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Lying-In and Postpartum Recovery with Earth Mama Organics

 

While having a new baby is truly an amazing experience, your new beginning with baby and your postpartum recovery should always begin with rest, healing and self care, also known as “Lying In”. Understanding that our bodies crave healing and support after the miracle of birth is incredibly important.

Throughout history, children were raised in communities. When a woman labored, she was surrounded by friends and family. After birth, she was off duty to rest, recover, and breastfeed, while her tribe cooked, cleaned, took care of the other kids, and ran needed errands. Today, most of us live separated from our families, often experience pregnancy through postpartum more or less alone, and deliver our babies amongst strangers. A friend or a family member might stay with us briefly after our babies are born, but then we’re on our own. Because of this, it’s important to know what steps to take in order to best prepare for your postpartum recovery.

HAVE A PLAN. Make the most of the time you have with your new baby by creating a plan of recovery in advance. Postpartum struggles can be very overwhelming. By having a plan and sharing that plan with loved ones, you are eliminating some or all of the most common postpartum stressors. Earth Mama Organics provides a free downloadable Lying-In Plan, created to help guide expecting mamas through thinking about their own plans for postpartum healing. My online course has an entire module devoted to helping you know what to expect and how to plan for the support you need during this sensitive time.

MEDITATE. Taking time to relax and calm your mind can make a huge difference in our external and internal energies, by sitting or lying in a comfortable position and focusing on your breathing; guiding it to be slow, deep and even (make the inhale to exhale ratio each to a count of 3 or 5 for example) or doubling the exhalation time (inhaling to a count of 3, exhaling to a count of 6) is especially soothing. If meditation isn’t your cup of tea, try to find time to relax in quiet with your favorite book or listen to calming, uplifting music or sounds. Know that it's alright to take a moment for yourself. Your energy and your mental health need nourishment during the postpartum period. 

PREPARE YOUR HOME/RECOVERY SUITE. When the ‘nesting phase’ kicks in, and it likely will, channel that energy into creating a space that is postpartum friendly and unique to you. In the weeks leading up to your labor, gather some or all of your postpartum/newborn necessities and make sure they are in a place that is easily accessible to you when you’re lying in with baby. The last thing you need is to run to the other side of your home to grab a diaper or nipple-balm as soon as you’ve laid down. Make sure your linens are clean and things are where you’d want them, so that you’re ready and able to spend your time healing and connecting with your baby.

SELF CARE is so very crucial during this time. Earth Mama’s line of herbal products are specifically designed to care for women before, during and after pregnancy. These products are made the way herbalists have been doing it for centuries; through infusion. As most of my readers know, I widely support a holistic approach to pregnancy and postpartum recovery, so knowing that these products are made traditionally and are organic, without any parabens or artificial fragrances is reassuring. These processes offer a more powerful concentration of herbs, thus allowing the herbs to really do their jobs.


The following Earth Mama postpartum recovery care products are formulated to help new mothers to feel their best while connecting with their newborn. These products can be used to treat perineal soreness, lacerations/episiotomy, hemorrhoids, and c-sections as well as a number of other concerns. 

Organic Herbal Sitz Bath These easy to use herbal sachets are made from a combination of organic witch hazel, yarrow, plantain and calendula, and can be used to brew a sitz bath or as a cold compress for immediate relief to the perineal area. Earth Mama suggests mamas should brew, cool, and pour the herbal sitz over a regular postpartum pad, freeze the pad, and then use it as an ice pack for long lasting relief! You can make a bunch in advance and freeze them in a ziplock bag. 


Organic Perineal Balm provides lasting, cooling comfort down below. Made with organic herbs and oils, this product sits on the surface of the skin, allowing the herbs within the product to stay put and help in the healing process. This product can be used as needed, so be sure to apply it as often as you’d like. 


Herbal Perineal Spray This touch-free spray serves up quick, temporary symptomatic relief dispensed with an upside-down sprayer, making it easy to apply to those swollen or hard to reach places. According to Earth Mama’s website, leftovers can be used as a refreshing facial toner or after shave spritz which sounds enchanting and refreshing! 


Organic Skin and Scar Balm This product is made with a nourishing blend of organic herbal ingredients, traditionally used to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. While stretch marks are all but preventable and genetics are mostly to blame, this balm aids in reducing the appearance of the inevitable - even though I encourage you to embrace these marks of new mama beauty, blessing, strength and wisdom. A little goes a long way and as long as your wounds are closed, this Earth Mama Organic Skin and Scar Balm can be applied up to three times per day.


Organic Periodic Tea First and foremost, it is important to note that this tea is NOT for use during pregnancy. Originally labeled, “Postpartum Recovery Tea” this tea can be consumed within the first hour after birth. It’s benefits include a reduction in bleeding, cramping, and assistance with the hormone shifts experienced after birthing both your baby and placenta. I find that this tea is best served nice and hot, but you may enjoy it cooled and over ice as well! 


Postpartum Recovery Time
It’s common to be very active with self-care before giving birth and then feel it’s impossible to balance everything after birth. It’s normal to have anxiety and fear around what might happen if you don’t get it all done and even start talking down to yourself for not 'doing enough.' Take the time to remember that not everyone’s body heals on the same schedule and while one mama may feel normal in a few weeks time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking things at your .own pace. If you need regular contact with someone who understands the physical and psychological levels of what is happening to support you through this time, I offer an array of holistic care options for post-partum mamas.

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Natural Induction Methods: The Evidence

 
Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol

Natural Induction Methods: An Unbiased Look at the Evidence

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Natural methods of labor induction have been sought after for millennia by third trimester mothers for a variety of different reasons. In modern times, they're frequently a resort of mamas who might be facing a medical induction if they don't labor naturally soon.

There are myriad purported natural induction methods, but both the efficacy and safety of the methods in question are often under-studied and sometimes dubious. It's important to understand the difference between treatments that are largely safe and those that could negatively impact labor, birth, or your baby's health.

The majority of popular natural labor induction methods revolve around the consumption of plants or plant derivatives, such as castor oil and dates or pinapple, or herbal and homeopathic remedies. In the case of simple fruit consumption, there's little risk to mom beyond a stomach ache caused by an overzealous attempt. This can mislead pregnant women into thinking that all plant-based methods of attempting to naturally induce labor are safe, which is not true. In fact, some more potent plant derivatives have been shown to lead to labor complications.

The other category of natural induction methods involve forms of physical stimulus. Again, these have been attempted throughout the ages with varying degrees of success. Sexual intercourse, which is one of the most colloquially suggested methods of naturally triggering labor, has minimal risk unless a midwife or doctor has noted otherwise. Interestingly, despite its reputation, it has still been shown to be less effective at triggering labor than other forms of physical stimulus. Other stimulation methods include breast massage, acupuncture and acupressure, walking (most effective once actually in labor), uterine massage, and membrane stripping - to name just a few.

When you're attempting a natural labor induction, knowing what works and what doesn't is helpful; knowing what's healthy and what could harm your baby, however, is vital. We The Parents has compiled an infographic detailing nine of the most popular ways mothers attempt natural labor induction. For each method, the scientific evidence is examined. How much research has been done? And what do the results indicate about the efficacy and safety?

While this can help you to make an informed decision, it's also essential to get your treating physician, midwife, nurse practitioner, or other qualified health care provider’s go-ahead before trying any of these methods in order to avoid inadvertently harming yourself or your baby.

As a holistic midwife of just about 25 years, countless mamas have sought my guidance on how to bring on labor with natural modalities. I have experienced much success with a variety of methods - some not even mentioned here, but nothing has been consistent, and as with many natural remedies there is a paucity of research. As long as they are safe and sometimes effective, I will continue to recommend them, knowing that I am helping, and it is ultimately not in our control - babies prefer to come when they are ready. Many of the professional grade, top quality remedies I recommend and use often are available in my holistic online apothecary. Also, even the powerful medicinal methods have significant risks we can not take lightly, as well as benefits when there are serious complications, and do not always work either.

A common reason women want to bring on labor naturally is the concern about being ‘too late’, the postdates testing and threat of hospital induction, along with the cascade of interventions associated with it. A key factor people often do not consider is prevention. When planning a pregnancy, I encourage women to take charge of their fertility, empower themselves with knowledge about their cycles, fertile signs and know when they conceived, so the due date is more accurate than if simply based on first day of last menstrual period alone. Read more about what you can do, covered more in depth in a previous blog. Women who do not know their cycles or the date they got pregnant can also consider an early first trimester sonogram, especially if they have a history of long or irregular cycles, or of being induced previously for carrying post-term babies; but a decision to do that should be an informed one, as there are also pros and cons of ultrasound to consider.

Knowing what you should do can seem daunting. I am here to help if you need more personalized guidance. You can also read my books, to prepare yourself for a healthy, joyful and calm pregnancy and childbirth, and for healing and enhanced well-being. For further inspiration, empowerment, and optimal health in pregnancy, birthing and postpartum, please make sure to click here to take my online Love Your Birth course, so you can ROCK your journey wherever and however you plan to give birth.

I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  

But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by.

I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. 

Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby. For more info on the Bellefit girdle, check out my blog about it here

Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.