Getting Through The First 6 Weeks- Your Postpartum Survival Guide

Getting Through The First 6 Weeks- Your Postpartum Survival Guide

Alexis Reid

You made it! You got through pregnancy, labour, birth and now you are in the “postpartum period.” Many women find that this is the time that they have a knowledge gap. You did a lot of reading during your pregnancy on what to expect at each stage, what steps you could take to optimize your health, what foods and drinks you needed and needed to avoid, what vitamins and minerals you needed more of. You get the picture. Same thing when it comes to labour and delivery. You most likely took a pre-natal class where you learned what to expect during labour, different options for your birth and how to care for a newborn. But who here took a postpartum class? My guess is no one. No one prepares you for what to expect for yourself postpartum. The focus is all on the pregnancy and birth with the assumption that things will just go back to normal once the baby is born. This thought process couldn’t be further from the truth. Many women are shocked at just how exhausted they are postpartum. You may encounter issues with your thyroid gland, or be left with low levels of iron after delivery. You may not realize how much you need to rest and are pushing yourself too hard. In today’s blog post I am going to go over some simple steps you can take to help your body function optimally during the postpartum period.

Top 10 Tips to Feel Your Best in the First 6 weeks Postpartum

  • Easily Digestible Foods- Nutrient rich foods that do not make the digestive system work over time are your friend. Reach for soups, stews and bone broth (high in iodine, magnesium and calcium).
  • Ditch The Coffee- Before you throw something at me, hear me out. Coffee (and other higher sources of caffeine) can put a strain on your adrenal glands, cause blood sugar spikes, jitters, increase irritability and negatively impact the little sleep you may be getting. Coffee can also be irritating to baby’s digestion. Alternative to try include: green tea, nettle tea, red raspberry and mother’s milk tea if supply is an issue.
  • Fluids- Staying hydrated is important for breast milk production and your recovery. Drinking plenty of water is helpful (6-8 glasses/day). It is also a good idea to add some lemon to water and/or drink cranberry juice in water as it helps to alkalinize the urine and reduce the risk of UTI’s.
  • Keep Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins- Your body has just gone through a hugely stressful event. If you are also breastfeeding, your nutrient demand is way up. Continuing on your prenatal vitamins helps to ensure you have your bases covered.
  • Fish Oil/Omega 3’s- Can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression. They are also a great anti-inflammatory and can help support your thyroid postpartum.
  • Probiotics- Are helping for regulating your digestion and immune system postpartum. Newer research is linking a lack of bacterial diversity in the intestines to an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
  • Vitamin C- Vital for tissue healing and maintaining your immune system. This can be taken as a supplement, or obtained via foods. Foods that are high in vitamin C are: oranges, red pepper, kale, strawberries and raspberries. Smoothies can be a great way to get these foods into your diet and makes them easier to digest
  • Iron- If you had a lot of blood loss with your delivery, it could have impacted your iron levels. If you are feeling very tired (more than you think you should be) it is a good idea to get your ion, vitamin B12 and thyroid levels checked. A Naturopathic Doctor can do this for you.
  • Prunes- Yes you read that right! Prunes are your friend the first 6 weeks postpartum. Your first bowel movement post birth is something everyone dreads. Eating 1-2 prunes/day along with inulin fibre, will make it smooth sailing
  • Sitz Bath Soak- Although not mainstream yet, you definitely want to get your hands on one. A Sitz Bath Soak is a blend of herbs that you steep and add either to a sitz bath or to your bath tub. They are designed to help tissues heal faster, reduce inflammation, and help ease discomfort.

So there you have it! How were your first 6 weeks postpartum? Was it what you were expecting? Please leave a comment below.

Talk Soon!

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Stittsville at Living Science Wellness Centre. To book your appointment call 613.836.7901.

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended healthcare benefits.

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