin every day. However, I actually had just switched from my normal prenatal vitamin* to a new brand in late December. I can’t say if this had much to do with me getting sick, but I did compare the amounts of everything, and the new brand was lacking in some vitamins and minerals.
Drink More Water
It’s hard to drink water in the winter, but it’s even harder to drink more than you are used to. My goal was to always drink 8 cups a day, but I was probably only drinking 4-5 cups at the most.
Staying cooped up inside is how germs easily spread, so get outside once a day if you can. Call me crazy, but even in the summer I would rather be inside than out. I have always been that way! I probably made it outside once a week (if that!) the last month before Bella was born.
De-Stress Your Life
When you are stressed out your body suffers, and you get sick that much easier. I was stressed out about a lot of things before the baby was born, but they were things I had little or no control over. I think my biggest stress was that we were having our daughters only 18 months apart, so I knew I would have a hard time right away. I should have worried less and focused on making things less stressful for when she arrived.
This list can apply to anytime of the year. It’s just very helpful for wintertime since that is when most people are sick. I actually got sick with croup just a few weeks before Sofía was born, and I could have benefited from following many of the tips above.
By doing your best to stay healthy while you are pregnant, you can prevent complications when labor time rolls around. Those first few weeks following birth are especially difficult if you are dealing with illness. Just put your baby’s health and yours on the top of your list. It will pay off big time!
Have you ever experienced sickness surrounding the birth of a child? How do you stay healthy during pregnancy?