Postpartum: Joint Health

Postpartum joint health is possibly the most under-researched aspect of motherhood. I read a quote recently by Tina Bailey that said:

“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean ‘me first’ – it means ‘me too’!”

In actual fact “you first” means everyone first, because if you break, who’s going to be there to fix them?! Motherhood burn out is real and it comes from an insidious combination of both mental and physical depletion. For me having my two children in close succession, in my late thirties and breastfeeding back to back, slowly wiped me out!

Although sharing is caring and I’m happy to divulge everything I’ve learnt through my postpartum joint health journey. I think it’s important to note that your health should always be high on your agenda. And therefore although it’s good to take on board experiences and opinions from others like me, you should always consult with your doctor first.

Breastfeeding

I’m a total breastfeeding advocate for those that can. But what is rarely discussed is the support our bodies need to sustain both our babies and our bodies. I know I for one completely underestimated the importance of hydration, or the fact that my body would always try it’s best to nourish my child, even at my own detriment! The association of long-term breastfeeding with osteoarthritis has long been known, yet rarely discussed or researched. A high number of women who breastfed for any extended amount of time go on to suffer with osteoarthritis. The greatest cause of which is not the breastfeeding itself but the lack of care and education given. In particular to new mothers, breastfeeding for the first time. Because in short you simply can not sip from an empty cup!

What I’ve Found

Before I begin discussing what I’ve tried. To be transparent I just want to disclose that as is the nature of the job I do, I often receive products to try and honestly review. Some of the products mentioned in this article were gifted. However, this is not a paid ad and all opinions listed are my own. I’ve used an asterisk * against any product I’ve received for free.

I knew I couldn’t be the only one suffering with joint pain. However, I was shocked at just how many women (in a recent Instagram poll) were silently suffering with extreme joint pain! I’m lucky with the work that I do in that I get to try and test lots of different products. I’m going to use this article to outline what I’ve used so far and how helpful I’ve found it.

Collagen*

Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix found in the body’s various connective tissues. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content.”

-Wikipedia

I hate to say it but over the last year I’ve totally influenced by the likes of Khloe Kardashian who have raved about the benefits of collagen. Now I don’t have her budget but when Reverse Life got in touch to offer me a free one months sample of their marine collagen drink, I was definitely excited to give it ago.

My verdict? I definitely don’t think it’s hurt and it was very easy to add into my morning routine. I really noticed a difference in my postpartum hair and my skin was much better whilst taking the collagen. But I couldn’t say either way if the collagen improved my joint function. However, although my flare ups continued they did occur less often. What should be noted is that this product is not recommended for use by those breastfeeding. If you’re interested in using collagen to aid your postpartum joint health, suggest it to your health care professional to see what they advise.

CBD*

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization.”

-Harvard Health

I think like most people my ears had always been pricked by the idea of using CBD oils. But lack of knowledge always left me feeling too nervous to try it. That’s why it was quite a relief when Kekalke CBD approached me to try some of their products.

Kekalke

In the care package I received were tea bags, gummies and oil. The teas were fine but just seemed like regular herbal tea. They were relaxing but not really anything out of this world! I don’t know what I was expecting to be honest. However, the gummies and oil were a very different story.

The gummies really helped me to relax. They didn’t take away the pain but they helped me calm down enough to be able to sleep once I’d taken some pain medication. The ultimate winner though was the oil.

Again it wasn’t a pain reliever, but it one hundred percent helped to take the edge off and reduce the sore fuzz of inflammation I get hen my joints flare up. It was easy to apply and compact enough to keep on me at all times. Which for me was perfect as even with pain killers I normally can’t get rid of my joint pain when it’s at it’s worst. The repercussion of this normally being that I also can’t sleep, which creates a negative spiral. The oil meant the total pain was dulled enough for me to sleep.

Glucosamine

“Glucosamine is a natural sugar that exists in the fluid around the joints, as well as in animal bones, bone marrow, shellfish, and fungi. The glucosamine in supplements usually comes from the shells of shellfish, though there is also a synthetic form. However, experts have questioned whether glucosamine supplements are useful, citing a lack of scientific evidence.”

-Medical News Today

I take glucosamine from seven seas and have done regularly since having P. If I’m honest it’s the only thing thats seems to make an instant, obvious difference.

Sleep

The number one must have for anyone with joint issues and the number one lacking resource for new mums. Sleep is vital in keeping your joints healthy and helping them to replenish. Prioritising sleep no matter how difficult will have a far greater influence on how well and fast your joints bounce back after childbirth and pregnancy.

Hydration

Like sleep drinking water is hugely important for every one but especially those with poor postpartum joint health. Forget sleep when they sleep, because we all know that’s nigh on impossible. But while you’re running yourself ragged taking care of everyone make sure to drink when they drink. The best habit change I have made has been to take a pint of water to bed with me. I also keep a flask of water on my desk and task myself with at least finishing it once! You can always drink more water.

What ever you do next make sure you lead your life with kindness, towards yourself!

Take it easy,

Berrit x

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