Post natal recovery
There is a lot of emphasis of health during pregnancy and it is only in more recent times that there is more awareness of the need for post-natal recovery and support for the new mother. Post birth recovery not only includes recovering from the birthing process, but also the previous 9 months of pregnancy of growing and carrying a baby.
There is not a big emphasis on post natal care in our culture, however in some of the more traditional cultures women are supported and pampered after giving birth. They are fed nourishing foods and herbs to clean and rebuild their health and wellbeing giving the mother more capacity to care for the new born child.
Being pregnant can put a strain on many women. Then there is the process of giving birth which takes a lot of energy for the mother and child. It is not called labour for nothing. Some women are able to bounce back quickly and naturally after pregnancy and birth. Others struggle with the new demands of motherhood, let alone with healing her body after the profound exertion of birthing a baby.
There may be a number of circumstances that may limit a woman’s capacity for recovery after giving birth. These include pre-birth or pregnancy weakness. It may be constitutional or functional weaknesses. It could be difficulty getting pregnant and going through assisted reproduction therapy. It may be having many children, having children close together. It may even be difficulties during pregnancy or the birthing process, birth trauma, interventions or complications. Previous miscarriages, being an older mother, having a weak constitution or even having inadequate post-natal support may predispose women to a greater risk of post-partum symptoms.
During birth women exert an enormous amount of energy, they experience sleep deprivation and usually experience blood loss. Post birth the new mums nurture the newborn through breast feeding, care for their every need, and will be experiencing sleep deprivation and fluid loss. This can lead to weakness, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and isolation.
The post partum care is to support the mother to recover from pregnancy and birth so she feels nourished and has the strength to nurture herself and the new child. It may include addressing physical complaints post birth as well as helping the mum adapt to the new responsibilities of having a new born child. This may include treatment for exhaustion, blood loss, insufficient milk production, fluctuating emotions and post natal depression.
The Golden Month in Chinese culture is the month of supporting women through the post natal period. By supporting the new mum through this period not only is nourishing to her, but also to the new baby and the family as a whole.