13 posts categorized "Post Partum Health"

Periods: Are we afraid to talk about it?

September 30, 2011

I've been using homemade cloth pads for the past few years (ever since that experiment with cup-style products), and I've noticed that I have a very much heightened sense of when my period is arriving, and exactly how heavy my flow is every day of my period. Moderate differences are very obvious when your absorbency is all based on cotton, not those high-tech absorbers in today's tampons and pads. While it's often inconvenient, and always a little messy, I feel somehow better without having what is essentially a stopper in my lady parts.

I have one day that's very heavy, one day that's somewhat heavy, and a few days of trickle. That heavy day is bad enough that I think about my period all the time. I try not to do anything on these days; if I have to, I often use tampons or the Softcup (I picked up a few free samples at Blogher -- the company rebranded and relaunched the product emphasizing ability to swim, do sports and have sex with the cup in; it doesn't seem a very mom-focused marketing campaign) because I pretty much have to be close to home to use cloth pads. Luckily, I'm there a lot.

So when I was invited to sit in on a conference call about heavy periods, I thought it would be interesting to hear what the PR firm arranging the event was pitching. I wasn't sure: what is the definition of heavy period? (Going through more than one pad an hour is, I think, the definition; the woman on the call representing heavy period sufferers says hers was far worse.) The belief of the PR firm arranging these calls is that women are afraid to talk about their periods, and that they are even timid about bringing up such complaints to their doctors.

I had to wonder, is this true for you? I've talked about my period to several close friends over the years, and I also chat about it (very superficially) with the teenage cross country runners I coach. It also seems that, every month, one of my kids barges in the bathroom when I'm changing a pad or wiping blood; I have to have the talk again each time. (I now say, for the record: "every month mama's body gets ready to have a baby. If there is no baby, the stuff that would have helped the baby grow gets sent out.")

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Life with a newborn: the gift of meals

October 13, 2009

Over the course of the past several years, I been by friends' sides as they have delivered new life into the world.  And, in ensuing weeks after their babies' births, I have delivered meals to their homes and ooh'ed and ahh'ed over their cute little snuggle-bugs.  One such meal was (embarassingly) a Papa Murphy's lasagna that I brought over to Sarah's house after Truman was born.  Alas, life is so busy for us mamas, with or without newborn.  It is a wonder how delicious, nutritious, fresh homemade meals are made by us busy mamas.  But, they are.

Today, my thrid child is three weeks old.  Already, I have been the gracious and humble recipient of meals and treats and even a few hours of donated time as mama's helper from a fellow mama.  There have been cakes, soups, pot pies, cookies, kale, bread, salad, wine, pasta, and chicken verde.  With all the fixin's.  Delivered to my door, which I open, unshowered, unbrushed, unrested and generally smelling of a savory mama milk and baby barf blend.  To you all, I am so grateful.

This is a wonderful gift to a new mama, no matter how many times I have been a mama to a newborn before.  It gives me time to cuddle with my littlest fella.  It gives me time to focus on helping his two big sisters with their homework or reading.  It gives me a little time to fold some laundry, because there is oh. so. much. laundry.  Every day.  And, a supremely lovely part is I don't have to think about it, I don't have to worry, I don't have to plan.  There are so many other things I need to be doing - namely nursing, diapering, sleeping, and putting someone else to sleep.

It all started weeks before our baby's arrival.  I was asked if we had any dietary restrictions (we don't) and whether we'd prefer meal deliveries every day or less frequently (every other day would be great, thank you).  And, voila!, our friends sent us a schedule of days we could expect a meal delivery.

So, now that I'm done oozing with my love and thanks, I ask you: have you been a recipient, participant, or organizer of one of these meal trains to serve the families of newborns?  Anything you would suggest for a seamless flow of food to the recipient family?  Anything else that seem to be "must-have" in-kind contributions for a family of a newborn?

Treating Postpartum Depression with Herbal Medicine

July 27, 2009

For many of us mamas, postpartum depression is real and powerful, and we seek any way to ease the symptoms.  An urbanMama recently emailed with some success she had with herbal medicines and wanted to share the experience:

I recently had a bout with postpartum depression and most of the information/advice I recieved pointed me in the direction of pharmaceutical antidepressants.  I haven't taken pharmaceuticals in years and was not going to start then, while I was (sucessfully) breastfeeding a newborn...so I looked into flower essences and other herbal medicine.  These worked so well that I wanted to share my success story with other mamas and see if there are any other mamas out there that have tried these over the pharmies...perhaps this is a discussion group in the making!

When your abs separate ...

May 29, 2008

Many, many of us mamas grapple with our post-partum health.  Can someone offer their experiences and advice on what to do when your abs divide?  Lesley emails:

I have Diastasis Recti, the separation of my abdominal muscles due to my gigantic tummy during both pregnancies. (I first had a cesarean, then a VBAC, which I hear compounds the problem but is not a prerequisite).  It's time I deal with it.  Two years after the birth of my second (and last) child, it's not going away alone.  It wasn't noticeable after my first birth, so I didn't even know about it, much less do exercises to strengthen my abs. I felt like the pilates I was doing once a week after my second birth was not enough.

My muscles are a good 3 fingers apart and I've read that it can lead to back and other health issues
as I get older. So, I'm looking for resources to help me heal and fix my body. Do you have this, too? Have you been handling it with results?  Does anyone know a person who treats this? I'd prefer to do exercises; Surgery is pretty scary to me.  Help! It's not only a health issue, but I'm tired of having this poochy, saggy tummy!

Postpartum Depression: Legislation in the Works

May 12, 2008

Postpartum depression is something that touches most of us parents in one way or another - through personal experience or as a partner, friend, or family member.  Now's our chance to speak up in support of national funding for research into this widespread and often devastating illness.  The Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression and Care Act  was introduced shortly after a new mama committed suicide in 2001 and it still. hasn't. passed.  Read more and raise your voice over on Activistas.

Getting Body Back After Baby

March 20, 2008

After I delivered our first baby, I just assumed that nature would take its course and the baby-weight would just drop off when it was supposed to.  I guess it did, but it wasn't too long after that I was pregnant with our second.  After I delivered our second baby, I was more anxious to get back into a fitness routine, starting on slow runs when I was 3 weeks post-partum.

So, mamas, we've all been through it.  Alicia is looking for your suggestions, thoughts, experiences:

I'd like to find out what others have done in the way of getting back your body after a baby. My little boy is now 3 months old, we've finally got nursing down and are sleeping a bit more. I'm feeling like I want to start an exercise and/or diet 'program' or perhaps even just a good a book or set of dvds? Before pregnancy, I tried some of the frozen meal weight loss plans and Weight Watchers, and randomly went to the gym. I've got about twenty five pounds to go to get back to pre-pregnancy weight--and I'm not really sure what to expect in terms of how my body will do. I've heard that the belly pooch won't go away until nursing is done--have others found that to be true? What did others do to get back to a comfortable, healthy weight and a stronger body after a baby?

And, for more ideas, check out our FITNESS index....

Mama needs dipes too!

February 07, 2008

A mama recently emailed us about her situation, seeking your thoughts and experiences:

Ready for the whole diaper story in our house?  The babies and toddlers aren't the only ones wearing 'em.  There is also a stack of what the kids and I call "run dipes," which I must wear when I go running if I don't want urine soaking my pants, trickling down my legs and into my shoes.  And even when I dutifully wear my dipe, sometimes I need two!  And yes, I pee RIGHT before I leave the house.  I will NEVER know where it is hiding, why it waits until I've just left the driveway to come out.

I've always someone who wet my pants laughing, jumping rope, sneezing - aerobics was totally out.  But after two kids, my, my....  My sister-in-law (3 kids) just had surgery as it was so bad for her (and she's not the type to take that lightly), and another friend made the very fortunate, accidental discovery recently that those menstrual cups (diva?) seem to serve a double purpose and stop the urine, too.  Does anyone else share this predicament?  Whta do you do?  Mamas, I need ideas, tips, tricks, to keep the urine right where it belongs.  I'd rather it were just the kids in this house who wear the diapers.

Post Partum Depression Help

February 03, 2008

One of our readers emailed recently about her struggles with Post Partum Depression (PPD).  Do you have any professional recommendations for her; or experiences to share?

I am writing with the hope that some mamas will have some answers for me....

I am suffering from ppd - for the second time.  I am realizing that I have probably had a low level of depression for most of my life and it really shows during times of great stress (like having babies!)  It is definitely worse this time around (2nd babe) and my husband and I have decided to seek some help.

We have contacted a few folks but thought i'd put it to the umamas too.  Ladies, please share your experiences with me and help me to feel better about this situation.  I am trying to not feel like such a failure.  it is a challenge.  but the challenges of living with depression are far greater!

So, practitioners you like, safety of drugs & side effects.  I want to nurse my baby and don't want him to have drugs in his system.  Would acupuncture help?  I am currently taking, er, gulping, herbs and feel its not enough.

Mamas: How do you really feel about your bodies?

October 04, 2007

It happens to the best of us.  It happens to me at yoga class.  Sometimes.  I look over to the fit yogi next to me, and I sigh.  "I want to be as taut as she is.  So young, so toned."  It happens to me on the rare occassion that I get to go out on the town.  At a bar or lounge, I will spy with my little eyes ...  I skinny little thing with the hip and happenin' clothes, the fashionista with the slim hips and the perky boobs to go with the snug outfit.

I feel good, I feel strong.  I hold my chaturanga for like 20 counts.  More maybe.  That's super core strength.  And yet, I feel sheepish about my body.  Sometimes.  My body has birthed two lovely babies. BUT, my hips are wider than before, my tummy flesh is nice and flappy and stretchy, and my boobs are smaller and saggier than ever after all those years of nursing.

In a NYTimes article today, they ask: "Is the 'Mom Job' Really Necessary?"  How do you feel about your body, post-babes?  Confident?  Wishing it could be a bit tighter and harder?  Have you considered a nip, tuck, suck, lift, trim?

And, in case this whole conversation has inspired you to get out and get active, check out the urbanMamas fitness index.

Perineum pain: The WORST part

July 19, 2007

Ouch! I've got perineal bruising, bigtime. And it's my job as the resident "TMI" blogger to describe to you a few things about a so-called 'natural' birth:

  1. What is the perineum? It's the part between your vaginal opening and your anus. I had no idea.
  2. What is perineal bruising? It's pressure brought on by pushing a baby out, and (if my body is any indication, and if the post-partum nurse from Legacy is right) often it doesn't really start hurting until days after the birth. Something about nerve endings being bent. Who knows. I'm not sure how long it lasts -- thoughts?
  3. What does it feel like? Well, it hurts to sit. And lie down. And climb stairs. And bend over. Hopscotch? Oh. Oww. EEEeeeee! (Yes, I tried to hopscotch. What was I thinking?) Basically, it feels very similar to tailbone pain -- a condition I'm all-too familiar with, having suffered it occasionally during pregnancy with both Monroe and Truman. It hurts to change diapers, nurse, and walk around the house.
  4. What do you do? Other than the doctor-ordered ibuprofen (which I'm taking a little more frequently-than-prescribed), baths, with herbs. Both Midwifery Today and eHow have lists of herbs -- I just sent Jonathan to Limbo for calendula flowers, comfrey root, rosemary, witch hazel, and yarrow flowers. We already have myrrh, which I'll add. Essentially, you steep a two-cup tea of a "handful" of each herb for 30 minutes, then add to a sitz bath, a regular bath, or dilute by half and put in your squirt bottle. I'll let you know how it works!

I'd love to hear wisdom on perineal bruising, or just commiseration... you guys are great for that!

Seeking Lactation or Newborn Care Classes

June 26, 2007

Erin is new to Portland and new to motherhood.  Does anyone have an experience with lactation classes or newborn care classes:

Could you point me in the direction of lactation classes and newborn care classes? I've been searching but can't find any. I'm looking for recommendations and opinions on how the hospital-offered classes compare with private organization offerings.

Pilates - Evening Classes?

March 18, 2007

Aaah, the curse of the post-partum squishy tummy.  I'm sure you all know it so well.  Kate's looking for a Pilate's class that will help return her back to pre-baby form.  Any suggestions?

I am on the look out for recommendations for some good Pilate's classes pref. in the evenings since I usually work during the days.  Most of the classes I have been able to find seem to be in the mornings on weekdays.  Gotta' work on the ol' belly....Know of any good evening classes out there (preferably on the east side of town)?

Post-Partum Joint Pain

February 08, 2007

Any urbanMamas empathize with Amy and her post-partum joints?

I haven't been able to find anything helpful on the internet about this, so I'm hoping some of you urbanMamas can help me. My daughter was born five months ago, and I am *still* having joint pain. I know everything loosens up during pregnancy and it takes awhile to spring back - but this long? It's actuall worse and more total-body than it was while pregnant. Knees, ankle, elbows, you name it - even my finger joints feel strangely loose and sore, as if they've been hyperextended. This is becoming harder to deal with as Baby gains weight, and I'm squatting down, lifting her, etc. Any suggestions for simple exercises, vitamins/supplements, nutrition? And most of all (because I'm a "why" person) - specifically why do I still feel like this 5 months later? My mom has rheumatoid arthritis - should I be worried that it's something more than a post-partum thing? I plan on talking to my doc about it, but mama-wisdom would be helpful too.