How to improve your healing process in Postpartum with Food?
What is postpartum?
After childbirth, the postpartum period begins. This phase had great importance for you and your child. Because you have to face many changes emotionally and physically. Over the period of six weeks, your reproductive tract starts to move in a normal state as it was before pregnancy. It occurs naturally when a woman returns to a non-pregnancy state after pregnancy duration. There are a lot of changes that occur in maternal physiology.
Physical changes may include changes in breasts. When you are pregnant, your breasts will be filled with a special fluid which is called “colostrum”. In the early days firstly it’s filled with colostrum then it starts the production of milk. During this production, you might feel pain because your breasts start to become firm and enlarge. This process is called “breasts engorgement”. This remains for few days. Breast milk is highly nutritious and contains antibodies that are really necessary for your newborn.
But there is another point to be noted that some mothers also face physical problems like infections, severe swelling, constipation, shortness of breath. But these problems can be cured by taking medications and treatments.
After delivery, you have some bleeding and vaginal discharge which is known as lochia. In this bleeding, your body gets rid of the extra tissues and blood from your uterus. This bleeding can be heavier up to the first 10 days.
The perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. When you give birth to your baby this area will tear. Sometimes your gynecologist makes a small cut to widen this area. If the doctors didn’t make a cut then there is swelling and soreness in this area which is very painful. You may feel discomfort for many weeks.
It’s a painful swelling in the rectum. You may experience this in pregnancy duration but if not then at then you might face this during pushing. This is also the major cause of bleeding.
After delivery, you may feel pain in your lower belly because your uterus starts getting back to normal. This can be called “after pains”. You have to face this pain when you breastfeed your baby.
Sore breasts and nipples:
Soreness of breasts is a common thing postpartum period. Because at the starting days, almost all women have sore breasts and nipples. If you feel soreness after passing some days. So it means your baby is not doing the proper latching. Which can be painful for you.
Stitches also play an important role in postpartum duration. If your stitches around your vaginal area then this can lead you to bear more pain. The stitches will heal with the passage of time. Almost it takes 7-10 days. You have to do just one thing is try to prevent stitches from getting infected. But if you have a cesarean then it will take 5-10 days. One more thing is that if you have stitches in your muscle layer then it will take a long time to heal.
This one is also known as postpartum edema means swelling. This one is due to the increasing level of a hormone known as progesterone. Its duration lasts till a week after delivery.
Postpartum depression is also an important point to be discussed. This state is different from baby blues. But it doesn’t mean that a woman doesn’t love her baby. It’s a mental health condition and can be resolved easily by taking medical treatments from your consultant. 1 out of 10 new mothers suffers from postpartum depression. Its main symptom is mood swings that last for at least 2 weeks.
The main point is to remember that men also practice this depression. And the duration of this depression in men starts after 3-6 months after childbirth.
There are many symptoms of emotional conditions like irritability, anxiety, having fear for no reason, crying and so many. Mostly these symptoms last for 2 weeks but it stays longer than 2 weeks then you must have to consult with your doctor to take proper treatment of postpartum depression.
Some signs and symptoms of postpartum depression:
It can be very hard to detect the signs and symptoms of PPD. After delivery, if you notice such signs and symptoms then take an appointment with your health care doctor for proper treatment.
- Having mood swings
- Changes in appetite
- Lower libido
But if you have major issues of PPD then their symptoms are different like:
- You can hurt yourself and others
- High level of anger
- Feeling happiness, sadness without any reason
- Having trouble in making decisions
- Attempt to suicide
There are usually three types of postpartum depression which most women have to face these types after giving birth to their child.
- Baby blues
- PPD (postpartum depression)
- Postpartum psychosis
After childbirth, there is 70% of women experience this Baby blues. Suddenly, you start to feel happiness, loneliness, feels anxiety, and extreme sadness without any reason, and also crying for no reason. Sometimes its duration lasts for only 2, 3 hours after delivery but sometimes it lasts for 3, 4 weeks. If you have these symptoms after this duration then you should take proper treatment of baby blues.
PPD (postpartum depression):
This resembles baby blues but it can happen after the birth of every child. Its duration lasts for 3, 4 weeks after the birth of your child. You can have similar feelings as the baby blues. Having the feelings of sudden happiness or sadness. Feels anxious without any reason. So you should take proper treatment of postpartum depression from your health care doctor if you experience the symptoms of PPD for a long duration.
This is a serious mental illness. Postpartum psychosis affects new mothers. After the 3 months of childbirth, a woman can have auditory hallucinations and delusions. And also experiences visual hallucinations. This phase can be very severe for new mothers. They had to face all these symptoms also included insomnia, restlessness, and strange behaviors. You can get rid of this type of depression by medications if you are at a very early stage but the major point is that in some cases women are trying to hurt themselves and if they got a serious condition like this then you must have to admit these women in hospital for proper treatment.
Causes of postpartum depression:
Experts say that PPD is not the same for everyone. It can be different from others. So there are some changes that can raise this depression such as:
You have a genetic history of mood’s disorders
- Giving birth to twins or triplets
- Marital complications
- Stressful job or health crises
- Higher chances of this depression if you are very young
- The more children you have means you have to face the severe types of PPD
But some emotional and physical changes can also be the reason for postpartum depression.
- Hormonal changes
- Highest level of anxiety
There is a great change in estrogen and progesterone when you give birth to your child. Because these two play an important role so after delivery when changes occur then you feel sluggishness and tiredness.
Feeling of extreme happiness can lead you to insomnia because when you are overwhelmed then you may have trouble handling the minor problems.
Highest level of anxiety:
At this stage, you might feel that you are not able to take care of your child and overthinking can also be a part of PPD.
You may feel less attractive and having struggle with your sense of identity. You might also feel that you have no control over your life. These issues can contribute to postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression’s complications:
This depression can weaken the ability to make bonding with your baby. It can affect your whole family. There are three main factors in postpartum depression’s complications included:
This depression can turn into a chronic disorder when you take it easy and not take the proper treatment at the very starting point. Even the treatment of PPD can lead you to face the depression in future also. So, it’s really important to take care of yourself and indulge yourself in other activities that will help you to take you out from the horrible effects of postpartum depression.
If you have more than one children then there are many chances to experience PPD. Because you feel that you are unable to pay attention to all of them. It results in anxiety and overthinking and this leads you to postpartum depression.
Your baby’s father:
Your baby’s father can also experience this depression but in men, it occurs after the 3 to 4 months of child’s birth. With the new mothers, fathers too have to face this depression.
Prevention from PPD:
If you have a past history of depressions, tell your doctor about everything of depressions that your family had faced. It’s important to take proper guidelines about depressions if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
During pregnancy (Take proper medications regularly from your health care doctor. It will help you a lot to fight postpartum depression. Take therapies and counseling also)
After delivery (Your gynecologist may recommend you the early postpartum checkup to find out the symptoms of this depression. It will be helpful if you are diagnosed with it earlier)
Management matters a lot after baby’s delivery:
- Take proper sleep when your baby is on rest
- Don’t isolate yourself as it is dangerous for you
- Keep in touch with your family, friends
- Take a properly balanced diet and avoid take alcoholic products and drinks
- Give proper time to your partner also
Treatment for postpartum depression:
Treatment for PPD is varied according to its level like if you have some minor problem then its treatment is different and if you experience severe PPD then its treatment is totally different. In some cases of postpartum psychosis, admission to the hospital is necessary but sometimes it is cured by the proper medications. If you are breastfeeding, then before taking any medicines consult with your health care doctor. If he/she allows you to take medications then you can.
5 basic foods that you should take to fight against postpartum depression:
If you are trying to solve the issues regarding PPD then there are some beneficial foods are there for you. Such as:
- Wild salmon
- Lentils and beans
- Organic eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Whole grains
There is a need for omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy duration. Wild salmons are the greatest source of omega-3 fatty acids with the proper amount. But it is only useful till the birth of your baby. So, wild salmons can help with your baby’s brain development.
Lentils and beans:
Lentils and beans contain enough amount of iron, protein, and fiber. These should be the first choice of pregnant women. The presence of fiber is helpful for your digestive tract and regulates the blood sugar level in your body.
Organic eggs are the main source of vitamin A, vitamin D, and protein. New moms can add organic eggs to their diet. Nutrition that is present in all these foods helps to regulate your mood and behavior which is the biggest problem in postpartum depression.
Dairy products and full-fat Greek yogurt are very beneficial for satisfying your daily needs of nutrients. It is helpful in many ways but more beneficial in your pregnancy time. So make sure to add Greek yogurt and dairy products to your diet for the good health of yourself and your baby’s health also.
Whole grains give you energy and boost the level of serotonin. Serotonin is a “happy chemical”. You should add the proper amount of brown rice, wheat pasta, and oats to your diet to take the needed amount of happy chemicals.