I remember standing in front of the hospital on a busy avenue in the middle of Manhattan. Felix was 2 days old and tucked into his car seat, while my husband and I were waiting for an Uber to take us home to our apartment in Brooklyn.
I had just given birth for the first time about 48 hours earlier and was wearing my loosest pair of sweatpants, walking carefully with the thick post-birth pads in my underwear that would be my best friend for the next 2-3 weeks.
Even though my birth went differently from what I had envisioned on my birth plan, I was beaming of new mama pride. Raz, my husband, and I looked at each other with so much love in our new parent eyes and then jokingly asked: Are they really just letting us go? Are we really on our own?
Over the next few months, as my body was healing from pregnancy and birth, and as I stepped into my new identity of a mom, I often felt that there was a severe lack of guidance and information available to new moms.
Most doctors ignore women "complaining" about being exhausted, feeling emotional, or even being in pain and chalk it up as "new mom" symptoms. Oftentimes there are nutritional deficiencies (very common post pregnancy), thyroid issues or improper would or tissue healing that are majorly affecting how a new mom feels after giving birth and for up to a year and beyond after.
The unfortunate truth is that so many women aren't being supported and treated correctly by their healthcare provider and they are not told about all the things new moms can do to make the healing process and the transition into motherhood a million times easier.
Over the last years I have been diving deep into women's health and particularly new mama health and there are three specific things that I believe ALL new moms deserve to be told by their doctors and midwives, but unfortunately rarely are:
1. Balance Your Hormones After Pregnancy and Birth.
During pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, your hormones are constantly adjusting to what your baby needs in order to grow properly; either in utero or through your breastmilk. Your body is going through a the production of a whole library of varying hormones in varying levels. After you give birth, there is a sharp drop in your hormones, particularly progesterone, which is known as a feel good hormones. Then, depending on whether you breastfeed, a whole slew of other hormonal events is starting up its rhythm.
Supporting your hormones by keeping your blood-sugar stable and your body well nourished is key in order to support your body to return to a stable hormonal balance.
2. Replenish Your Nutrient Resources.
Pregnancy is a demanding job for the mom's body and her nutrient resources. By the time a woman gives birth, many of her key nutrients are commonly depleted, which is making it a lot more difficult for your body to recover smoothly and for your mind to stay positive and alert.
This is also particularly important for women who plan on having future children as these babies will have an already depleted supply of key nutrients that are necessary for proper growth and development. Some research, for example, suggests that the reason why second borns on average score lower on IQ tests is because the mother's omega-3 resources were depleted going into her second pregnancy.
Commonly depleted nutrients include: folate, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc and omega-3.
*Interestingly many of these nutrients are also deficient in moms who experience post-partum depression or post-partum thyroiditis.
3. Help Your Connective Tissue Heal.
No matter what method you gave birth (vaginal or cesarean), your connective tissue and skin is undergoing a dramatic healing process after you give birth. So many new moms are incredibly unhappy and uncomfortable in their "new mom" bodies and I want you to know that there is so much you can do.
Keeping inflammation low through the correct nutrition and as little stress as possible as well as consuming collage and the co-factors that build collagen in your body -including Vitamin C, Zinc, and hyaluronic acid- is crucial after giving birth. In addition, if you are experiencing pain, you want to see a physical therapist who focuses on pelvic health. Plus, no matter how good you feel right after birth, you want to be sure to move your body in the correct ways to help it rebuild strength the proper way and without doing further damage.
As you can see, these are all big topics that are immensely important for your own recovery journey, but also for your baby's well-being and your future baby's health (assuming you want to have more;)).
There is so much information new moms aren't being told about or given proper guidance on. That's why I created Well Mama, a group program for new moms who are not willing to settle for feeling just ok, but who are dreaming to live in a world where there are hands-on, actionable and simple ways for them to support their amazing bodies (that, btw, just created the biggest miracle on earth!) and who believe that they deserve to flourish physically, emotionally, and spiritually in motherhood and in life!
In Well Mama, I share specific action steps, shopping lists, guides and so much more for how you can truly take charge of your body and your life as a new mom. It's an incredible course covering the above topics (and more, like how to make the most nutrient-rich breastmilk for your little one) in detail.