The Magnificent Maternal Ecosystem – Pre and Post-Birth
This ecosystem has been developing since conception reaching maturity at 12-weeks and continuing to function for the next 32 weeks with the primary purpose of supporting the growing life that resides inside it.
The female anatomy takes over, or goes on autopilot, in supporting the ecosystem and growing baby in some of the following ways:
- The internal basal body temperature rises .5-1.50F as the body serves as an incubator for the growing baby.
- Gains body mass, fat to support the increase of body mass to be used later as stored energy for breastfeeding and other bodily functions.
- Increases body fluids and blood by 50% as more blood vessels grow in the placenta and blood flow to the heart slows with the increasing pressure from the uterus.
- Organs shift over time to adapt to a growing baby.
- Hormone levels increase to prepare for birth and breastfeeding.
- Bones and joints become flexible with the creation of the relaxin hormone. The spinal cord realigns to maintain balance.
- Maternal respiration increases as more oxygen is needed for maternal organ consumption needed for the uterus, placenta, and baby.
The health of the ecosystem is supported by the mother through consuming prenatal vitamins and nourishing foods, avoiding caffeine and bad foods, getting adequate rest and a host of other self-care actives.
A mother tends not to realize that she has been nurturing “herself”, or nurturing the best ecosystem she can create so that adequate nourishment, oxygen, water, antibodies and so on may easily flow to her growing baby.
Within hours of the body birthing the life it held inside, and the placenta, the body begins its transition back to a non-pregnant state. Just as the ecosystem was lovingly created by the female body it carefully begins to disassemble the system it no longer needs to support a growing life. This undoing happens at a much faster rate of only six weeks, as compared to the 12-weeks of development and 10-months of functioning.
Pregnancy is roughly 280 days. Within the first 0-6 weeks or Phase I of the transitioning process, 90% of the shrinkage of the perineum organs and ideally 80-85% of the hormonal rebalancing takes place. This is only 15% of the time a woman spends pregnant. This indicates there is an intense, frenzied healing process that takes place during this period. It should be noted that birth is a trauma to the body, but it is a “natural trauma“ which is why the female body is able to recover so quickly.
Most new mothers do not realize the magnitude of Phase I and the amount of healing and repairing that takes place automatically, without her being aware of what is going on other than evidence of increased urination and possibly perspiration.
Every woman sheds her pregnancy weight at their own pace. It is also claimed that breastfeeding could burn as many as 500 extra calories per day. Depending on the mother’s eating habits breastfeeding may or may not have an impact on weight loss.
During childbirth, 10-12 lbs may be lost due to the baby, placenta, and fluids being pushed out which is a healthy start. The average weight loss is another 10-20 lbs of fluid and fat by Weeks 3-4 post-birth. The two charts below illustrate the intense healing process that goes on directly after childbirth.
Chart 1 exhibits safe weight loss recommended by leading health organizations such as the Mayo Clinic of 1-2 pounds per week when not pregnant.
Chart 1: Average Recommended Weight Loss
Chart 2 illustrates how a post-baby body burns fat at 7x times higher than the normal rate as it’s furiously getting rid of leftover, pregnancy fat and fluid that is no longer needed to support a baby-in-utero. Please note that this is a naturally occurring process of the body without engaging in any form of exercise.
Chart 2: Average Weight Loss by Week 2-3 After Childbirth
*A post-baby body is burning fat 7x higher than usual during the first 2-4 four weeks after delivery.
Childbirth is a natural event but it is also a trauma to the woman’s body; a natural trauma which is why during Phase I – 0 to 6 weeks 85% of the internal healing takes occurs.
Women in many countries harness this Phase I “shedding process” sustaining by actively managing their post-baby recovery consisting of a post-maternity nutritional diet, activities and personal care. This results in good energy levels, more stable re-balancing of hormone level and strong physical recovery. When your body is healthy, you are healthy and able to take care of your baby the best that you can.
Did I mention this all happens BEFORE the six-week medical checkup? This means that you can get a huge jump on your recovery and place yourself well on the road to a sound recovery, even before you see your doctor. There is a great deal new mother can do to gently heal that has a tremendous impact on her healing process within the first six weeks.
To contact Valerie please visit Post-Pregnancy Wellness. You may learn more her Mommy Plan Program and Workshop for pregnant moms.
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Nutritionist, Mother, Wellness Advocate and Founder of OrganicHealthNow.com
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