Preparing for the postpartum time is just as important as preparing for the birth. There are remarkable changes happening in the mind and body of the new mother. I encourage you to take time to think about the post-natal period before you are experiencing it. It can give you time to organise some helpful natural remedies for postpartum and hopefully, you can ease into motherhood a little easier.
Some common postpartum challenges include: perineal soreness, after pains and postpartum mood changes.
After giving birth, many women experience soreness in their vagina, vulva and perineal area. Often, urinating can elicit some stinging. This can be helped or alleviated by using a perineal bottle whilst going to the toilet. A spray bottle with herbs can provide great relief too. Some women prefer to urinate in a sitz bath for those first few days.
My favourite healing herbs for perineal care are: lavender, calendula, rose, comfrey, sage, yarrow and Himalayan salt. These can be made up like a strong tea and then put into a spray bottle for cleansing after visiting the toilet. They are very soothing and healing. Witch hazel is also fantastic to add to your list of natural remedies for postpartum. It can be used on pads to provide relief.
It’s also important to rest as much as possible to help reduce pain and inflammation.
During the postpartum time, the uterus contracts around 1cm per day to shrink back to it’s pre-pregnant size. This can cause discomfort for many women and can be worse for women after subsequent pregnancies. It can hurt more while breastfeeding because oxytocin is released which encourages the uterus to contract.
Often a heat pack can help alleviate some discomfort. Homeopathic arnica can be great, as is the tissue salt mag phos. It may be very soothing to have warm oils massaged into your belly and use essential oils like chamomile, lavender or ginger. Useful herbs include: blue and black cohosh, cramp bark, black haw, raspberry, motherwort and St. Johns wort. See a naturopath or herbalist to have a tincture made up.
You may experience a wide range of emotions during and following the birth of your baby. In fact ‘baby blues’ can affect up to 80% of new mothers. Signs of the baby blues include being teary, irritable, overly sensitive in interactions with others and moodiness. The baby blues usually clear up within a week with no other treatment except support and understanding.
If you find the baby blues just aren’t lifting, it may be a sign of something more serious, like depression or anxiety. If you have been feeling like this for a while and it’s starting to affect your life, it’s time to seek help.
Beyond Blue offers support by phone: 1300 22 4636 or online at: www.beyondblue.org.au
Some natural remedies for postpartum that help with mental wellness:
- Have a healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables
- Exercise, even a gentle walk in fresh air can help so much
- Get enough sleep; try sleeping when the baby sleeps
- Ask for help with housework, cleaning and meal preparation
- Try to be social like joining a mothers group
- Take time to do things you like; for example reading a book or taking a bath
- Spend time with your partner to nurture your relationship
- Meditation and deep breathing
- Discuss your feelings and try to come up with solutions
- Research and gather information about what helps with PND
- B-group vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fish oil.
- Placenta capsules have been reported to help
- Take things one step at a time