The Importance of Recovery After Pregnancy

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The Importance of Recovery After Pregnancy: A Necessity, NOT a Luxury, for Modern Moms in the United States

By Valerie Lynn, Guest Blogger

Valerie LynnWhile living and working in Asia for over 16 years, with the past 12 years largely spent in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the Southeast Asian region of the world, I conducted in-depth research on various after-birth traditions and recovery methods. The lower income countries located in the East Asian region are categorized by the World Bank as Second or Third World, (with the exception of Japan, which is considered First World). Categorization is determined by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, which is the total dollar value of a country’s final income in a year, divided by its population. This is a direct indicator of the average income of a country’s citizens, i.e. the average income of working families.

Due to the lower economic standards of living, it can be said that life might be more difficult in these developing countries than in developed countries like the United States. It is therefore expected that ALL members of a family must be productive and contribute to the well-being of the family. In my experience, no one is allowed to be lackadaisical and a strong work ethic is instilled at a young age purely for survival. In traditional countries like Malaysia, China, South Korea and India, there are well-developed and specific after-birth care practices that have been passed down for generations, centering on a mother’s diet, activities, and self care during the first six weeks after childbirth. The main objective of post-pregnancy recovery guidelines are to ensure a mother’s recuperation is strong, healthy, balanced and, most importantly, takes place in the shortest period of time.

Approximately 3 billion people (including their respective governments) living in traditional cultures recognize that it is essential for women to have a designated “lying-in, resting, or recuperation period” in order to have a full recovery. On average most traditional after-birth recuperation periods range from 30 days to six weeks.

This compulsory resting period allows women an adequate amount of “complete down-time” in order to regain their energy and strength as their body transitions back to a non-pregnant state in the shortest time possible. The result is a sound, strong and “more balanced” recovery. Once the six week recuperation period is complete, a woman is expected, once again, to be a productive, contributing member of the family. I believe that traditions mandating a resting period are directly linked with lower rates of postpartum depression. For example, in Malaysia there are well-developed and specific postnatal recovery guidelines and traditions resulting in a low national rate of postpartum depression of 3.9%, and within a specific group of Malays, just 3%.

In western countries the notion of a “resting period” after childbirth is deemed a luxury and seen as self-indulgent of a mother. I find this generalized opinion to be uninformed, outdated, and baseless when there is an abundance of statistics indicating some of the highest rates of postpartum illnesses in high income, or developed, countries such as the United States. For example, unofficial rates of postpartum depression in the U.S. range between 15-25%. This percentage equates to 1.25* million new cases each year given the medical-label of postpartum depression or a pregnancy related emotional illness. I find this number to be incompatible with what most internationally recognized financial and economic institutions consider to be the world’s number one economy where human rights are of paramount importance.

A paradigm shift is needed in western cultures, especially for the policymakers who draft important maternal healthcare legislation, including maternity leave and health insurance benefits. If more women and families are knowledgeable about and demand access to a full range of postpartum options than we can begin to change how we treat this often ignored but very important time after pregnancy.

*Figure includes clinical births, which comprises fetal losses, miscarriages, and stillbirths.

Valerie Lynn is America’s first Post-pregnancy Wellness Coach and founder of the Post-pregnancy Wellness Company. She is introducing an entirely new paradigm regarding after birth care in the United States based on Eastern influences. Her book, The Mommy Plan, Restoring Your Post-pregnancy Body Naturally Using Women’s Traditional Wisdom, is gaining global recognition in the childbirth industry as she has explained core tenets of traditional after birth guidelines surrounding a mother’s diet, activities and personal care during the first 6-8 weeks after childbirth. Valerie is a Traditional Post-pregnancy Practitioner and offers training in traditional after birth herbal body treatments, massage and abdominal wrapping, and is the Sole US distributor of a unique traditional Postnatal Care Set.

Post-pregnancy Wellness Company
http://postpregnancywellness.com/

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24 Responses to “The Importance of Recovery After Pregnancy”

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  2. jen Says:

    As a postpartum and breastfeeding professional who specializes in supporting moms with perinatal emotional complications and promoting parent/infant bonding, I wholeheartedly agree that designating a postpartum recovery time is crucial to building strong mammas, strong families, and strong communities. Valerie’s book experience and wisdom are felt in every thing she writes.
    I teach a class on postpartum planning and have been looking for ways to incorporate her insights into my own practice. My wish is that all pregnant woman will have access to this book!

  3. flirtyfairy Says:

    This is so great! As a postpartum doula, it’s my job to help clients really make the most of this time and their recovery, and in our culture there’s so much pressure to get up and get back to “normal”. I will definitely share this information with my clients and colleagues! Thanks!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Personally, I wish I had more of a “resting period” after the birth of my daughter. I was in labor for 25 then a c-section followed. The very next day, after getting pretty much no sleep, I was expected to “get moving”! I could barely move let alone walk! It would have been nice to be given the time for body to heal itself so I could adequately care for my newborn baby. Western medicine has a lot to learn on this subject. Great article. Can’t wait to share with my doctor.

  5. Darren Mattock Says:

    Valerie’s work is vitally important. Not only do we need ‘baby care’, but we also need ‘mommy care’ and ‘daddy care’. Birth is a whole-of-family event that has profound implications for the health and well-being of all. We can learn a lot from the traditional wisdom of the eastern cultures, as Valerie shares. Investing in postpartum care using a holistic framework would have significant positive impacts on the health and social outcomes for new mums, babies, dads, families and communities. This is a change we need to see. Great article, Valerie. Well done!

  6. Pipa Says:

    Such a needed article! I personally didn’t do the postpartum caring period with wraps and massages and I really regret it. I see the difference it made with my friends and I think it really is essential to getting a women back to her bet possible shape both physically and mentally.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    As an Asian, the postpartum recovery period is a MUST. Not for the short term recovery, but also, health preservation till old age. We believe that women are most vulnerable (health and mentally) during these period. I remembered that my Mom and Gran insisted that I followed strictly to the “rules”, or else, illnesses will start in my 50s. Well, I guess, I am beginning to see the benefits…my Mom is 72 and my Gran is 92…went through menopause like a breeze (not on HRT at all) and they don’t have any illnesses that’s associated with old age either.

    Thank you Valerie for bringing this to the West. Love & blessing to you.

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    Full recovery after giving birth is important, I am a mother too who gave birth a year ago and had experience a lot of pains and all. A mom who just gave birth like me needs absolute attention.

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