The Mommy Plan author Valerie Lynn teaches us why postpartum recovery is equally as important as what goes on in labor & delivery.
Your pregnancy--roughly 10 months or 280 day--will pass by quicker than you ever expected. During this time, you’ll read everything that you can get your hands on about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and feel like you have a pretty good understanding of “what to expect.” However your part-time job as a pregnancy market researcher isn’t finished when the little one arrives.
The holistic pregnancy experience is: 1/3 pregnancy, 1/3 labor and delivery, and 1/3 recovery. Do not forget the last component--recovery is just as important as the other two. You will regret it if you do.
The Condition of a Woman’s Body Immediately Giving Birth
Firstly, throughout pregnancy, your body temperature increases .5-1.50F as it serves as an incubator for your growing baby. When you give birth, you lose the internal heat of the baby’s body temperature, the placenta, a lot of blood and fluids, and are normally exhausted from the experience of labor. Therefore, your body shifts into a “cold state” with a decreased temperature of .5-1.50F. It takes six weeks for your temperature to rise back to normal, which is why you will experience hot flashes and cold thrushes.
Additionally, many new moms don’t realize that the below symptoms can happen--and they can happen all at once.
-water logged, bloated, and swollen
-injured perineum area and/or tears
-burning when urinating
-sluggish circulatory and digestive systems
-postpartum blues and mood changes
-sore, sagging and engorged breasts
-still carrying a lot of excess fat
-hot flashes and cold flushes
-urinary or fecal incontinence
-uterine after pains
-vaginal discharge (lochia)
-pharmaceutical effects of inducement, epidural, and cesarean
-hair loss and skin changes
-flabby, sometimes bloated tummy
Make a Plan.
Now that you know what to expect AFTER expecting, there should be no doubt that you need to plan for your recovery. Within hours after the placenta is birthed, your body will slowly begin to heal. Within the first 6 weeks, 80% of the hormonal re-balancing takes place, and 90% of the shrinkage of the perineal organs. That is only 20% of the time we spend pregnant, yet it’s a huge “healing window of opportunity.” The process of healing could be accelerated by shedding retained fluid and fat in a very short time resulting in increased energy and an overall stronger recuperation.
Top 3 Recovery Tips
1. Cope with postpartum blues or mood swings. Low levels of essential fatty acids or Omega 3, 6 & 9 levels are directly linked to depression. At Postpartum Support International (PSI), the first thing we advise moms is to start to replenish them immediately in the form of a concentrated oil.
2. Help stabilize hormonal re-balancing. Limit your chemical intake and exposure for the first 7-10 days after childbirth. Chemicals are known to interfere and slow the process of hormonal rebalancing and the supply of breast milk.
3. Treat after birth pains with heat. Bring heat to your abdomen by placing place a hot water bottle, heating pad or even an electric blanket on your womb area. Deep heat penetrates the muscle tissue which helps with discomfort, shrinks the womb and dispels lochia faster, speeding up the overall healing process.
P.S. Did you know that the #1 complication from child birth in the U.S. is postpartum-related emotional illness? One million mothers are affected annually, and many of them have a “clean mental health history,” like me. That’s even further proof not to wing it, and to have your recovery plan in place by the beginning of the third trimester.