January 14, 2020
After you give birth, you may be wondering what’s going on with your vagina and if it’ll ever go back to normal. Some changes, like labia swelling or skin darkening, will go away soon after you give birth. Others, however, may take longer to go away, and some changes are permanent. Here’s what you can expect.
January 7, 2020
All right, you’ve made it to the 6-week check-up and your OB/GYN has cleared you for sex, exercise, jumping on trampolines...whatever your heart desires. Great! That means from the OB/GYN perspective you are healthy and ready to move on to the next thing. The OB/GYN “sign-off” is very important but should be viewed as a “yellow light” as opposed to a “green light” for all things exercise. Let’s pump the brakes on the clearance to do any form of exercise as soon as you get that 6-week sign-off and think critically about what your body went through and what has been happening for the past 6 weeks.
December 31, 2019
Belly binding has been around for a long time and has recently seen a lot of new products crop up. In addition to belly binders (or abdominal binders), you may have seen ads for belly wraps, postpartum girdles, and corsets. Generally all of these products wrap your abdomen in some way, but they have different levels of compression, claim different benefits, and have varying degrees of safety.
December 24, 2019
By now, you’re probably caught on to how much post-birth recovery can vary. This wide range of normal is partly why so much of the current medical advice you hear is so generic and unhelpful (“Just take it slow”). This can be especially annoying for anyone who had a second degree tear during birth, which are not severe enough to be considered Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injuries (OASIS) and are often lumped together with superficial first degree tears. But second degree tears can be quite substantial, involving the tearing of muscle, and they’re common enough that you should have a better idea of what to expect.
December 18, 2019
One lesser-known breastfeeding struggle that deserves a deeper look is D-MER, which is a drop in mood that comes on during breastfeeding. If this is something you’ve experienced it can bring much needed relief to know this is a very real physiological phenomenon and not uncommon.
December 10, 2019
This is hands down one of the most difficult parts of the postpartum experience. People often have so many expectations of how things are going to be before they give birth and aren’t prepared for the realities following that.
December 3, 2019
Having a baby is beautiful and natural and has been happening for thousands of years. Women have also been suffering (mostly in silence) from the physical repercussions of childbearing for thousands of years; incontinence, pain with intercourse, prolapse...to name a few. These repercussions have been accepted as “normal” and basically just part of the territory. Well, they don’t have to be! But, you do have to be proactive and devote some time to yourself which is difficult in the early postpartum time. Here are three exercises you can do during the first four weeks postpartum to help rehab and strengthen your pelvic floor.
December 2, 2019
Thanks to celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Cardi B, people are talking about postpartum depression and the message is clear: It’s real, it can hit anyone, and you should not be embarrassed to get help.
November 26, 2019
There are many skin changes that can happen during and after pregnancy. While some are nice, like the alleged “pregnancy glow,” others bring us back to puberty, like acne. These bumps and pimples can be frustrating, as well as anxiety-inducing, since it’s not always clear if the treatments are safe.
November 19, 2019
People often hire a doula to help advocate for themselves during pregnancy and labor. But what about postpartum? So many people feel completely forgotten during this time, and if you’ve experienced any difficulties during birth, that six week check-up will feel a long way off.
November 12, 2019
Let’s be honest, childbearing is no walk in the park. It’s beautiful and natural of course, but it is also very intense. Your body goes through so many amazing changes to grow a new human. Unfortunately, the resources for preparing your body during pregnancy and for rehabilitating after labor and delivery are seriously lacking. Here are three easy exercises you can do right now to prep your body and reduce your chance of injury during labor and delivery.
November 5, 2019
Like headaches in general, postpartum headaches may be from a variety of causes. Sometimes the causes are not directly related to the postpartum phase like, for example, tension (stress) and migraines that existed pre-pregnancy. Sometimes they are directly related, like a spinal headache that results from an epidural or spinal block, and sometimes changes during postpartum can amplify the causes, like low glucose, weight loss, medications, caffeine withdrawal, and fatigue. Despite the fact that many of these headaches are no cause for concern, postpartum headaches are sometimes a sign of something more serious.
October 29, 2019
Hot flashes (daytime sweats) and night sweats are the classic menopausal symptoms but can occur under other circumstances such as pregnancy and postpartum. Night sweats are associated with sleep disturbances, irritability, overall impairments in physical, social, and emotional aspects of life. Although the mechanism of hot flashes is not well understood, they are thought to be thermoregulatory events occurring due to the dramatic hormonal transitions experienced during the pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause transitions.
October 22, 2019
In addition to pain during labor, losing weight is often one of the top concerns after pregnancy. Talking about weight loss can set off some pretty powerful negative associations for a lot of women, so it’s not a topic we bring up lightly. However, it can have a substantial influence on your health so we want to make sure you have the resources you need to be healthy.
October 15, 2019
If you delivered your child by cesarean section, you are not alone. As of 2014, 32.2% of pregnant women in the United States had a cesarean delivery. However, just because they’re common does not mean they are not a big deal. A c-section is major abdominal surgery, but unlike most other major surgeries, you may not have had time to prepare yourself for it. And you might be left with a lot of questions afterward.
October 8, 2019
Almost 20% of new moms in the US don’t breastfeed, and they don’t always get the support they need. There’s a lot of guidance available about breastfeeding, but if you’re not breastfeeding, you also deserve to have your questions answered in a supportive, non-judgmental way. So we’re going to walk you through what you can expect the first few weeks after giving birth if you’re not going to breastfeed.
October 1, 2019
One of the most common complaints after childbirth is hemorrhoids, with 28% to 48% of women reporting symptoms at 4 weeks postpartum. They are actually very common during pregnancy as well, thanks to constipation and the extra pressure on your veins in your lower half from your enlarged uterus. If you successfully avoided them during pregnancy, you still might have them after childbirth, due to straining during labor and constipation afterward. If you did have them during pregnancy, they might get worse. Here’s what to expect and what you can do about them.
September 24, 2019
The vast majority of births in the US are attended by a physician, who then handles the postpartum care as well. Generally, this includes one check-up around six weeks postpartum. If you had any pregnancy complications, your doctor may want to see you earlier, and if you had a cesarean birth, you may see your provider around 2 weeks postpartum to check on your c-section incision. Otherwise, the expectation is just one visit at 6 weeks. It can be a little shocking to go from frequent prenatal visits to just one after giving birth, so we’ll walk you through how to get the most out of it.
September 17, 2019
What you eat postpartum can help support your recovery and provide you with the energy that you need to take care of your baby. Here we outline the most important nutrients and where you can find them in your diet.
September 10, 2019
One of the most common reasons why people stop breastfeeding is pain. There are many things that can contribute to breastfeeding pain, including a shallow latch, blocked ducts, mastitis, and thrush. Thrush is a very common diagnosis, affecting an estimated 10-20% of new mothers. It can be extremely painful, frustrating, and hard to get rid of.
September 3, 2019
Postpartum depression is one of the most common pregnancy-related complications, affecting an estimated 20% of new mothers. While treatments including psychotherapy and antidepressant medications have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms, there can be significant challenges to receiving these treatments. So it’s no wonder that there’s more and more research being done on how to prevent and treat PPD in more accessible ways.
August 27, 2019
The overwhelming majority of issues you’ll experience in the weeks following childbirth are totally normal. Things like nipple pain, mommy thumb, and painful sex can be excruciating, but are still generally considered non-urgent. Even though they’re normal, you can and should, get help for them, but they’re not life-or-death situations. However, in rare cases, there are signs that something is really wrong. These are serious concerns that need to be addressed ASAP. You really need to call your doctor right away. Because these are the ones that, if not treated, can be fatal. However, most pregnancy-related deaths can be prevented and early treatment is key. One way to catch these issues earlier is for you to recognize something as a symptom and report it quickly. We’ll go through some of the top causes of maternal and pregnancy-related deaths, so you’ll know what to look out for.
August 20, 2019
Friends and family are always full of advice when it comes to breastfeeding your new little one, but one thing many people avoid mentioning is that breastfeeding is hard. Sure, breastfeeding is supposed to be “natural” and therefore assumed to be easy. Maybe for some it is, but for some it’s not. In fact, many mothers don’t breastfeed for as long as they would like as a result of these challenges. And one of the top challenges cited is milk supply.
August 13, 2019
One of the best perks of pregnancy (besides the joy of growing a mini-you) is a 9-month break from Aunt Flo. Of course, you might feel like the postpartum bleeding (aka lochia) and cramping make up for it. But you might be wondering when that pesky period is going to come back. And the answer is… it depends (surprise, surprise).
August 6, 2019
One of the best ways to set yourself up for a great recovery from birth is to prepare. If you’re the plan-ahead type, you may have already started to prepare for the baby or labor and delivery. But it’s just as important to prepare for your recovery from birth and pregnancy and transition to motherhood. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends setting up a postpartum care plan and care team before your baby is born.
July 30, 2019
With all the images of celebrities and Instagram influencers showing off their post-baby bodies, the pressure to get fit after having a baby can be overwhelming. Fitness is a great goal for all women, not just new moms, but after birth there can be a lot of uncertainty and challenges that make it extra tough. But it can be worth it. In addition to the standard benefits of exercise like stress relief, more energy, and better sleep, studies suggest that exercise can help prevent postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
July 23, 2019
The odds are about 1 in 10 that as a new mom, you'll experience postpartum panic attacks. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, heart racing, gasping for air, with terrifying thoughts that your baby was in danger? Or maybe you were driving, and all of a sudden started shaking and sweating and thought you were about to die. You’re not alone. Postpartum panic attacks can feel extremely scary. The good news is that they’re not life-threatening (although they can be very life-impacting), and treatment can be very effective.
July 16, 2019
Painful sex after childbirth is very common. In fact, 50-60% of women report painful sex (dyspareunia) 6-7 weeks after childbirth and up to 30% report it at 6 months postpartum. There’s actually no difference in the overall prevalence rates between vaginal births and cesarean births, so it can happen to anyone.
July 9, 2019
Welcome to the world of breast pumping. It can be a little intimidating to get started using this piece of equipment that you may have never even seen before, let alone operated. While there are many fantastic resources on things like how to store breastmilk, how to maintain your milk supply when pumping, and how to sanitize pump parts, there is not a whole lot of guidance around the logistics of getting started. So that’s what we’ll tackle here.
July 2, 2019
Weaning. It can be bittersweet for some moms and an absolute relief for others. For me, it was a relief. I tallied 15 plugged ducts over the course of 12 months of breastfeeding. I was thrilled to be done. For others, it can be a sad experience as you lose that bonding time with your child. And for some, it’s not a choice at all - whether you’re going back to work, your supply runs out or, it hurts to even type it, you lose your child.
June 25, 2019
A common occurrence after a baby is born is that the mother forgets about herself and pours her entire heart and soul into taking care of her new tiny joy. But you are still important! And taking care of yourself can impact your recovery, your mental health, and your child. Give yourself the gift of health, starting with a healthy diet.
June 18, 2019
You know you need to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but you just. can’t. sleep. No matter how exhausted and brain-dead you are, sleep just won’t come. It’s a common story among new parents, but it’s not something you have to live with, at least long term. Postpartum insomnia can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue, and resolving it can have a lot of benefits, like a stronger immune system, an easier time losing the baby weight, and a lower risk of postpartum depression and other PMADs.
June 11, 2019
After pregnancy, I was so looking forward to getting back to my favorite foods and carefree ways. However, the concern over what is safe during pregnancy was quickly replaced by another concern, what is safe for breastfeeding.
June 4, 2019
Most of the advice on recovering from childbirth assumes an “average” birth, which can be frustrating for everyone whose experience doesn’t match this standard (which is most people, btw). A common “complication” of birth is tearing, so we’re going to talk about how a perineal tear or episiotomy might affect your recovery.
May 27, 2019
One of the problems we’re trying to fix at MamaMend is that so much of the advice and info about the postpartum period is generic and aimed at the “average” mom. This is particularly true when talking about the first month or two and recovering from delivery. Even though roughly a third of births in the US are cesarean births (aka c-sections), a lot of the information out there doesn’t account for it. So today, we’re going to talk about what to expect when recovering from a c-section, and how that might be different from a vaginal birth.
May 21, 2019
Sleepless nights, always worrying about how your baby is doing, and feeling like you just can’t relax. That all sounds normal for new parents. And it is… until it isn’t. Perinatal anxiety and panic disorders are very common, with prevalence estimates as high as 20% for postpartum anxiety.
May 14, 2019
Still feeling like you just had the baby? If you’re not quite ready for another yet, you have some options to consider for how to prevent that from happening.
May 7, 2019
Mummy tummy. Sure, it’s a cute name, but when it happens to you, it doesn’t feel very cute. We’re talking about the postpartum pooch, when your stomach sticks out farther than it used it before pregnancy. You might look 4-5 months pregnant for months, or even years, after giving birth (it’s so fun being asked “when are you due” around 6 months postpartum).
April 30, 2019
Swelling in legs, ankles, and feet is very common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester and in the summertime. After you give birth, sometimes that swelling takes a while to go down. So when is it cause for concern? And what can you do to help bring the swelling down?
April 23, 2019
One very common experience after pregnancy is dry, itchy skin. Sometimes, it’s a symptom of an underlying medical issue. But usually, it’s just super annoying, and unfortunately a lot of the advice is just “drink more water and use moisturizer.” So how do you know if it’s normal or not?
April 16, 2019
There are a ton of factors that might go into this decision, including logistics, emotional readiness, your own experiences, and more. All of these considerations need to be taken into account, which means that the best time to get pregnant again might differ from person to person. However, medically speaking, there is a generally recommended time to wait between pregnancies.
April 7, 2019
Plugged ducts. Clogged ducts. Blocked milk ducts. Whatever you want to call them, they’re awful. Comedian Ali Wong has equated them to being like “a kidney stone in your titty.”
April 2, 2019
There comes a point when every breastfeeding mom stops breastfeeding, or weans the baby off the breast. Sometimes the choice is made for you and sometimes you’re just ready.
March 26, 2019
Goodbye, beautiful pregnancy hair! It’s no coincidence that a lot of new moms decide to cut their hair short after having kids. You don’t have to worry about babies pulling it, it’s quick and easy, and it looks great! But there’s one additional benefit of shorter hair that might not be obvious. It also hides postpartum hair loss.
March 19, 2019
The first time I heard the name “PMADs” was in a training program through Postpartum Support International (would highly recommend for any professionals that work with new moms) last September. I knew about postpartum depression from all the books and apps and classes that I could find when I was pregnant with my first kiddo. I learned about postpartum anxiety after my second was born, just over 2 years later. But it wasn’t until the PSI class, that I learned that there was a whole family of disorders that affect new mothers (and fathers) and a new name to describe them.
March 12, 2019
Thanks to Serena Williams sharing her shocking near-death experience after giving birth, a spotlight is starting to shine on the rising maternal mortality in the US and the top causes of maternal death, including pulmonary embolisms like hers. So what is a pulmonary embolism? It’s when there’s a blood clot in the lungs that arises from the calves or pelvic blood vessels and travels to the lung. Scary, right? No wonder it’s the leading cause of maternal death in the UK & Norway, and one of the top causes in the US and Australia.
March 5, 2019
You know how there are a bunch of random conditions that come up during pregnancy and postpartum that no one talks about? I personally did not crave pickles once during either pregnancy, but how come no one warned me about the nosebleeds? Well, today we’re going to talk about another one of those random things that can happen after having a baby. It’s called De Quervain's tenosynovitis and not-so-lovingly referred to as "mommy thumb" or "baby wrist."
February 26, 2019
February is Hypothyroidism Awareness Month (probably better known for being Black History Month, but don't forget about Adopt-a-Rescued-Rabbit Month and National Grapefruit Month), so we'll take this opportunity to talk about your thyroid. Your thyroid is the small gland in the base of your neck that produces thyroid hormones known as T3 and T4. These hormones help control your metabolism. Why is this relevant to new moms? We’ll get there, stay with me.
February 19, 2019
I had never heard of a pelvic floor before pregnancy. Luckily I went to a prenatal yoga class during my first pregnancy in order to make some mom friends and discovered the term. I didn’t know why it was important or what pelvic floor injuries were, but at least I had some vague idea of what it was.
February 12, 2019
You hear the word "postpartum" all the time during pregnancy and after you have a baby. But doesn’t it seem like it means something different to everyone? Some people use it as a nickname for postpartum depression (as in “I know someone who has postpartum”), but that’s pretty confusing since postpartum has its own meaning.
September 5, 2018
Three and a half years ago, I became a mother. I thought I was as prepared as I could be (expect the unexpected and all that), but I had no idea how much I didn’t know. During my pregnancy, I read all the books, downloaded all the apps, and always knew exactly what fruit my baby was the size of each week. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea if I would actually be able to or not. I knew that postpartum depression was common and treatable, but I didn’t really know what were the warning signs.