The rigours of pregnancy, let alone labour and delivery, can take a significant toll on your body! Add to that the stress of caring for a newborn and the lack of sleep, it’s not surprising that the majority of women experience fatigue and exhaustion during the postpartum period.
90% of women who give birth vaginally report significant post-partum fatigue and as many as 11% continue to experience fatigue even into the third month postpartum.
While postpartum fatigue is definitely common and most certainly NOT a reflection of your capabilities as a mother, it also doesn’t have to be normalized or accepted.
Keep reading to learn about the significant underlying causes of postpartum fatigue and how to manage them!
Pregnancy, labour & delivery & caring for a newborn are definitely enough to contribute to some fatigue postpartum, but there are a few things that could be taking it to the extreme for you!
Postpartum depletion an often overlooked condition that contributes in a big way to fatigue. This is when. your body remains severely depleted of essential vitamins and nutrients due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. In particular, a mother’s iron, zinc, vitamins B9 and B12, iodine, amino acids, selenium and omega-3 fat reserves are tapped for the baby. It can be helpful to test for these deficiencies and fine tune your diet & supplement regime to recover.
Postpartum depression may also be behind the extreme feeling of fatigue you’re living with. You are not alone, and there is so much out there that can help you. Please seek support.
Postpartum thyroiditis is an inflammatory thyroid condition that often crops up for women and can contribute to debilitating fatigue. This is something to consider testing for and getting adequate treatment from a qualified practitioner is necessary for proper recovery.
Lack of self care tends to play a huge role as well. It’s easy to forget about our own needs when we have this precious newborn to obsess over but if we forget to sit down, sleep when baby sleeps, and nourish ourselves with good food every once in a while, the fatigue will naturally grow.
We highly recommend getting some bloodwork done a couple of weeks postpartum as a checkpoint to ensure that any underlying cause can be caught and addressed so that you can ENJOY your newborn and get a little spring back in your step!
How to combat postpartum fatigue ✨💙
First and foremost, we recommend seeing your naturopathic practitioner for comprehensive testing to evaluate the areas you may need help with for full recovery. See our last post for some specifics!
In the meantime, however, here are a few things you can do NOW at home that will help you cope:
✨ Seek Rest & Comfort
Nap when baby naps. Head to bed as early as possible in the evenings. Get as comfortable as possible when feeding your baby. Use pillows or cushions to support your arms so you don’t need to spend extra energy.
✨ Enlist Help
Ask for the aid of your partner, friends, and family to take on housework, laundry, cooking, and caring for older children. Your loved ones want to help.
✨ Let the Housework Go
You don’t need to scrub the shower, mop the floors, or run the vacuum. Those things can wait or you can enlist the help of someone else.
✨ Prioritize Nutrition
Proper nutrition and hydration is essential when you’re recovering from giving birth, and especially when you’re breastfeeding. And even though it can be tempting, try to limit your caffeine intake, which can be dehydrating. Supplementation may be necessary, but speak to your naturopath to determine what is best for you at this time.
✨ Move Gently
If your midwife/doctor says it’s safe to start some light exercise, taking a short walk can help you fight fatigue. Even just a short walk with the stroller out in the fresh air can feel good… just don’t overdo it! The key is to start small and just get your body moving. Eventually, you can develop an exercise routine but in those early months, you need to remember that your body is still recovering and that it’s best to take things slow.
We’re always here to help you feel better faster so you can enjoy this special time with your wee one. You’ve got this Mama!