What is the difference between Maternity vrs Postpartum period? By definition, Maternity includes the period during pregnancy and for a short period after birth. Post partum period is the time directly after birth and extending for up to 6 weeks. There is a slight difference in definition, but they do include an overlap. This "postnatal period" we think is so important, but we aren't the only ones:
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the postnatal period as the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies; most deaths occur during the postnatal period. It is the time after birth, a time in which the mother's body, including hormone levels and uterus size, returns to a non-pregnant state.
After birth, the newborn must begin to adjust to life outside the womb, entering our air-breathing world. The transition from outside the uterus to life as we know it, can be very stressful for babies. Imagine your life totally changing after 9 months, from one day to another? Wouldn't you be stressed? I know I would!
A great way to decrease this stressful period and help baby transition calmly into our world, is by keeping your baby "attached". I say attached, because for 9 months they were, now outside the womb, they still can be as close as physically possible, skin to skin. For the next 6 weeks after birth, keeping your baby as much in skin to skin as possible, has dramatic positive effects.
For benefits of warmth, comfort, love, smell, skin to skin contact goes above any machinery in mimicking what only a parent can provide. Contact, protection, strength, calm.
There is so much focus out there on pregnancy, and we couldn't agree more that Mom taking care of herself and her baby inside her growing belly is so important. So much focus on birth, what type did you have, did you get an epidural, did you do a water birth, and we again, couldn't agree more that the process of birth and labor are so intense and bringing a little human into this world is no joke.
But what about postpartum? What about the short period after pregnancy that is also defined in Maternity? A time that is commonly linked with postpartum depression, a time when not only baby's world gets turned upside down, but also when mom and dad's does too! A time when time itself commonly rushes us to adjust to this new world. Talk already of "when do you go back to work?", or "what daycare will your baby go into?", we strongly feel should all wait.
In Europe, the postpartum period is also known as the "Lying-In" period. It's a time when Mom does just that, resting in bed. This time does not suggest getting up (getting up out of bed) for at least 9 days or even up to 20. Traditionally friends and family come to visit, and share congratulations to the new parents.
In East Asia, the postpartum period is known as the "Sitting Month" or Postpartum Confinement". This time includes prescription to specific foods and avoiding activities that may be harmful. By custom, special foods are giving that promote healing of perineum, contraction of the uterus, and promote lactation. In Thailand, massage is also given with herbs as a treatment in traditional postpartum healing.
In India, a special diet is provided that helps promote lactation and increase hemoglobin production. During this time, sex is not allowed. Household chores are exempted.
Moms, what did you during your postpartum period? What would you do differently if you could do it all again? If you are a new mom, don't feel rushed! Take your time to recuperate. Use your maternity leave wisely! Get help! Rest with baby in skin to skin and reap the benefits long term and know you made the right choice for your baby's future.