“Recovery Time” After Childbirth

An article in a UK paper today caught my eye, “Women need a whole year to recover from childbirth despite the ‘fantasy’ image of celebrity mothers, study claims.”  Article here,
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2102517/Women-need-year-recover-childbirth-study-finds.html  Quote from article:

“New mothers may be told that they will be back to ‘normal’ within six weeks of giving birth, but a new study has found that most women take much longer to recover.”

I love that they put normal in quotes because the reality is that there is no normal and NOTHING will ever be the same but I would go on to argue over the use of recovery too.  There is no recovery–instead of thinking that women need to recover, as if this was a malady or illness, I prefer to think of it as “time to adjust” or “transition”.  Time to adjust to the new “normal” or transition into the beginning stages of parenthood.

Six weeks is NOT enough time to adjust.  Parenthood is a whole new ballgame.  Giving women more time to transition into their new role, supporting them as a new mother, would benefit society as a whole.  A mother who has had time to adjust to her new role as a parent may transition more easily into a working mother’s role when compared to the mother who must return to work at six weeks.  The stress and pressure of a new mother returning to work impacts her family negatively.  The mother at six week has not fully adjusted physically or mentally—not to mention the negative effect on the breastfeeding relationship.

Wouldn’t it be nice if mothers were given a full year to adjust to “their new job”.

Protecting Rights of Pregnant Women in the Workplace

Last week I wrote about protecting the rights of breastfeeding women in the workplace and the Federal legislation that came into effect in 2010–the pros and cons, http://thelactationlady.com/pumping-in-the-workplace/–it seems only fitting that today’s New York Times had an article about Pregnant Women and the importance of protecting their rights in the workplace, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/opinion/pregnant-and-pushed-out-of-a-job.html?_r=1

The author points out the crux of the problem, “Federal and state laws ban discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. And amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees (including most employees with medical complications arising from pregnancies) who need them to do their jobs. But because pregnancy itself is not considered a disability, employers are not obligated to accommodate most pregnant workers in any way.”

Pregnancy is not an illness, but allowing accommodations so a woman can keep working just seem to be common sense to me.  It is a sad state of affairs when we actually need laws to protect discrimination against women and they have to be extremely detailed since we cannot rely on “culture” to do the right thing.  Laws are needed and they must specifically define rights for women who are pregnant in the workplace–just like breastfeeding, whether they are laws to protect public breastfeeding or pumping in the workplace.

The health of women and children define the “health” of a society….shouldn’t that be protected.


Recommended Links, DVDs, and Books


My favorite website for breastfeeding information, kellymom.com This website is run by Lactation Consultant Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC and it is BRILLANT! The site is easy to navigate and has links to ALL the latest and greatest on the Web. The site is good for all parents and health care professionals who are looking for more information on lactation issues.


La Leche League International; The grassroots organization that historically has supported, promoted, and most importantly protected a woman’s right to breastfeed her infant.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); Use the search function to research any parenting/childcare topic. What are the standard care practices? Visit the “Parenting Corner” and learn about current health care topics.

The Breastfeeding Policy of the AAP; Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. This is a must read for all new parents. What are the known benefits of breastfeeding? What are the recommendations of the health care professionals?

Breastfeeding.com; An all inclusive website for great breastfeeding information; not only is it educational it is FUN too!


Lamaze; Familiarize yourself with the Six Care Practices that support normal birth.

The Childbirth Connection ; A non profit organization that focuses on providing parents and health care providers evidenced based information on pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period.

International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN); Educating families on a delivery process that involves major abdominal surgery, focusing on evidenced based information.

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services; Promoting wellness model of maternity care.

3D Animation of Pelvic Outlet/Birth; This is a non graphic video depicting the pelvic activity and fetal movement that take place during the delivery process.


Dr. William Sears; This is a great website for information on childbirth, breastfeeding, and all parenting issues. I am a big fan of anything written by this family.

Attachment Parenting International; I love attachment parenting. It just make sense!

Fun & Fabulous:

Hathor the Cow Goddess and the Evolution Revolution; Do not miss the talented cartoons drawn and narrated by Heather Cushman-Dowdee. Empower yourselves! and her new website, Mama is!

Local Links:

Local GYMVOREE owner and mom, Kathy Froelich, knows how important play and music are for childrens’ growth and development. Local moms and dads LOVE the FUN they have attending her Gymboree classes in Ocean and Howell, NJ. To learn more visit Kathy’s blog, http://themamablog.com/.

Mommy Moves; exercise after delivery can be fun and include the baby. Lori Sawyer and her staff know just how to help you get back in shape, visit her website to find out about classes in your local area,http://www.mommy-moves.com/



Prenatal Preparation

Pregnancy is a significant time in every family’s life and everyone’s pregnancy is different. Pregnancy is a time of preparation. Preparing for changes that occur when a new family member enters into the equation. Sometimes thinking that far ahead is a little overwhelming and typically most pregnant women, specifically those pregnant for the first time, focus on how the pregnancy will end—-The Delivery of the baby.

Mental and physical preparation for the delivery is a good thing. I think women/families that are prepared and educated on the delivery process and what to expect, are better able to handle childbirth.

Merriam Webster Online (2008) defines LABOR as:
“Expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult; the physical activities involved in giving birth (as dilation of the cervix and contraction of the uterus).”

If I told you that you were going to run a marathon in 9 months, 26.2 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometers), you would immediately begin to prepare. Prepare mentally as well as physically. You would change your diet, eating only healthy foods that would help you gain muscle mass and energy. You would begin physically training, working on building stamina and strength. You would mentally challenge yourself, using techniques such as visualization; visualizing yourself running through the course until you cross the finish line.

What if I told you having a baby is a lot like training for and running a marathon. It is physically and mentally challenging, and when you complete your race/delivery you will feel like YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

Imagine the thrill of finishing the race/holding your baby in your arms. There is no other feeling quite like it. You are on an “endorphin high”. Endorphins are produced by your body during times of stress and strenuous activity. They are known for their affects as analgesics, pain relievers, and for their ability to create a sense of well being in the body. Doesn’t that sound nice?

No, you will never forget how hard or difficult your labor was, but you will not care. WHY? Because you will have a beautiful baby that will represent all your hard work and “it will be worth it”.

I recommend learning all you can. Use the information available to you. Research pregnancy and childbirth using your local library and the World Wide Web. Visit the links on my “links to the Latest and Greatest on the Web”. Begin your training.

When entering into your third trimester, it would be a good idea to consider taking a childbirth preparation class. This is a great way to prepare as a couple. Childbirth Classes cover many relevant topics including, stages of labor, preparation for dealing with pain, pharmalogical pain management options, routines and procedures, and most importantly comfort measures. Becoming an educated consumer will enable you to make informed decisions in regards to your delivery process. You will be an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT; the leader and head honcho.

As an active participant in your own labor, if you decide to deliver in the hospital setting, your health care providers will be following your lead. Your relationship with your care providers should be based on a mutual trust; you and your health care team will be working towards the same goal–the goal of fulfilling YOUR BIRTH WISHES, how you envision your delivery/your tentative delivery plan.