How 40 Days of Post Pregnancy Confinement Is Crucial In Postpartum Healing
Postpartum confinement refers to a traditional practice following childbirth. The transition from pregnancy to postpartum, new mothers experiences lot of changes from tiredness to hormone fluctuations. They probably continue to see changes in the body and emotions following childbirth. No matter how you delivered your baby, the postpartum confinement period is generally considered important for emotional and physical healing of your body after birth.
The customs and traditions during these days may vary depending on which part of the country you are from. It lasts for a culturally variable length of 30 days, 40 days, two months or 100 days. But largely, the first 40 days are seen as a confinement period, meant for you to recuperate, gain strength, immunity and bond with your new baby. Though some of these customs may be difficult to follow, you may find some of them useful. If you feel like the traditional restrictions linked to this period are difficult to follow, speak openly to your family members about your feelings. Allow your body to heal at it's own pace.
During confinement, your vagina, perineum or C-section incision should be healed, and your uterus should be back to its normal size. For a period of around six weeks after birth, your uterus will be actively trying to go back to its pre-pregnancy size. You may feel contractions especially while you are breastfeeding. Vaginal soreness, bruising and some discomfort for the first few days after birth. After a C-section, you’re going to feel pain and tenderness on and near your incision, especially for the first few days and weeks as you recover.
Your breasts have been changing since the beginning of your pregnancy. And around the third or fourth day after giving birth, you’ll notice the next big change as your breasts will start filling with milk. Though breastfeeding is the most natural way of nourishing your baby, but it doesn’t always come easily to first time mothers. You may starting to have engorged breasts, sore nipples or leaks.
Therefore mothers and babies are told not to expose their body to physical agents such cold weather or wind, as it is important to wrap up them warm and minimize the amount of skin exposed, as it was believed that they may catch infection during this vulnerable time that may be detrimental to their recovery.
The custom of confinement advises new mothers to choose energy and protein-rich foods to recover energy levels, help shrink the uterus and for the perineum to heal. These are usually made with ingredients that are believed to be warming as it is believed that heat speeds up recovery after childbirth. A lot of the ingredients are also believed to help with the production of breastmilk.
Sometimes, new mothers only begin to consume special herbal foods after all the lochia is discharged. As your uterus sheds that thick lining it maintained during your pregnancy, you’ll experience some vaginal bleeding and discharge which is known as lochia. Even if you had a cesarean (C-section), you’ll experience bleeding and discharge. Bleeding and discharge will be the heaviest within the first several days after having your baby, but will become lighter as time goes on. Typically, lochia can last 4-6 weeks, with discharge continually decreasing. Lochia is a normal part of the postpartum healing process and doesn’t usually cause complications. Your uterus is essentially starting fresh and shedding any blood, tissue and other materials from months of pregnancy.
The practice of confinement is a kind of pampering and crucial for a new mother. Talk to your partner or loved ones about how you feel so they can support you and help you get through it. The postnatal or post delivery massage is one of the delightful things of the traditional Indian confinement. A massage will be very soothing to your tired body and will help with your blood circulation. If your baby blues last more than two weeks or your symptoms become more severe, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth, which can affect both sexes. Symptoms may include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns. While the exact cause of PPD is unclear, the cause is believed to be a combination of hormonal, physical, emotional, genetic, and social factors. Understanding the neuroendocrinology characteristic of PPD has proven to be particularly challenging given the erratic changes to the brain and biological systems during pregnancy and postpartum. Treatment for PPD may include counseling or medications.