Preparing for postpartum
There is so much emphasis on childbirth that women (as well as friends and family) forget that what happens after the birth is just as important for the wellbeing of mom.
A healthy, well supported postpartum period can be the difference between, being able to successfully breastfeed, going back to feeling like yourself again, getting back into shape, and even being able to conceive another child in the future.
The tough part is, how do you take extra care of yourself while caring for this new little human being you have just brought into the world?
Firstly, read my tips on what to do to prepare for you birth, because a healthy happy birth is the first step to a good post partum period. It’s okay though if you birth doesn’t go as planned, you can still plan for a fabulous ‘Golden Month’.
What is a Golden Month?
A Golden Month is a tradition that comes from Chinese culture. There are variations of the same concept in almost every culture but the North American one. Your Golden Month is the month directly following the birth of your child.
What do I do in my Golden Month?
In this month, you should stay close to home, and by that I mean no leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. This not only protects you from the elements, it also prevents you from over extending yourself unintentionally. This means, no groceries, no coffee dates, no popping over to so and so’s house. You will never get this time back. Cherish it, Rest, Recover and Bond.
What else can I do during my Golden Month?
Have anyone and everyone else do the house chores.Let your family and friends do your dishes, cook your food, clean your house, do your laundry and walk your dog. This is not being selfish; you are sustaining a new little human being who depends on you solely (for now, your partner will get their turn soon enough) as well as recovering from the biggest event of your life. Even if you are feeling great, amazing, full of energy!, which many women feel in that first week, fight the urge to do too much. You will naturally have a hormone crash on day 5-7, which will be 100% worse if you’ve pushed too hard while on your post birth high.
Stay warm! Many cultures in Asia, South American and First Nations in North America have ceremonies after a baby is born where they warm the mother and her womb. On top of feeling really nice, this helps reduce cramping and body pain, speeds healing and prevents future painful periods once your menses returns.
In Chinese Medicine, we have a treatment called ‘Mother Warming’. It is a heat therapy that occurs anytime after 5 days postpartum (the sooner the better). This warming therapy helps the uterus return to it’s normal size, decreases after-pains, helps rebuild energy and lessens the hormonal crash/exhaustion that occurs a week after the baby, and an added bonus is that other complaints can be addressed simultaneously with acupuncture. A common response I get is that it helps women get back into their body and feel ‘whole’ again after the birth.
Because I emphasize people stay at home after the birth, I personally do house calls for this treatment.
Eat hearty warm foods. This is where the stocked freezer is very handy. Soups, stews and all of those foods I mentioned in the last bog, help build blood (and breast milk!), and help you bounce back quicker.
Get a pelvic floor assessmentfrom a certified Pelvic Floor Physio. You don’t need to accept that you pee a little when you laugh, and by going to a pelvic floor physio, you may be able to bypass that whole awkward situation altogether.
Have your specialists/resources ready. Breastfeeding consultant, sleep consultant, postpartum doula, acupuncturist, oh my!
Having a list of practitioners prepared ahead of time who can support any postpartum hiccoughs, will increase your chance of reaching out (and knowing who to reach out to) when you need it most. Because in most cases, sooner is better!
If you have any complaints, discomforts, or are curious about how acupuncture and TCM can support you after your baby is born, book a free 15 minute consultation.