The Fourth Trimester
I like referring to the time frame after you’ve given birth as your fourth trimester because I truly believe it’s just an extension of pregnancy. In fact I think that in the United States we need to give mamas more time and space to ease into the postpartum time and recover!
Take the Time You Need to Heal
Recently I was at a water birth and afterwards the mama said that she was so excited because she was ready to get back to the gym. She was in great shape. Since she was in law enforcement it made sense that she would want to “get back to the gym”.
However, I love what the midwife shared with her after the placenta was delivered.
The midwife showed this new mom her placenta and said:
"This is the side that was attached to you and this is the size of the wound in your uterus. It's so easy to think we're recovering so quickly even when our bleeding slows down, but we need to remember that we're healing a wound and that takes time. Be gentle with yourself and definitely don't go back to the gym in the first two weeks!"
I think this was a great visual and reminder even for me as a nurse to remember that the postpartum time is not only a time for bonding with baby and settling into some sort of a routine (if that's even possible!) but that it’s also a time for a new mom's body to heal.
Healing and the Role of CAM
Let’s talk about that healing process. If you haven't picked up on this already, I'm a huge advocate for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
What's CAM? CAM is also known as Integrative Medicine.
What is Integrative Medicine? Integrative Medicine includes acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine and postnatal yoga, to name just a few.
Let's start with acupuncture. Ideally, you'll have had the opportunity to connect with an acupuncturist during pregnancy. But, if you haven’t there's no reason why you can't take a little time to find one postpartum.
So… what are the benefits of acupuncture postpartum? In a couple of weeks you'll be able to view a video chat with my lovely and amazing acupuncturist, Meghan Loginov, owner of Mother Moon Acupuncture. Stay tuned in the Peaceful Pregnancy Network.
What I love about Meghan is that she also shows you how acupuncture postpartum can help you regulate your cycles and help restore your energetic balance. There are a lot of changes that happen postpartum and acupuncture can be really key, depending on your constitution, in helping you regulate those changes.
To learn more about Meghan Loginov at Mother Moon Acupuncture you can visit her website here: https://www.mothermoonacu.com/
Let’s chat about chiropractic care... Anecdotally, chiropractic has been amazing for me postpartum. My first birth was challenging. My body didn't heal like I would have hoped. I suffered from prolapse and pelvic floor trauma. Despite telling my midwives about it, I just didn't get the support or acknowledgement that I needed. I wish I would have known about chiropractic care then!
I just didn't know enough about chiropractic to know that it could help me. It helped me so much! I didn't know how bad I felt until I felt better. Chiropractic can really help with the alignment of the pelvis which as you can imagine is stressed during (vaginal) birth.
Below this section on Healing Modalities you'll find a video I filmed with Dr. Cassie McGuire, D.C. There is a lot of great information in the 17 minute clip, so definitely take some time to watch! Dr. Cassie is with the ChiroCenter in Bloomington, MN and works with moms prenatally and postnatally. You can find more information about her practice at: http://chirocenterbloomington.com
I recently had the opportunity to meet with a Homeopath to learn more about her practice. What I didn’t realize about homeopathy was that it's a form of energy medicine.
When I met with the Desiree Brazelton, a local Homeopath, she shared that her job is to match a remedy with her client’s energetic state so that the body can heal itself. In simple terms, the remedy gives the body the “permission” to do the healing work. As she put it: “The remedy indicates to the system what needs to be healed.”
Wow. I was so impressed. I told her that with my background in nursing and medicine, I could connect with what she was saying. However, at the same time, it was blowing my mind to think that a remedy with energetic properties could actually prompt the immune system to fire up.
You might be wondering, how do I find an acupuncturist or a homeopath in my community? I definitely recommend seeking out a licensed practitioner. The best way to do a search for this is to look for resources through the licensing organization for that profession.
To learn more about my colleagues Desiree Brazelton, you can visit her website here: https://www.desireebrazelton.com/
Licensed naturopathic medical doctors are a great resource as they have a more holistic, patient-centered approach that really focuses on healing rather than on disease processes.
I’ve just begun learning about naturopathic medicine and I'm super excited about this modality. First of all, naturopathic doctors focus on holistic medicine and healing the body from the inside out. They use lab work and other testing to help figure out the best treatment plan. In addition, they put a lot of attention on nutrition and when it makes sense they will recommend supplements.
Lastly and most importantly, naturopathic doctors take time with you. They take the time to hear your concerns and your story. This fact is invaluable and I believe it can actually be more effective than mainstream medicine which often relies on checklists, forms, and a battery of questions about your health and your problems.
To learn more about naturopathic medicine, please visit the website of my colleague Dr. Cassie Wilder. You can find her website here at the Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center: https://mplsimc.com/
You can access more information about naturopathic medicine by visiting the following website: http://www.mnanp.org/