Once the baby is here, that is all I have to be concerned about, right? The baby is healthy, that is all that matters. That is the message women have received for many years. The health of women in society could be a clue that there is more to what mom needs after labor and birth of a baby.
In the United States, there are 700 women a year who die from pregnancy, labor and birth complications. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-relatedmortality.htm
In the UK, there are just as many women dying during pregnancy related concerns as there were 20 years ago. https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/apr/12/maternal-mortality-rates-millennium-development-goals
While statistics can cause fear, there are parts of the world where pregnancy, labor and birth are treated with reverence and where mothers are given more time to recover from the process of pregnancy, labor and birth. What do they do differently that we could learn from?
Nourishment for the replenishment of blood, body fluids, energy and balance include warming foods, These are served often as soups, or cooked foods. Examples are beef, chicken, eggs, dates, cooked greens black sesame seeds, and carrots. These help to cleanse the uterus, minimize risk of infection and aids im milk production. Soups are highly encouraged for the first two weeks after giving birth until the uterus returns to its normal size.
The next two weeks, the mother is growing stronger by eating foods that strengthen her blood and energy. Eat foods that contain iron building properties in order to replenish the blood and liver function. Any emotional blocks need to be released so infections like mastitis can be avoided or healed. Sadness or crying can diminish the fluids of the body, which do need replenishment. They are needed for lubrication and during sex. Season foods with spices that have warming properties. These would be spices such as ginger, black pepper and cinnamon. Avoid any cold foods, and cold drafts.
Keep eating regular meals plus the snack times. The healing body still needs plenty of protein and fats so the blood sugar levels will remain steady and the body energy will rebuild.
Asian cultures encourage the mother to keep the abdomen and low back covered for several months after having a baby. Herbal baths are encouraged. Some acupuncturists apply moxibustion on the lower abdomen. Ayurvedic traditions address roots of illnesses. Any imbalance is analyzed and recommended changes to be made through herbs, breathing and foods. Understanding the link of the mind to the body aids in any needed healing. The aim is for each person to live in harmony in order to live life's purpose to the fullest, aligned with life's force.
Digestion is important. Keeping mother warm is important. Keeping mother hydrated is important. Using massaging oils can help with hydration. Belly binding gives mom's belly support so it can heal without pulling against gravity. Using a warm water bottle on the lower belly or back can be soothing for muscles. Vaginal steaming use has been used in many parts of the world. It's benefits are many. It warms the body, heals the placental site, clears away any uterus residue, and relaxes muscles. It improves circulation of the blood, lymph and energies and with the use of certain herbs, it has an antiseptic and antibiotic property that helps clear out the body's stagnation. Steaming should not be done until bleeding in trace amounts. Steaming for 10 min. is adequate. The steam knows where to penetrate. If anything feels too hot, it is. Listen to your body.
Be sure to avoid much screen time, drink herbal teas, wrap in warm blankets, and sleep. Allow others to fix meals, don't get up to work. Hug baby as much as possible. Manage emotions with positive thoughts. If you eventually need a pelvic therapist, go learn and have additional healing. My story is that I did not know how much a pelvic therapist could help me heal, even after 25 years after a cesarean section. Finally the scar tissue was released, and the pain I had felt is gone. Even inner organs have been able to lift from a bit of prolapse. I did not have such a luxury of Postpartum healing ideas. I did not know it was important. I hope by reading this article, you may have ideas that can help you take care of yourself after birth so you can experience health and wellness 40 years later.
Book reference: The fourth trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson