The viral picture that proves why mums need enough postpartum recovery time
Growing and birthing a brand new human is no small job.
Our bodies have gone through an amazing and vast journey over the past nine months (almost 10 months, to be accurate), and now, after all this, it needs time to return to normal – and that is not done by the time you leave the hospital with your new baby, mama.
Case in point: This photo making the rounds on Facebook demonstrates the wound left by the placenta after childbirth.
In the Facebook post, which has been shared more than 14,000 times since it was posted in March, Labor of Love founder Laura Fry explains this paper plate is roughly the diameter of a placenta. Throughout gestation, the placenta grows alongside the baby to facilitate nourishment and support, and is then delivered right after baby. (This is easy to forget about when you're distracted by the first look at that sweet baby.)
This leaves behind a wound roughly the size of that paper plate that needs time to ward off infection and hemorrhaging.
"Even if they have a complication-free vaginal delivery and feel okay, they will still need to take care of themselves and not overdo it for those first several weeks postpartum," says Fry, a former health professional turned stay-at-home mom and birth advocate.
Normally, we speak of postpartum as the first six weeks after delivery, and experts are now saying we really need to think of this time at the "fourth trimester" – that is how important a part this healing time is.
As Diana Spalding, midwife and birth expert, recently explained to Mother.ly: "You would never expect someone to clean their house a few days after having surgery, or to run errands when they are getting over the flu—so why do we expect ourselves to snap out of giving birth? Pregnancy and birth are not ailments, but they are the real deal. Be gentle on yourself, and allow your body to heal."
Amen. Put those feet up, mama – there is plenty of time to everything else later.