Postpartum Health

What is Postpartum?

 

The postpartum period consists of the moment right after birth and the subsequent six weeks following childbirth.

This is the duration of time it takes for your uterus to revert back to its pre-pregnancy size. Postpartum is just as significant as any other chapter of the pregnancy and birthing process, yet current books and research solely focus on the baby, while you, the mom, drifts in the background like an insignificant participant. During pregnancy, labor, and birth of your baby, your overall health is depleted. Since you were constantly giving your nutrient stores to your baby, it is absolutely essential that you are replenished and cared for after birth. If you don’t take care of yourself after the birth of your baby, it may have a lasting negative impact in your overall health and well-being. 

Postpartum in the West

 

In the U.S., it’s all about prenatal care. During pregnancy, your Obgyn or Midwife regularly checks up on you to make sure that you are drinking enough fluids, getting plenty of nutrition, enough rest, and encourage you to do all that you can do to relax and enjoy this beautiful transition in your life.

Changes in Our Bodies

Abdominal Tone

Right after delivery, since your abdominal tissues have been stretched immensely, your belly may appear very loose. Your uterine ligaments and abdomen have been stretched significantly during pregnancy and need time to recover. The loose skin should lessen over time and you may recover your abdominal tone in approximately 2 to 3 months.

 

Solutions:

 

For centuries, women in Asia and other countries throughout the world have been wrapping their postpartum bellies with a belly wrap as a natural postpartum recovery method. Many believe that constant pressure against the abdomen during recovery aids in reducing the size of your swollen uterus, tightens loose skin, and helps restore abdominal tone. It also gives additional support to your legs and back while providing support for your postpartum belly. For women who are recovering from a C-section, wearing a belly wrap accelerates the recovery process by increasing blood circulation around your scar and supporting your abdominal tissues.

 

Vaginal Pain and Bleeding

Typically you will bleed up to 4 to 6 weeks post childbirth. Discharge of blood is mainly blood left from the uterine lining from your pregnancy. Your vagina may also feel stretched and tender after a vaginal delivery. Sometimes women tend to bleed more heavily after a C-section. If you had a C-section you are more at risk for anemia and Qi and blood deficiency because you also lose blood during surgery.

Postpartum in Traditional Chinese Medicine

 

The first 30 days of postpartum is known as the confinement month and is absolutely essential according to ancient Asian traditions dating back 2,000 years in the Han Dynasty. Mothers post childbirth are cared for like queens to ensure proper recovery. They are encouraged to rest and eat warm nourishing food in order to accelerate womb healing, replenish blood lost during childbirth, strengthen their overall bodies, and prevent postpartum health problems.

Emotional Well-Being

Feeling Anxious

The first few days and weeks after childbirth may invite a whole variety of emotions that you have never experienced before. Feeling especially anxious during this time is very common. Your baby appears so small and delicate that you are afraid you are doing something wrong. You may feel anxious that you are not going by the book and that you are doing everything incorrectly.

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