Thalia: Dealing with Discomforts
Latin superstar and multi-platinum recording artist Thalia has created an amazing resource for moms-to-be with her brand new book on parenting, Radiante, available just in time for Mother’s Day, May 12. Thalia's most cherished role is that of mom to her 18 month-old daughter Sabrina - who was the inspiration for the book. Written with her obstetrician, Dr. Andrew R. Kramer, Thalia inspires women to embrace the beauty and empowerment of pregnancy while sharing essential health & wellness tips, nutrition facts, delicious recipes, fashion do's & don'ts and more. Read on for a sneak peek and special excerpt of Radiante!
Excerpted with permission from Thalia !Radiante!: The Ultimate Guide to a Fit and Fabulous Pregnancy
Two weeks before my due date, one of my closest friends came to visit, and in her hand was a mysterious little bag. Curious, I asked her what it was. “Open it later and call me,” she replied. Inside the bag I found small, peculiar-looking squirt bottles, witch hazel pads, maxi pads large enough for the crotch of Godzilla, and a few sets of disposable hospital underwear.
When I looked inside this little bag I almost fainted, because up to that moment, all I had heard from everyone were light-hearted pep talks and pink balloons. No one talks about the real tribulations of postpartum care to a first-time mom who’s already on edge about everything else that a pregnancy entails. Our loved ones and even our closest friends protect us from the not-so-pleasantries, sparing us the details and allowing us to get there on our own. My aforementioned friend was the one who gave it to me straight; let me be the one to give it to you straight right here.
Let’s not kid ourselves: The postpartum period can be as challenging as those first few months when you were vomiting your way through the day, your body adjusting to its new cocktail of hormones and your belly slowly taking charge of your life. But the aftermath of birth brings with it an entirely new slew of physical challenges, as your organs shift back into place and the body recovers from the process of labor. Your breasts will become the two great planets around which all of life will seem to orbit, and you may feel more tired and physically drained than you could have ever imagined possible.
The truth is that it will be different for every woman, depending on what kind of birth took place: Mothers who had C-sections and episiotomies, for example, have essentially endured delicate surgeries, which require time and plenty of rest until the healing is complete. Though each mother’s process of restoration will be unique, given how complicated or straightforward her own delivery may have been, or what kind of personality your baby has, the key to getting through the postpartum time is to honor this final frontier of your pregnancy. Acknowledge that the fourth trimester is a natural and necessary part of the healing experience for both mother and baby, because the two of you went through a shock in birth. Whatever comes up, do not be afraid; you’ve been through the worst of it, and by now you are a seasoned pro in the art of endurance.
Familiarize yourself with this general list of symptoms and conditions that may arise as your body heals. This way, you’ll have fewer surprises and more time to recover.
- Abdominal pain or cramping: Not unlike mild contractions or menstrual discomfort, these pains occur as the uterus contracts back to its original size during a process known as involution, which can take anywhere from four to six weeks. Ways to avoid and sometimes treat abdominal pain include not sitting or standing with your legs crossed, drinking plenty of water, stretching your muscles regularly, and talking little walks.
- Baby blues: Not to be confused with postpartum depression (see “Gentle on the Mental,” page 178), which is a lot more serious, baby blues can kick in, lasting for a few days or a few weeks, during which you experience moodiness or even some sadness. Book yourself a day at the spa and get yourself nice and pampered, which is something that always cheers me up. Talking about your feelings with your partner, friends, or family is also therapeutic and healthy for the psyche.
- Bleeding: Heavy, bloody vaginal discharge will occur for about a month after the birth, as all of the remaining tissues and fluids are released from the uterus. The blood is bright red and typically appears as thick clots or mucus in the beginning, lightening up to brownish or yellow spotting as it subsides. Use supersize sanitary napkins or disposable underwear for the first few weeks, but do not use tampons for at least six weeks after delivery. But perhaps worse than the sight of all that raw blood is the smell it brings with it. It is a rancid, gag-worthy stench that essentially trails you for weeks after your delivery. I made sure to keep aromatic candles and oils like lavender and eucalyptus in my bathroom and in the common areas where I’d host visitors. (Note: These scents may be too strong for the baby’s room.) If you feel that bleeding has gone on too long (past a month), consult your doctor.
- Bloodshot eyes: Red eyes and/or dark circles around the eyes can result from pushing during delivery. Chilled slices of cucumber on the eyes are refreshing and help to brighten the eyes.
- Breast problems: Cracked nipples or engorgement due to breastfeeding may occur. See “Breast Intentions,” page *xx, for ways to get your girls feeling better.
- C-section scar: Women who have undergone C-sections will also have a post-op incision to contend with; after a few days it will tighten and seal. Within seven days or so, the scar should start to fade, and vitamin E can be used to further lighten the mark. Contact your doctor if you suspect an infection in the area or if the scar feels painful beneath the surface.
- Epidural side effects: Epidurals can sometimes leave some residual symptoms that include nausea, headaches, itching, leg numbness, and soreness at the site of the injection. Anesthesia can also cause constipation, which you can relieve with a stool softener, enema, or suppository. For the itching, try applying some chamomile lotion, and if the nausea gets really bad, consult with your doctor about other possible treatments.