From Growing to Healing
During your 40-ish week long pregnancy you have experienced many physical, emotional and life changes. No doubt, you have been glued to your phone apps and computer seeking information on the size and development of your little one from “kidney bean” to full-term baby. It is important to keep up that same level of knowledge not just in regards to caring for your new baby but for the healing journey you are about to embark on postpartum.
Isn’t it just 6 weeks?
Although some care providers will see you sooner your, it is likely your next visit with your Ob/Gyn will not occur until 6 weeks postpartum but that does not mean nothing happens between hospital discharge and that that visit nor does it mean that the postpartum visit is the mark of “healed”. You experienced 40-ish weeks of drastic changes in your body, the marathon of childbirth and it very well may take a similar time for you to feel like you have returned to a pre-pregnant state. This brochure is a summary of “normal” changes and warnings for postpartum and only a starting place for your understanding of what to expect.
Postpartum as a Journey
If you can think of the healing journey in the same way that you looked at the journey of pregnancy you will be in a positive mindset to handle the ups and downs of this important physical, mental and emotional transition. There is no “bouncing back” or quick fix. Your health, especially at this critical and vulnerable time must be treated carefully not just for short term benefits but long term as well. Take great care of yourself, mama.
The year was 2016, and a wave of body positivity swept the nation. Articles and think pieces flooded the media praising the newfound courage of parents to show off round bellies, butts, and back hair? Oh that’s right, this movement was in celebration of “dad bod”. While beer guts and bearded faces graced the cover […]
Chances are you will experience a subtle or not-so-subtle version of mom-shaming. Heck, you have statistically most likely mom-shamed someone yourself whether intentionally or not. A friend tells you she’s been co-sleeping; you see your tired sister hand her toddler an iPad loaded with Paw Patrol; a co-worker is still breastfeeding her kid! You might not have said any […]
They say it takes a village. This used to be literally true when a woman would give birth in a small village she was rallied around by other members to provide her with all she would need for recovery like food, child care, and emotional support. But times have changed, and so has the postpartum […]
Is This Normal? Sounds scary, but yes, you should bleed after you have delivered your baby, vaginally or via c-section. The question that is on every woman’s mind is what is normal for postpartum bleeding. You haven’t had a period in almost 10 months, so dealing with the heaviest one you’ll experience when all you […]
Planned or unplanned, a cesarean surgery can leave a lot of women and their partners in the dark on how best to recover from their major surgery. Like we mentioned in our previous newsletter about c-section births, the risk and recovery is like that of any major surgery, and there can be some emotional trauma […]
As a kid I remember my mom making lighthearted comments about peeing a little when she would sneeze or laugh too hard. When I learned later in life that while delivery her first child his heart rate began to plummet and she had to have an emergency epistiomy and forceps were used to delivery him […]
Woman cannot live by coffee alone. As much as I wish this were true, my addiction to daily quad-shot iced Americanos can only support me physically and emotionally for so long. And for new moms, a vitamin and nutrient rich diet is more vital than ever.The focus of women’s nutrition has always been on the […]
The fourth-trimester. AKA postpartum. You’ve probably heard us talk about the importance of this stage in motherhood; it’s the stage that is overlooked by many doctors, media, and even moms. Now an ally of woman’s health is also using the phrase fourth-trimester to raise visibility of how vital care during this period is. A recent […]
Hot Flashes/Sweating– Changes in estrogen levels, lactating and the body’s process of eliminating excess fluid retained during pregnancy all contribute to what most postpartum women experience –night sweats. They usually last a few weeks and may not occur every night. Night sweats accompanies by pain, chills or fever may be signs of an infection and […]
There’s a painful irony in being told over and over how important sleep is to your physical recovery of childbirth, and in staving off depression, and then not being able to sleep, even if your baby is sound asleep. Many women experience some type of postpartum insomnia, even though the cause and severity of it […]
In a 2007 study, doctors at the University of Montreal conducted a study involving postpartum, pregnant and never been pregnant women to study the prevalence of nightmares during pregnancy and postpartum. They concluded that postpartum women reported they had dreams which contained anxiety (75%) and the infant in peril (73%) compared to 50% of pregnant woman […]
The most common method of delivery is through vaginal birth. Two in three babies in the United States are birthed this way because for most women the pros of delivering vaginally outweigh the cons of delivering via surgery. This is not true for every woman, however, and knowing all the options available and discussing them […]
A conversation with a mother who gave birth 20 years ago would reveal that the wisdom of the day was if you have one c-section, every birth afterwards has to also be a c-section. The fear of uterine rupture and delivering in hospitals not equipped for emergency intervention was much greater in the past. Changes […]
Commonly known as a C-Section, a caesarean section is the method of delivery through abdominal surgery. Though less common than a vaginal birth, 1 in 3 women will have their baby this way through pre-planned election because of health or personal reasons, or during an unplanned emergency. Knowing the facts and risks of a c-section […]
Like any major health event, there can be risks and complications that threaten your life. If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms after delivery of a baby, vaginal or c-section, call 911 or your healthcare provider immediately. Be on the look out for the following: Temperature of 100.4°F or higher Calf […]
Urination & Bowel movements – Almost all women have some degree of incontinence postpartum—whether it is urine or fecal or both. Pregnancy and birth stretch the connective tissue (pelvic floor) at the base of the bladder and can cause nerve and muscle damage to the bladder or urethra. It is common to leak urine when […]
Lower back – During pregnancy, your expanding uterus stretches and weakens your abdominal muscles and alters your posture, putting strain on your back. If you had an epidural, you may notice some tenderness at the site for a few days after giving birth, but it shouldn’t cause back pain. Pain at the epidural site should be […]
Emotions – The first weeks and months after childbirth is a time of emotional upheaval. Intense feelings like– joy, exhaustion, fatigue, confusion, loneliness, disappointment, anger, fear, and happiness are all common. Settling into your new role as a mother is a normal “life crisis.” You redefine who you are and the new responsibility of caring […]
Mood Disorder Women commonly feel exhilarated and have difficulty resting or sleeping in the first few days following childbirth. You may find yourself reliving the birth experience and trying to understand the sequence of events leading up to your baby’s birth especially if you feel it did not happen according to your expectations. When alone […]
Postpartum Mood Disorders/Depression (PPMD) PPMD is less common than the baby blues but not uncommon as it is estimated that 20 to 40 percent of women experience PPMD at some point during the first year after childbirth. Symptoms are similar to a mood disorder but more intense and longer lasting. Common Symptoms of PPMD: – […]
Postpartum Psychosis A much more rare condition occurring in about one to two per 1,000 women. Onset is usually in the first several weeks following childbirth and symptoms are the same as PPMD, but far more severe and intense. Women with postpartum psychosis may exhibit frantic, excessive activity, are unable to eat, are incoherent or […]
Vision – Hormonal changes and water retention, can cause “refractive error” where your eyes have issues focusing. Previous eye conditions, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, or diabetes, especially during pregnancy can alter your eyesight even more. For most women, their eyesight settles back to normal along with their hormones–so a few months postpartum, […]
Skin – Common skin conditions postpartum are stretch marks, melasma, acne, facial spider veins, and flaky dry skin. Stretch marks may be more noticeable postpartum then while pregnant but should fade over time and may be aided with some topical creams but more effective are modern laser treatments. Melasma, is brown to gray-brown patches […]
For many women there is an emotional weight behind how we view our breasts. They can come to represent things like femininity and desirability, and not recognizing how they look post-breastfeeding can be unexpected or even shocking. Knowing what to expect can help normalize your new gals. Remember, no four boobs are alike, and the degrees to which […]
The uterus is truly where the magic happens. This small muscular organ lives inside of your pelvis with all the other organs that make up the female reproductive system. We’ll avoid giving you a high school health class crash course, (you probably know how babies are made at this point), but there’s so much about […]
Hips – A consequence of pregnancy, childbirth and the hormone Relaxin, that loosens your body to prepare for childbirth, is hip pain, which many women experience for days or weeks postpartum. Pelvic/hip supports combined with ice or heat therapy and later physiotherapy will help relieve pain and regain normal function.
SI Joint Dysfunction – The ligaments that stabilize the SI joints stretch to allow for delivery of your baby. While they usually return to normal after giving birth, if they remain loose it may result in back pain after pregnancy and eventually can lead to SI Joint Dysfunction. There are a number of potential reasons […]
Pubic Symphysis Disorder – The left and right bones of your pelvic bones are joined at the front by a narrow section of cartilage and ligament. This is called the pubic symphysis. As the pelvic bones loosen during pregnancy, the pubic symphysis can temporarily separate. This is not a dangerous condition, but can be painful. You […]
Abdominal muscles – Your abs have been stretched to their limits during pregnancy and will need to rest before they are ready to be reintroduced to regular exercise. A pelvic support that includes abdominal support will be helpful to keep the muscles from further strain while they heal. Some women experience extreme muscle separation—diastasis recti […]
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels that have become unusually swollen in the rectal area. Hemorrhoids typically range from the size of a raisin to the size of a grape. They can be itchy to painful, and sometimes they can even cause rectal bleeding especially during a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids are relatively common during pregnancy and get worse […]
Pelvic floor/perineum – Your pelvic floor is the basket-like structure of muscles and connective tissue attached to your pelvic bones that supports your bladder, uterus and bowl and controls urine and bowl movements. It is stretched and often torn but rarely cut (episiotomy) in childbirth. Pregnancy puts a tremendous amount […]
Style, individuality, and even personality. We use our hair to show off all of these things, and our hair can tell a story about who we are with each little cut and color. Which is why experiencing hair loss at any stage in life can feel so shocking and upsetting. Whenever a body goes through […]