Maternal Health and the Postpartum Period


Put “postpartum” into google, and the top search results that pop up are all about depression.  Did you know that the postpartum period is actually a crucial developmental window (for parents, not just the baby) that sets a precedent for a woman’s long term health as well as her experience of motherhood?  Our Toronto naturopaths help women prepare for, and thrive during, the postpartum period.

Did you know:

– The postpartum period is a vital, sensitive and challenging time for ALL new mothers.

-A mother is born when a baby is born? The term “matrescence” likens this time with adolescence because it is a time of major neuroplasticity – learning and change in the brain’s neural pathways.

– Every traditional culture in the world has practices, rituals and societal structures in place to nurture and protect the postpartum period for mothers and babies alike?  These include rest, support, specific nourishing food to support mother and baby’s health as well as breastfeeding, warmth, belly binding, and bodywork.  And that when women in these cultures benefit from these for the first few months after having a baby, there is a much lower incidence of depression.

– Postpartum anxiety is actually more common than depression?

– The peak incidence of postpartum depression is when a mother’s oldest child is four? This speaks to the cumulative challenges of motherhood and emphasizes the importance of a more broad definition of what postpartum is.

-Once a woman is postpartum, she is always postpartum.  Her body doesn’t go back to the way it was, it moves forward.  The same applies to her life.

Other factors that affect postpartum mental and physical health are experiences with fertility and pregnancy, labour and birth, nutrition and hormone balance in the months following baby’s arrival.  While in our culture we focus on and celebrate birth and babies, mothers’ health is often forgotten when she’s no longer pregnant.  In this series of blogs we’ll talk about key aspects of planning for a healthy and balanced postpartum, and the ways our Toronto naturopath, Dr. Julia Segal, can help.

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