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Lets talk postpartum care. The first 3months after the birth of your baby/babies, is the most delicate and it’s crucial we take steps to ensure a healthy and gentle recovery. It is also know as the 4th trimester. In many cultures throughout the world this is a time of rest. Mothers are catered to and looked after by elders & family members. Here’s 5 tips to start your recovery after giving birth! 

 

 

1.Choose a supportive healthcare provider. Healthy and low risk mothers benefit from the care of a Midwife. And hire a DOULA!! This decreases the chance of unnecessary medical interventions. Which can lengthen the recovery time and maximize your birth experience. 

 

2. Aside from having a loving and supportive partner. Pre-select a small group of people to come and clean your home. Having your “tribe” will allow you and your partner to bond with your new baby. They can help with preparing healthy and nutritious meals. This will help with recovery and milk production as you’ll be well fed and hydrated. 

 

3. Don't do too much too soon. Having great postpartum care can make you feel like a million bucks! But remember your uterus is healing and your body is recovering from childbirth. Especially if you’ve had a cesarean birth. Think of your uterus having an open wound inside. That can take several weeks to months to heal. When you start moving around do so slowly and listen to your body. 

 

4. Skin to skin with your baby is essential to make your baby feel safe, secure & helps with breast milk production. It will help release oxytocin (love hormone). Partners can benefit from skin to skin with baby also! 

 

5. Be patient. This is a time to adjust to your “new normal.” You have a new baby, a new body that grew and nurtured the most precious person in your life. There will be time for going back to work, starting a new exercise routine, and getting things done. But right now you and joe baby need to be taken care of. There will be plenty of time later to focus on everything else. Right now and in this money you and your baby are the most important. 

 

As a doula, this is what I have found to be especially helpful to all the couples I have worked with. We have a very westernized mentality of what postpartum looks like in our culture and it goes way beyond the 6 week mark. Be kind to your body and be gentle with yourself. 

 

To receive more info on finding a supportive provider and hiring a doula please contact me directly. Or visit www.togetherinbirth.com

 

 

Center for Disease Control (CDC) research (https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/) indicates that 1 in 9 women will experience a depressive episode during pregnancy and or after giving birth.  In the United States, PPD occurs across different cultures and varying economic circumstances. 

While preparing for and having a new baby is one of the most joyous events you will ever experience, being a new parent can also be one of the most challenging transitions you might encounter.  Knowing the signs and symptoms of PPD can alert you to getting the help you need as soon as possible. 

What are the symptoms of PPD?

  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

  • Crying Spells.

  • Trouble with sleep- too much or too little. 

  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.

  • Change in appetite- too much or too little.

  • Difficulty concentrating.

  • Irritability or anger.

  • Isolation or withdrawal from friends and loved ones.

  • Feeling a sense of numbness or difficulty connecting to your baby.

  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.

  • Feelings of guilt about not being a good enough mom or having doubts about yourabilities to care for your baby.

What are the risk factors?

  • Stress. 

  • Lack of social support.

  • Difficulty getting pregnant in the first place.

  • Being a mom to multiples, like twins, or triplets.

  • History of losing a baby.

  • Being a teenage mom.

  • Preterm (before 37 weeks) labor and delivery.

  • Having a baby with a birth defect or disability.

  • Traumatic child birth experience

  • Previous history of depression

  • Breastfeeding trouble.

  • Having a baby or infant who has been hospitalized.

Treatment

Therapy

PPD is quite common and is nothing to be ashamed of.  The good news is that PPD is very treatable.  Of course, the earlier the better but the first step you can take once you recognize some of the signs, is to reach out for support.  Contact your healthcare provider and ask for a referral to a licensed psychotherapist.  If you don’t have an HMO and have a PPO, do a search for a licensed psychotherapist on a therapist directory such as https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms

Develop a social network

Once you’ve reached out to your healthcare provider or a local psychotherapist, join a local support group for new mom related activities and reach out to friends and family.  Talk to a good friend and share your feelings with your partner.  Asking for help can be challenging when feelings of shame and guilt and feelings of inadequacy are involved but it truly takes a village.  While being a new mom is filled with so much joy it can also be stressful and taxing transition.  So reach out!

Self-Care

Develop a self-care plan.  Take people’s offers for help even if that means washing your dishes, bringing over food or watching the baby for a short time while you shower or run a few errands.  Eat as well as you can and get as much rest as you can and don’t feel guilty about doing so.  Once, you start therapy you will feel better about listening to and taking care of your own needs. 

Set good boundaries

If you are having people over to visit with the baby they should not expect for you to host.  The first months should be spent focusing on bonding with your new baby and getting as much rest as possible not running around prepping to host family and friends. 

For additional information and resources visit http://www.postpartum.net

If you have questions or are interested in setting up a complimentary consultation, Helen Caldwell, LCSW can be reached at (562) 888-1856 or by email at info@helencaldwell.org.  To learn more about her practice visit www.helencaldwell.org

 

 

About Helen Caldwell, LCSW

Helen Caldwell is a licensed clinical social worker with a holistic psychotherapy private practice in Long Beach, CA. Her areas of expertise include Anxiety, Depression, and Relationship Issues.  She has been in practice since 2001.  When not at work, Helen enjoys spending time with her husband and toddler on camping adventures and other outdoor activities.