Postpartum Healing-The Fourth Trimester
Posted on November 21, 2021 by Dr. Deanine
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3 Tips to Naturally Loose Weight, Get your belly back and to balance your hormones and feel your best in the postpartum phase.
After birth most women are eager to to claim their bodies back and feel good. They are ready to feel better, look like they did before pregnancy or even address some health issues in ways they felt they were limited to addressing during pregnancy. Things like doing a detox, loosing weight, taking certian herbs or dealing with thyroid or GI issues with supplements they were leary of taking while pregnant. For some women they actually felt their very best during pregnancy and are simply adjusting to this new stage. So what it important to know about this precious time and how can you make the most of it for you and your baby’s health and well being?
The first 3 months after birth are considered the 4th trimester. This important time sets the foundation for for physical, and hormonal well being for years to come. Knowing what to truly do in the first 12 weeks after birth is vital and not often discussed in the mainstream. Losing the baby weight, supporting better milk supply, getting the abs back and ensuring that you and your baby are getting the best nutrition is paramount but what about getting sleep, detoxing all the pregnancy hormones, avoiding postpartum depression and supporting the pelvic floor and core?
Whether you are healing from giving birth vaginally or a cesarean delivery it is overwhelming adjusting to a new sleep pattern, breastfeeding and caring for your baby. It is best not to plan on going back to “normal” for at least 3 months after delivery. Having minimal demands, a routine and lots of support will do both mom and baby a world of good. I’ve put together 5 tips that are essential to help you heal your whole body, get your belly back, and balance your hormones naturally and quickly in this postpartum phase so you can be your best in this important and fragile time.
- Replenish your energy to get your groove back
- Be sure to drink water at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water per day. Seriously. Birth is a process that entailed a huge amount of blood and fluid loss. Don’t operate dehydrated. If you feel extremely thirsty and milk is scant, you feel weak, dizzy or feel constipated, be sure to go back to basics. If you had a c section or lost alot of blood be sure to replenish. You may even need to take a blood tonic such as Floradix Iron and herbs. Try coconut water. Fresh coconuts are the best. Of course no wonder-they look like breasts. If you cant find fresh that is ok. Just be sure to drink 1/2 or more of your weight in ounces. This means your current weight.
- Don’t give up on your prenatals yet. Replenishing your energy and your blood is the first step in the healing process. Continue taking a prenatal vitamin like Innate and also supplements that build your blood, support iron production and provide the essential B vitamins you need for a healthy nervous system and detox process. Also taking a mineral at night will help you sleep and be sure you have what you need nutritionally for both of you. It is vital to continue taking these for at least 6 months postpartum, while you are breastfeeding or until your baby starts eating solids and you stop night feedings. Vitamin and mineral deficiency is often at the root of postpartum depression. In particular B vitamins. Consider testing your nutrient levels with a NutraEval test.
- Give yourself time to integrate and heal. Use homeopathy- Feeling sore and bruised after birth? It takes time. Up to 6-12 weeks after birth to heal. Be patient. One thing that can speed up recovery is homeopathy. Homeopathy is safe with breast feeding and can speed recovery and healing time from birth dramatically. I recommend Arnica Montana, 30c pellets 3 to 5 times a day taken for the first 10 days after giving birth. It will also help baby as they have healing to do also. If you have nerve pain try Hypericum perforatum 30 C. Healing a scar? Try Graphites. Homeopathy is a mothers best friend. Having safe natural, go to remedies in your family pharmacy will be helpful. Want to learn more check out my homeopathy book and kit for your family here.
- Get your belly back! Support the healing of the womb and address Diastis Recti….
The womb is a muscle that is going to be shrinking back to her prior size during the 3 months following birth. Supporting the healing of the womb is my most recommended advice during postpartum for every mom. In addition many women may have developed a separation of the abdominals called diastis recti. This core support is vital to truly getting the abdominal’s back.
- If you are not nursing, try to pump anyway. Nursing and nipple stimulation encourages uterine contraction aiding in the shrinking of the uterus and repositioning her in the lower pelvis and getting your body back. If you have issues with baby’s latch or cannot breastfeed-try to still pump if possible so you both get the benefits.
- Wrapping your abdomen. Give yourself extra support during the day by binding the abdomen. This helps with stabilizing the transverse abdominus and strengthening the abdominal muscles that may have had a stretching or seperation, come back together. Doing this ensures the uterus and ligaments that were stretched go back to their original positions.
- Check for Diasitis Recti. This is the term for the separation of the abdominal muscles at the mid-line that many have occurred during pregnancy. To check, do a small sit up with the legs bent and feel the middle of the abdomen above and below the belly button. If it bulges up or feels like you can put your fingers in the space you likely have a degree of diastisis. If you feel like this might be an issue for you, contact someone who is well-versed in the specific exercises to help Diastasis Recti and heal the pelvic floor that will help immensely. This is vital to postpartum healing and much needed to help strengthen your core for years to come.
- Balance your hormones & address your adrenal fatigue now!
A lot of women feel out of balance during this time from lack of sleep and the new demands in their daily routine. One issue that easily arises for new moms and parents is adrenal fatigue and a “flipped” cortisol pattern. This is classically known as the “parent pattern” and for obvious reasons. A flipped cortisol is when the morning cortisol is low and the evening cortisol is high. This is characterized by tiredness all day and then energy at night. Waking up thru the night, drinking caffeine late in the day, stress, chaos and many other things contribute to a flipped cortisol pattern. Hormonal swings, low milk supply, fatigue, irritability and depression all have adrenal fatigue imbalance at the root of the problem. Antidepressants and thyroid meds may only be a temporary fix. Be sure to support your endocrine and nervous system for optimal health. Below are some tips to support adrenals in postpartum.
- Support your adrenals. Eat breakfast. Make sure you are taking B vitamins and prenatals in the morning and your minerals such as Calcium and Mag at night. This helps balance cortisol levels and sets you up for energy in the day and a nervous system ready for sleep at night. Try to sleep rest between 3-5pm, the time the cortisol naturally dips. If you are breast feeding, avoid caffeine altogether or don’t touch it after 10am and keep it to one cup or less. Try black tea and please dont drink expresso unless you want to pay the price! If you are breastfeeding that cup of coffee in the morning will show up in the afternoon or evening and keep your baby from sleeping. This only further creates more adrenal stress for new moms. Avoid caffeine and chocolate, especially the good raw cacao, green tea, matcha and other stimulants if you are nursing. That way your baby can get deeper sleep, startle less and wake less often during the night.
- Eat right for your type – I specifically advise my new moms to line up your diet for their blood type. To help you recover faster, remove GMO’S and the top inflammatory foods such as wheat, dairy products, corn, soy and eggs. If you and your baby have the same blood type, this will help lessen colic. If your blood types are different it may be important to avid foods your baby is not compatible with.
- Support your livers natural detoxification pathways. The liver has the job of clearing out all of the pregnancy hormones. The most important mechainisim for this to happen is through the secretion of bile in the gallbladder and the absorption of toxins in the gut into fiber. Under the influence of progesterone and other unique body adjustments that happened during pregnancy the gallbladder can become sluggish, blocked and out of commission. Naturally detox with my favorite juice combination. Juicing apple, beet and lemon are a good strategy to naturally help flush and cleanse the gallbladder and liver. Be sure to include foods rich in natural folate and B12 like spinach, avocado, and romaine lettuce, eat healthy fats and include some sour things like sauerkraut (because the liver loves sour things in Chinese medicine theory). Be sure to eat some greens and raw veggies also. If you would like to learn more about what you can do for your liver and gallbladder download my E book.
- Take the Quiz to identify issues with your Adrenals & Thyroid Many women have had pre-existing adrenal fatigue or less than optimal thyroid function prior to pregnancy. If you need to get a plan for this. Click here to take my quiz to help identify adrenal and thyroid issues.
- Set up a phone consultation-I am also available by phone or in person to help create a customized healing, self care and supplement plan for you.
Giving birth is a big deal. Remember you and your baby BOTH went thru a very big event. You baby may be in as much pain and discomfort as you are. If you had a particularly easy or traumatic birth I always recommend a craniosacral session for both mom and baby. Because mom and baby are very connected physically and emotionally it may be important to process the birth. Read more about this in my article about craniosacral therapy and children. This beautiful time is as important for the baby as it is for you. Allow yourself to gently go through this space and congratulate yourself on the completion of your birth year.