With Maranda Bower - Postpartum University®
The narrative of postpartum is changing. One of the individuals who are at the forefront of this change is Maranda Bower, creator of Postpartum University. After experiencing her own postpartum troubles, she moved deeply into helping other new mothers overcome and even avoid common postpartum recovery issues by teaching new mothers and empowering practitioners with the knowledge of what to do to support these mothers through this sensitive and unique time. She has extensively researched the hows and the whys of many of the problems and symptoms that arise in postpartum, like hair loss, mood swings, etc., and has revealed that they are mostly avoidable with the right practices. We have asked Maranda a few questions below:
Most mamas go into their pregnancy thinking that the postpartum phase will last six weeks and then everything will be like it was before pregnancy. In your research, other than a follow-up pregnancy or initiation of menopause, when is a woman really out of that recovery stage of postpartum (knowing that this time is completely individual and depends on many factors)?
What a good question. There is a lot of growing research out there, and from what we are gathering, plus from what we know as postpartum women, this period of time lasts several years. It's not just about the uterus going back to its pre-pregnancy size. It takes, on average, 6-9 months for your joints and ligaments to return back to where they once were. Hormones can take years to level out. Nutrients take years to restore. This does not even include the emotional recovery or getting back to feeling like yourself again. Creating life is no small feat, and it has an understandably long healing process.
What are the five key considerations for a healthy postpartum recovery?
There are five major components of a healthy postpartum recovery, which include finding the right support team, nutrition repletion, getting enough sleep, nervous system support, and following the rhythms of your body. If one of these is off balance, it can cause a major problem in healing in the years after birth.
Why is a postpartum recovery plan important?
If we look at the statistics for postpartum depression, anxiety, and even postpartum autoimmune disorders, we know that a mother has a really high chance of experiencing some big challenges (1-3 women, to be clear). No one really tells you how to heal in the years after birth. So much focus is on the birth itself, which is incredibly important. But there is a whole life after birth, and if you don't have a recovery plan to care for yourself, it can quickly become overwhelming, difficult, and very unhealthy. What is nutritional depletion in postpartum?
Nutrient depletion is one of my favorite postpartum topics! So few know the significance of nutrition in these sensitive months and years after having a baby. Nearly 80% of women enter postpartum deficient in key nutrients. Many of those nutrients are responsible for hormone regulation, better sleep, tissue repair, and so much more. As a matter of fact, science shows us that many nutrient deficiencies mimic postpartum depression symptoms and are also linked to thyroid disorders and other autoimmune issues. What foods should be avoided in early postpartum and why?
Salads and smoothies are some of the worst foods to eat in postpartum. It sounds so counter-intuitive, but we have to take into consideration how a mama's body changes physiologically after birth. Not only do we need nutrient-dense foods, but we also need these foods in a way that's easy to digest. You want foods that don't take a lot of energy to digest or break down. Many women experience gas, bloating, and constipation in the week and months after birth because their meals take too long to digest.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think it's so important to know that no matter where you are in your postpartum journey, it's never too late to heal. If you have symptoms (major hair loss, upset stomach, mood swings, depression/anxiety, autoimmune symptoms, etc.) that have come up for you since the birth of your baby, know that 1. you aren't alone and 2. it isn't your fault. Really, our society has done very little to care for mothers. We're left to forge through to our own health and healing. And that's no small feat. You deserve care and support to heal. It's not only possible to recover and feel better in motherhood; it's your right. You just have to make the first move.
Where can people learn more about your work?
You can find us on our website, where you can get connected to our podcast or our social media. www.PostpartumU.com
Maranda Bower is the CEO and founder of Postpartum University®, supporting both mothers and professionals in health and whole-body healing.
She is a renowned expert and top educator in the fields of functional nutrition and coaching in relation to postpartum and is nicknamed the “Womb Whisperer.” Maranda is a best-selling author, international speaker, and has appeared in 50+ publications. Her latest book is Reclaiming Postpartum Wellness.
After the birth of Maranda’s first child, she experienced extreme postpartum depression and anxiety. Her story includes becoming a jobless single mother afraid to lose her son because of her debilitating mental health. During her recovery process, she recognized the lost art of postpartum wellness and made it her mission to support other women and families out of the depths of postpartum mental health challenges.