Postpartum Recovery: Give Yourself a Year
How much time do you need to dedicate to your postpartum recovery? According to a study from the University of Salford in the UK, you must give yourself one year to fully recover after giving birth.
Contrary to popular belief, this study shows that full recovery is not in place after forty days, which was typically considered the postpartum period.
Forty-five days or six weeks are not enough for your mind and body to fully recover after giving birth. Following birth, there are many feelings and worries that take over the minds of new mothers, and it may feel as if the world has been turned upside down.
In light of this, Dr. Julie Wray decided to interview different mothers in various stages. Her conclusion? The original idea of a set postpartum period is unreal, since recovering from childbirth can take you up to twelve months.
Postpartum Recovery: What does it mean?
When we talk about postpartum recovery we aren’t just speaking of the physical aspect, but also the psychological one. For several months, there is pressure to be a good mother; to understand and adequately meet the baby’s needs.
To those pressures we need to add another burden that may lead to even more stress for a new mother: the need to return to work prematurely – as if nothing had happened in between. As if physical, hormonal, and emotional changes, and a drastic adjustment in every day life had not occurred.
Scientific research supports the needs of mothers: The postpartum period should not be limited to forty days. This period should not simply be treated as the physical recovery of the uterus. Postpartum goes much further than this simplification of events.
Caught between hormones and breast-feeding
The new, glowing mother needs time for her hormonal system to normalize. Particularly if it is her first child, a new mother needs time to adapt to maternity. This implies adapting to new schedules, new habits, not to mention being in charge of a new, vulnerable life, 24 hours a day.
Breast-feeding should also be considered part of the postpartum period. In many cases this extends for months, usually up to one year – for many, up to two.
Based on these facts, science takes on a new view of the postpartum period. Women not only experience physical changes, but are also confronted with mixed feelings and psychological changes that may be hard to process.
Of course, the recovery period after giving birth varies from one woman to another. No body or mind is the same, or should be expected to react in the same way. But in general, it is very difficult for any person to adapt to so much change within a forty-day period.
It isn’t easy to for a mother to heal the mind and balance feelings with a new bay in her life. A baby that has not only changed its mother’s body, but also changed her world. Becoming a happy mother also means accepting two big changes: a change in her role as a woman, and her new position as a mother.
Additional Circumstances Surrounding Postpartum Recovery: Physical changes
There are several physical changes that take place during postpartum recover. These can be:
- Normalization of the abdominal region.
- Recovery of the Pelvic Floor.
- Pain or Constant Discomfort.
As you can see, the postpartum period is quite complex, and that is why the discoveries published by the University of Salford (England) should not be considered farfetched. It is a complex period that should not be quickly dismissed.
If you are a new mom, don’t feel anxious if time goes by and your mind and body don’t feel like they used to. Timeframes are different for everyone and they need not be rushed.
Respect the time it takes you to recover. Enjoy your child and try to recover in the best way for you. Do this for your child, for your family, but most importantly, for you.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Cardeñosa, M. B. (2012). La actividad física durante el embarazo y su influencia en el proceso de parto y en la recuperación posparto. REDUCA (Enfermería, Fisioterapia y Podología), 4(5). http://revistareduca.es/index.php/reduca-enfermeria/article/view/932
- Moreno Mojica, C., Rincón Villa Mil, T., Arenas Cárdenas, Y. M., Sierra Medina, D., Cano Quintero, Á. P., & Cárdenas Pinzón, D. L. (2014). La mujer en posparto: un fenómeno de interés e intervención para la disciplina de enfermería. Revista Cuidarte, 5(2), 739-747. http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?pid=S2216-09732014000200005&script=sci_abstract&tlng=en
- Guevara, M. L. L. (2011). Ejercicios para la recuperación posparto fisiológico (olimpia). Olimpia: Publicación científica de la facultad de cultura física de la Universidad de Granma, 8(28), 166-172. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=6210728