Pregnancy is a natural function of a woman’s body, as is childbirth. In full-term and low-risk pregnancies, the female body determines when the baby-in-utero is ready to support its own life systems and thus the baby is expelled or birthed, leaving behind a complete, supportive, ecosystem.
This ecosystem has been developing since conception reaching maturity at 12-weeks and continuing to function for the next 32 weeks with the primary purpose of supporting the growing life that resides inside it.
The Maternal Ecosystem Pre-Birth
The female anatomy takes over, or goes on autopilot, in supporting the ecosystem and growing baby in some of the following ways:
- The internal basal body temperature rises .5-1.50F as the body serves as an incubator for the growing baby.
- Gains body mass, fat to support the increase of body mass to be used later as stored energy for breastfeeding and other bodily functions.
- Increases body fluids and blood by 50% as more blood vessels grow in the placenta and blood flow to the heart slows with the increasing pressure from the uterus.
- Organs shift over time to adapt to a growing baby.
- Hormone levels increase to prepare for birth and breastfeeding.
- Bones and joints become flexible with the creation of the relaxin hormone. The spinal cord realigns to maintain balance.
- Maternal respiration increases as more oxygen is needed for maternal organ consumption needed for the uterus, placenta, and baby.
The health of the ecosystem is supported by the mother through consuming prenatal vitamins and nourishing foods, avoiding caffeine and bad foods, getting adequate rest and a host of other self-care actives.
A mother tends not to realize that she has been nurturing “herself”, or nurturing the best ecosystem she can create so that adequate nourishment, oxygen, water, antibodies and so on may easily flow to her growing baby.
When the ecosystem is no longer needed
Within hours of the body birthing the life it held inside, and the placenta, the body begins its transition back to a non-pregnant state. Just as the ecosystem was lovingly created by the female body it carefully begins to disassemble the system it no longer needs to support a growing life. This undoing happens at a much faster rate of only six weeks, as compared to the 12-weeks of development and 10-months of functioning.
Post-Birth: Phase I – 0 to 6 weeks
Pregnancy is roughly 280 days. Within the first 0-6 weeks or Phase I of the transitioning process, 90% of the shrinkage of the perineum organs and ideally 80-85% of the hormonal rebalancing takes place. This is only 15% of the time a woman spends pregnant. This indicates there is an intense, frenzied healing process that takes place during this period. It should be noted that birth is a trauma to the body, but it is a “natural trauma“ which is why the female body is able to recover so quickly.
Most new mothers do not realize the magnitude of Phase I and the amount of healing and repair that takes place automatically, without her being aware of what is going on other than evidence of increased urination and possibly perspiration.
Proof of Phase I – Intense Healing Process
Every woman sheds her pregnancy weight at their own pace. It is also claimed that breastfeeding could burn as many as 500 extra calories per day. Depending on the mother’s eating habits breastfeeding may or may not have an impact on weight loss.
During childbirth, 10-12 lbs may be lost due to the baby, placenta, and fluids being pushed out which is a healthy start. The average weight loss is another 10-20 lbs of fluid and fat by Weeks 3-4 post-birth. The two charts below illustrate the intense healing process that goes on directly after childbirth. The Mayo Clinic Diet is designed to jump-start your weight loss and help you lose weight in a safe and healthy way.