Naturally Supporting the Way You Heal Postpartum™
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.
Most women who give birth recover without problems. But any women can have complications after the birth of a baby. Learning to recognize these POST-BIRTH warning signs and knowing what to do can save your life. Click to download a printable form.
Symptoms to Look Out For Knowing the warning signs that indicate you need immediate medical attention are critical. If you have any of the below symptoms seek immediate medical attention as these can indicate potentially life threatening problems. Temperature of 100.4°F or higher Calf or leg pain with redness, warmth or tenderness Sudden and heavy […]
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 […]
Uterus – Within 48 hours of giving birth, the uterus will be about the size it was at 18 weeks and will get progressively smaller over the following weeks. Cramping or abdominal aches and pains in the weeks after the birth, is your uterus contracting and shrinking and may be more intense if you are […]
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 […]
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 […]
Breast – Your breasts will change a lot within hours after delivery and more in the next few weeks until they get used to their new role as nutritional resources for your newborn. When your breasts become overfull and uncomfortable, try applying heat. Hot baths or showers, or even a heating pad or warm gel […]
Hot Flashes/Sweating– Hormone changes, 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 you need […]
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 […]
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 […]
Hair Loss – Many new moms see noticeable hair loss a few months after having a baby. This is normal — and not true hair loss. During pregnancy your body shed hair at a slower rate and now it is just catching up. Dermatologists refer to this condition as telogen effluvium and is caused by […]