What are the Best Sources of Postpartum Support?

Amanda Piontek

Although giving birth can be an exhilarating time in a woman's life, it can also result in challenging or unexpected changes. Physical, emotional, and psychological difficulties are common after having a baby. Postpartum support for both the body and the emotions is an important part of recovery, and can take on a variety of forms. Diet, exercise, and a technique known as belly binding, where the body is firmly bound in a stretchy wrap, can provide physical reinforcement for weak abdominal muscles, and strengthen the postpartum body. Assistance from friends and family, support groups, and even medications, can all provide emotional support for a new mother during the postpartum period.

A woman with a toned belly.
A woman with a toned belly.

The changes in a woman's body during pregnancy, labor, and delivery are both radical and exhausting. A person who has just given birth is often eager to return to her pre-pregnancy shape and size. A postpartum binder is a wide, stretchy belt of fabric that a woman wraps around her abdominal area after giving birth. The binder improves comfort through providing postpartum support to the trunk of the body, and can slim the loose, stretched skin of the belly that remains after the birth. Supporters of postpartum belly binding claim that it can reduce back pain, improve posture, and restore the original shape and position of muscles and skin.

Caring for a newborn can be hard on a new mother.
Caring for a newborn can be hard on a new mother.

Assistance with physical changes is not the only type of postpartum support that a woman might require after the birth of her baby. Hormone fluctuations are normal following labor and delivery, and can leave a new mother feeling anxious and irritable. Sometimes, emotional struggles are severe and indicate postpartum depression. A woman suffering from this common occurrence should look to her health care provider for support. Counseling and medications are often recommended to assist a mother suffering from postpartum depression.

Caring for a newborn can be hard on a new mother. Sleep deprivation and fatigue often make day-to-day life difficult, and the constant demands of a baby can be very overwhelming. A woman might struggle to find a balance between caring for her baby and caring for herself. For this reason, it is ideal for mothers to receive as much postpartum support as possible from their partners, family, and friends. Assistance with running the household and caring for the baby or other children in the home are all valuable forms of postpartum support during the transitional newborn period.

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