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How Soon Can I…

By Amalah

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…have a glass of champagne or wine after delivery?

A lot of couples like toasting the baby’s arrival with champagne right in the hospital, and unless you’re on a restricted diet for some reason, it’s fine to go ahead and have a small glass whenever. (If you’re breastfeeding, have your glass right after the baby nurses so it will metabolize before the next feeding.) If you have a c-section or bad reaction to your epidural, though, you’ll probably want to wait 24 hours or so.

…eat all the stuff you couldn’t during pregnancy NOM NOM SUSHI?

Again, unless you’re on a restricted diet, you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Carefully, if you’re breastfeeding, as newborn tummies can be a tad sensitive to your diet. (Noah had problems if I ate spicy food or citrus for a few weeks; Ezra had one bad night after a super-acidic tomato soup my MIL made.) Also, if you’re breastfeeding you should continue being vigilant about limiting your intake of the fishes that are known to have high exposure to mercury and other toxins.

…start exercising?

For vaginal deliveries, you can start with gentle exercise pretty much as soon as you feel up to it. Use common sense and don’t push yourself in the early weeks. For c-sections, six weeks or so. Walking and other low-impact exercises are good, especially if you weren’t exactly a gym rat throughout your pregnancy. Beware of anything that’s tough on your pelvic floor — like running or sit-ups — for the first couple weeks (leeeeeakage), and do Kegels in the meantime.

…get a bikini wax after a c-section?

Once you’ve gotten the medical all-clear that your scar has completely healed (no stitches, scabs, swelling, etc.), it is perfectly safe to go back to waxing. Six weeks to a couple months, generally. You won’t feel much around the scar, which can be a plus, but you also won’t be able to tell if the wax is too hot, so make sure you (or your waxer) test the temperature first.

…get a boob job or tummy tuck?

Some surgeons will perform elective procedures after three months (or piggyback a tuck during a c-section), but MOST recommend waiting a full six months for everything to really settle into a more permanent state. (Just compiling the most-commonly asked questions here, people, I swear.)

…take the baby on an airplane?

Most doctors say it’s safe to fly with a healthy, full-term newborn after two weeks.

…get pregnant again?

Every woman is different, but it’s best to operate under the assumption that unprotected sex = possible pregnancy, no matter how soon after giving birth or while you’re breastfeeding. Ovulation can return at any time — as early as two or three WEEKS — and you won’t necessarily know it or be able to track it. (Is that lochia, spotting or a period, or some weird combination?) If you’re okay with babies 10 months apart, GOD BLESS YA, but don’t say you weren’t warned that it could actually happen.

…go on birth control?

Uh-huh. THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT, MISSIE. If you’re not nursing, you can go back to whatever form of birth control you like, as soon as you like. If you’re nursing, you’ll want to stick with a non-estrogen option, like the mini-pill or an Intrauterine Device (IUD). The mini-pill is a pain in the butt, since you must take it every day, at the exact same time of day, and even then it’s only about 92% effective. An IUD, like Mirena, is 99% effective and a one-time deal, though it is definitely on the invasive side (also not a top choice if you plan on getting pregnant again on the soon-ish side). And then, of course, there are condoms or the ol’ snip, or my personal favorite, which is doing nothing, being completely reckless, and then lecturing people on the Internet about postpartum birth control anyway. Yeah.

Photo credit: openDemocracy

If you landed here but are still pregnant, visit Amalah’s Pregnancy Calendar. You won’t regret it.

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Published August 11, 2009. Last updated January 14, 2018.
Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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