Friday, July 22, 2011

Three Postpartum Things No One Tells You While You're Pregnant!

Pregnant women always seem to bring out the inner expert in people. Everyone from your mother-in-law to the grocery store clerk has advice to give or a story to tell about pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. However, rarely do we hear about certain things postpartum that could be useful to us if we had advice about it or even a heads up. I'd like to take some time to go over the top three things that occur postpartum I hear from clients, see on parenting/pregnancy boards, and have personal experience with, yet seemingly pregnant women rarely know anything about. I hope this list helps some of you ladies out there navigate through your first weeks postpartum with more knowledge and confidence that what you going through is normal and common.


You read that right. Lots of women experience hair loss postpartum. It can be very daunting watching clumps of your once luxurious pregnancy-induced Pantene locks falling out suddenly, but fear not! It's perfectly normal and probably not premature female balding! Telogen Effluvium is the excessive shedding of hair that can occur anywhere from 1-6 months postpartum and you can blame those pesky hormones for it! Normally, about 90% of your hair is an active state and 10% is dormant. During pregnancy, the increase in hormone levels can keep your hair from entering the dormant phase, so hair you would shed normally stays put. When pregnancy ends and hormone levels return to normal, your hair that ceased to shed during pregnancy, then begins to fall out postpartum. It seems like you are losing more than normal, but in fact are losing hair you essentially should have lost before.

Here are few things you can do to help during this time:

*Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which contain flavonoids and antioxidants.

*Avoid hair styles that place stress on your hair such as ponytails, braids, and weaves.

*Use shampoos and conditioners containing biotin and silica
If for some reason you still feel your hair loss is exceptionally excessive, consult with your physician.


I know some of you pregnant women out there are probably thinking big deal! I sweat already. To that I would say, not like this. Postpartum night sweats are a completely different beast. I've had clients who reported waking up with sheets soaked so bad they felt they'd been doused with a bucket of water. Although it may seem like a very strange post-pregnancy symptom, it's actually quite understandable considering all the extra fluid retention a pregnant woman takes on. After birth your hormones (yes, hormones again) adjust and signal to the body that it’s time to eliminate the extra fluid. Like many postpartum symptoms, this too shall pass. Usually in about 2-4 weeks. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to make yourself more comfortable:

*Drink plenty of fluids. It may seem counter-intuitive, but drinking extra fluids will keep you hydrated (all that sweating can dehydrate you afterall) and help your body reestablish a normal water balance more quickly.

*Put a soft towel or a pad over your pillow and under your sheets to absorb some of the moisture.

*Wear loose, lightweight clothing and sleepwear made of cotton, or even sleep in the nude.
As always, if you have other accompanying symptoms with the night sweats such as fever or dizziness consultant with a physician.


Many pregnant women read up on the benefits of breastfeeding, hear about the magical bonding of mother and child, and may even witness a mother, sitting on a park bench, breastfeeding her baby with ease and grace. A real pro. Then you birth your wonderful baby, settle in to breastfeed the little angel and realize not only do you not know what the heck you are doing, but it hurts as well. Yes, it's a perfectly natural thing, breastfeeding, but it doesn't come without it's challenges, i.e., pain and discomfort. Especially those first few days postpartum. Now I completely understand words like pain and discomfort are subjective. One woman's mild discomfort is another woman's severe pain. Keep in mind though, that my point here isn't about those cases of bleeding cracked nipples, mastitis or severe engorgement, but the run-of-the mill discomfort caused by a hungry baby vigorously sucking (and at times tugging and pulling) on your virgin nipples.

You may have heard or even read before that old saying If you are doing it right it shouldn't hurt. Let me interject my first (and only) swear word in this post by saying that is utter bullshit. Well meaning women say this without realizing how condescending and hurtful those nine words can be. It's also wrong. Breast-feeding is a learned skill, and you'll need time, along with practice, and patience to make it a comfortable, successful experience. While many issues that come about during breastfeeding can be attributed to malpositioning of the baby and a poor latch, there is still that initial discomfort you can feel without experiencing those aforementioned issues. You may also feel unsure you baby is getting enough milk that exacerbates you concerns. These feelings are all within the range of normal and there are measures you can take to help you along with breastfeeding:

*Nurse on demand. During the first 12-24 hours after your milk comes in, by letting the baby nurse almost continuously, you may be able to avoid the initial engorgement (and accompanying pain) that normally occurs when the milk comes in.

*Even though fear of pain and discomfort may make you shy away from it; always begin feeding the baby on the sorest breast or the one that seems to be the fullest.

*Expose your nipples to air whenever possible to help toughen them up and to prevent continuous contact with moisture, which can cause nipple irritation, soreness, and damage.

*Lastly, you want to make sure you latch is correct. If you need further help you can contact breastfeeding consultants at Le Leche League International . Also consult a physician if you have severe bleeding cracked nipples and/or fever accompanying swollen painful breast.

As a passionate advocate of breastfeeding I urge any mothers going through this to allow for yourself and your baby the time patience to hang in there if you experience this rough patch! There are many reasons that make it worth it and a few weeks postpartum you'll mostly like be that mother looking that old breastfeeding pro in the park.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What does Choice mean to you? An open thread.

I am truly curious about women who advocate for choices but have no problem removing the ones from women that they don't agree with. This post comes about after many conversations I've had and read regarding an article that reported one hospital banning elective cesarean sections and inductions.

Now to be fair, there is part of me that wants to give in and celebrate this a victory for natural birth advocates, for women, for babies, but then there is another part that first and foremost terrified of the word ban and choice being in the same sentence when it comes to how women birth their babies. So before I get up on my high horse and tell you all why, I want to hear from you. I am hoping to learn something and have meaningful dialogue, not discredit anyone's point of view or argue. So let's try not do that in the comments, passionate as you all may be! Let's open it up to all choices in childbirth, not just this one. Do you feel there are other things that should be banned? If so, why, and again, why do you think it's not a dangerous thing to do, banning any choice in childbirth. So it's open to you ladies (and gentlemen if you are out there).