There is so much that no one tells you about postpartum. Much of it could be considered your initiation into parenthood, and there is no way to prepare for it. Some use the term fourth trimester when referring to this time period, and rightfully so, this time after the birth of your baby is time for your body to relearn how to live without baby inside you.
This fourth trimester is filled with balancing emotions of new baby, struggling with little sleep, while trying to heal from birth. You are juggling learning how to breastfeed and learning the cues from baby. Trying to consume enough calories to have enough energy to get everything done and stay hydrated.
This is the perfect time to ask for help from family and friends, but it is also a great time to continue working with your pregnancy and birth team or to establish your postpartum team.
Chiropractic is a great pregnancy resource and will help you have a wonderful pregnancy, but it is also a must have for postpartum care. While chiropractors focus on the function of the nervous system so every part of your body can function at its best, we want to continue chiropractic care to make sure you heal as best as you can, nurse with minimal hiccups, and allow your body to adapt to holding your baby as much as you want or need.
Let’s dive in a little deeper on how chiropractic will help during postpartum. The postpartum time line can be divided into three phases: acute phase, which is the first 24 hours after delivering the placenta, subacute phase or second phase, which can last 2-6 weeks, and the last phase or the delayed postpartum phase that can last up to 6 months. During each of these phases your body is healing at different stages and rates.
Initially your body is trying to purge all that is left over from pregnancy and managing your blood loss. Chiropractic allows your brain to talk to the rest of your body clearly without being interrupted so your body knows how to best heal at this stage. Letting your wounds talk to your brain and let it know exactly what it needs to properly heal. Adjustments also increase circulation, which is very important for wound healing. Delivering fresh blood to continue to repair the wound, but also to supply more oxygen and start any scab formation.
During the second stage of postpartum your body is repairing any stretched perineum or genitourinary recovery, emotional status, and postural re-education. In this stage the healing is slower, so having a good foundation to heal on can be key in how you function later in life. Chiropractic care helps balance your pelvis and spine to allow those perineal muscles to heal, but also let them function as they were designed to and keep your insides in your pelvic bowl. Your posture as a new mom will change and there will be added stress on your structure from holding baby, trying to figure out how to nurse (hello nursing neck), and the lack of sleep or rest you are getting. Continuing chiropractic care will allow your body to adjust to these structural changes much easier and will limit any pains or discomfort they may bring.
The third stage of postpartum is the delayed healing phase and focuses on the restoration of muscle tone and healing of connective tissue, which are very slow processes. This phase is typically when moms are getting back to their “pre-pregnancy state,” but some may never return to that state fully. With a slow gradual healing process it makes sense to make sure the nervous system is able to function at tip top shape to continue this healing phase. Chiropractic care through this phase will only aid in the healing process, again making your body heal better and faster, possibly helping it return to a pre-pregnant state faster.
The first year of your baby’s life will be a drastic change. They will grow incredibly fast and to keep up with them you will need to be functioning at your very best. Chiropractic care is a great way to keep up with you baby’s changes, but also help you through your changes as a new mom. When babies are born, so are mothers. It is important to remember that you are also going through this transformation. So as you enter into your new role as mother, remember to care for yourself as much as you are caring for your new baby. Chiropractic is here to help you through this ever changing new role.