Managing your asthma as a new mom may not seem the biggest priority, but it's essential for your and your baby's health. Today, Beki Tovey shares five tips for staying on top of your asthma management postpartum, with extra focus on mental well-being and keeping active.
I gave birth to my first baby in mid-February. I had a beautiful little boy who has turned our world upside down in the best way. The first few weeks were a blur of nappies, sleepless nights, and trying to figure out how to breastfeed - all while recovering from a long and exhausting labor.
Becoming a new mom is undoubtedly a special time in life. But looking after your health and well-being can take a backseat when all efforts go toward keeping a tiny human alive.
With long-term conditions like asthma, it's essential to ensure that you still prioritize your healthcare plan post-birth. However, I know only too well how much of a challenge that can be when your focus is consumed by a new baby.
You're very much sleep-deprived. I nearly put the kettle in the fridge when making tea one morning, so remembering to take asthma medication can be tricky!
I recommend keeping an asthma journal, setting reminders on your phone for treatment and appointments, and putting any prescribed medications right next to the bed so you can reach them easily (alongside the water bottle and snacks for night feeds!). Ask your partner/family member for their support, too!
I worried about what medication I was allowed to take during pregnancy. Now that I'm breastfeeding our baby, the concerns remain. Fortunately, my healthcare team has been extremely helpful in that regard. Please communicate with your doctor or nurse as much as possible - they're there to help! I know it's important for my and my baby's health that my asthma is under control so that I can continue to look after them properly.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both mom and baby. Some evidence suggests that breastfeeding may help protect your baby from developing asthma.
However, I was a breastfed baby, so the connection is not always there!
I carried on with my (adapted) asthma-friendly exercise regimen during pregnancy, so I wanted to do the same post-birth!
After giving birth, it can be hard to find the time to exercise, especially when exhausted. That said, you can start gentle exercise again soon after your baby is born if you had an uncomplicated delivery. If you had a cesarean birth or complications, ask your doctor when it will be safe to begin exercising again.
I like to keep moving, even if my exercise regimen is now less intense than before. Regular physical activity is good for my lungs because it increases muscle strength and stamina. I can breathe more efficiently while exercising and experience fewer asthma symptoms.
A stroll around the local streets with the little one in the pram or the baby carrier can help with the tiredness. A gentle walk can also boost my mental well-being and make me feel somewhat like my pre-baby self! The motion of walking helps him fall asleep, which is a winner!
As well as walking, I've started going to a Mom & Baby Yoga class once a week. The sessions are great for a stretch, even if there's a fair amount of feeding and cuddling amongst the yoga poses.
It's also nice to socialize with other moms and enjoy adult conversation! Looking after a newborn can be all-consuming, and you sometimes feel slightly lost. It can be hard to remember who I was as a person before the baby.
Being active and spending time outdoors is a huge part of who I am. I'm determined to make time for the things I enjoy - for my well-being and to share those passions with my son.
Living with a lung condition like asthma can have mental and emotional challenges. Adding on the pressure of being a new mom can have a real impact on your well-being. Discuss any mental health concerns during your postnatal health checks and regular asthma appointments. It's vital to get the support you need!
I also recommend finding some baby groups to attend or other local moms that you can go for coffee or a walk with. Socializing really helps you feel less alone with any challenging thoughts.
I've made good friends with some of the moms from these groups. We have a WhatsApp group where messages ping day and night - we know there's always someone in the same boat we can talk to.
Remember - we've got this!
The information presented is solely for educational purposes, not as specific advice for the evaluation, management, or treatment of any condition.
The individual(s) who have written and created the content in and whose images appear in this article have been paid by Teva Pharmaceuticals for their contributions. This content represents the opinions of the contributor and does not necessarily reflect those of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Similarly, Teva Pharmaceuticals does not review, control, influence or endorse any content related to the contributor's websites or social media networks. This content is intended for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice or recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen.
NPS-ALL-NP-01117 SEPTEMBER 2023