The postpartum period can be a new and exciting time for moms since it is a time to grow closer with their newborn baby. The first two months after childbirth are also a time of readjustment as moms must take time to heal physically and emotionally. The body and mind go through a lot when giving birth, and proper treatment and emotional support are key to healing.
Here are a few naturopathic ways new moms can heal physically and emotionally during the postpartum period.
Take care of your body
A woman’s body goes through a large amount of physical trauma during birth and the proper postpartum treatments can help mom recover and heal more quickly.
Homeopathic Arnica can help with the swelling and trauma following vaginal birth. Arnica is a plant very effective for healing after trauma, such as childbirth. These tablets will decrease swelling and they are safe to use while breastfeeding. Addressing bruising and swelling is key to ensuring moms can heal comfortably in the postpartum period.
After birth, the uterus needs to shrink to pre-pregnancy size, which is about the size of an orange. As the uterus contracts and shrinks, mom will often experience cramping. Warm compresses are recommended for mom to help her reduce cramping caused by the uterus contracting post-childbirth. Magnesium is a mineral that improves muscle cramping and can be used in conjunction to warm compresses to aid in reducing the cramping pain associated with uterine shrinkage.
I also recommend a sitz bath to help with pain and swelling of the perineal area. Warm water decreases swelling and increases healing due to increased circulation to the perineal area. Sitz baths also help keep the perineal area clean without harsh wiping. A sitz bath can be made by filling a bathtub with a few inches of warm water (98-105), and sitting in the tub for 10-20 minutes. I often recommend herbal post-partum sitz bath soaks to assist with healing. There are also perineal sprays that contain similar herbs to sitz bath soaks. Epsom salts are another option for a sitz bath.
To help reduce swelling of the perineal area, moms can create post-partum pads. Soak a pad or newborn diaper in water and then freeze. Then, place the frozen pad in underwear to help decrease soreness and swelling. I typically recommend moms prepare these pads prior to having baby so they are readily available after baby is born.
Diet is important for physical healing so moms must take time to eat a well balance diet. Finding the time to do anything with a new baby can be difficult, but taking the time to eat a diet rich in protein, fruits and vegetables is important to help with healing.
Take care of yourself emotionally
The postpartum period can be an emotional time for new moms and it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions during this period. The first few weeks can be up and down emotionally because hormones are changing. However, if a new mom continues to feel up and down for longer than a few weeks, it is important to consult a health provider. Postpartum depression and anxiety are common issues and moms should not feel ashamed to seek help.
Sleeping is one of the most important things for a new mom’s mental health and it is also one of the hardest things to get enough of when the new baby arrives. New moms should take time to sleep when they can. Try to sleep when the baby is napping and rely on your support network to help take care of the baby or chores around the house.
Establishing a support system is important. New mothers should not be afraid to ask for help from their spouse, family, or friends. Most people are more than willing to help a new mom and it is important to allow close family and friends to help with day to day things while mom bonds with baby.
Being a new mom is an exciting event, but it is important for moms to look after themselves as well as the new baby. Moms need to take the time to take care of themselves physically and emotionally and not be afraid to rely on their support system. Following these few naturopathic options can help new moms through the post-partum period.