In our second series with Naturopath Adelaide Gee we discuss the postpartum period and how women can best support this final transition into motherhood. The "fourth trimester" as it's generally referred to can be a time of heart-bursting love when those beautiful love hormones are released and your new family is spending time in a bubble of utter bliss. It is also a time where you feel out of your depths, with little to no sleep, many tears and a lot of giving yourself to this new human you've birthed. As women, we tend to focus our attention on our pregnancy and birth however, we tend not to think of the nurturing and nourishment we need to give ourselves postpartum. Read below to find some tips on how we can ease into this beautiful transition into our new role as mother.
Image via: montanalower
How do we best nurture our body and help it heal post birth?
Creating a nurturing and healing environment for yourself in your home is very important. A sacred space that you enjoy being in while you enter into this amazing chapter of motherhood. Become comfortable with setting boundaries and preserving your energy. This may look like saying no to guests or cancelling plans for a period of time until it feels right for you personally.
Nourish your body with healing and easily digestible foods for optimal nutrient absorption (e.g. soups or slow cooked meals with protein). Avoid foods low in nutritional value as these will not support healing post birth. Consider meal prepping prior to birth and have some back-up frozen meals - always prepare in glass containers and never in plastic. Plastic containers contain toxins and cause hormonal imbalances, especially when frozen/defrosted/heated in.
Foods to nourish breastfeeding and help milk supply?
Again, ensuring you are nourishing your body is a foundation to optimise milk supply. Without providing your body with enough fuel, you may notice your milk supply will deplete. There are a range of herbs that can be blended into wonderful tea’s to support milk production, often these include fenugreek, fennel and ginger. Create a nourishing loose leaf blend with these herbs to support your breastfeeding journey.
Help – I’ve got postpartum hair loss! Is there anything I can do to help this?
This may be caused by a number of things (e.g. hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, stress). Ensuring you are eating nourishing foods, hydrating your body and reducing stress where possible (e.g. reaching out to support networks, creating a calm environment and where possible, taking some time for yourself).
Additionally, you may require some herbal/nutritional supplementation however it is always best to consult a practitioner as opposed to self prescribing. Self prescribing can lead to further nutritional imbalances you may be consuming a nutritional element you are in excess of, causing depletion of another.
When will my cycle return and what can I do to ease back into this transition?
This can be dependent on whether you are breastfeeding or not. Generally, women who are not breastfeeding, may regain their cycle within 2 - 3 months. Women who are breastfeeding, often don’t have their cycle return until they have stopped breastfeeding which is commonly around 12+ months. Occasionally, some breastfeeding women may regain their cycle within 2 - 3 months postpartum however, this can be quite uncommon.
To ease back into the transition of your cycle returning, it is important to be aware that it may not return for quite some time depending on your circumstances. If you were experiencing irregular cycles prior to your pregnancy and have any concerns, it would be best to consult your practitioner as everyone will have varying experiences.
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Adelaide is a clinical naturopath located at Goodkind Wellness Studio in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. She combines scientific evidence and traditional knowledge to ensure the best outcome for her clients. Adelaide is passionate about supporting women’s health, detoxification, skin conditions, digestive complaints and mental health. All appointments are available in-person or online.