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Postpartum Care by Tovia Safford

Most intact cultures acknowledge postpartum as a vulnerable time. Special, traditional, nourishing customs are practiced to ensure a full recovery. In India, for example ,there is an ancient, intact, detailed medical text which provides us with a great knowledge of what actually happens in the body of a new mother and numerous, simple ways to avoid the imbalances, that our western culture consider normal problems. Ayurveda explains that when the fetus is in the womb the earth and water element (Kapha) dominates. Yet, immediately after birth, the womb instantly fills with air and ether (Vata). If the air is not moved out of the body, during the 42 days following, then it moves deeper into the bodies tissues. The symptoms of a Vata imbalance is poor digestion, which can create indigestible milk, which then creates colic. Erratic sleeping patterns, feeling ungrounded, anxiety and difficult hormonal flux which usually manifests as depression. It is interesting to note that in cultures with postpartum care there is no“ postpartum depression” Western culture encourages women to “just bounce back quickly” and continue to go on as if nothing has changed. This is cause for many imbalances physically, emotionally and mentally which can radically effect the wellness of the whole family. Most of us live far from family and would have to rely on their very busy community. It can be difficult to feel comfortable reaching out for help. However, remember you are giving the community the beautiful opportunity to be supportive and the joy shared with a newborn.

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