Postpartum Recovery After A Surrogate Pregnancy

Postpartum Recovery After A Surrogate Pregnancy

What is postpartum?

Postpartum refers to the period after childbirth. During this time, a lot of new moms experience feelings of sadness, emptiness, and depression (otherwise known as baby blues). Fortunately, most of these feelings naturally disappear within 3 to 5 days. However, if the mother is struggling to cope with such feelings, it’s recommended to consult a psychologist to speed up postpartum recovery.

Do Surrogate Mothers also experience postpartum?

Of course, yes. For a Surrogate, these negative feelings usually come with other emotions, like excitement, fulfillment, and joy of being able to gift hopeful parents the child they so much desire.

Although a Surrogate pregnancy may feel just like a personal pregnancy, the similarity ends once the Surrogate mom delivers the baby. In personal pregnancy, the birth mother may be busy bonding with and taking care of her new baby (and possibly other children at her home). She is probably tired from changing diapers and waking up now and then to feed the newborn.

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Surrogate Mother & postpartum depression

Whether it is a woman pregnant with her own child or a Surrogate carrying a pregnancy for another family, the actual causes of postpartum depression are basically the same: Hormones.  Hormones are chemical messengers that perform important roles in pregnancy and childbirth. They play a significant role in postpartum depression since the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and estrogen quickly decrease within 48 hours following birth.

While the surrogacy experts address several psychological issues during the Surrogate screening, there is no test to determine issues concerning postpartum depression, which may be made worse by the surrogacy arrangement.

Although a Surrogate Mother may not bother about feeling detached from the child, she may feel lonely for her Intended Parents. This is usually due to the kind of relationship both parties maintained during the whole pregnancy period. It is important to know that the relationship between Intended Parents and their Surrogates is more than exchanging phone calls and emails. Both parties may have built a close relationship and shared personal information and intimate experiences over the course of the surrogacy.

Risk factors of postpartum depression

Although all new mothers are at risk of postpartum depression, there are some factors that can increase your chances of developing the condition. These include:

  • Psychosocial stress
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Lack of social support
  • A history of major depression

Note: If the Surrogate has previously suffered bouts of depression, she may not be qualified to carry another person’s baby in the first place.

Around 10 to 20% of women experience postpartum depression, usually within a couple of months after childbirth.

Symptoms of postpartum depression

The symptoms and signs of baby blues can vary from person to person, and they may range from mild to very severe. The common ones include:

  • Tearfulness
  • Unhappy mode
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tiredness
  • Appetite issues
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling of rejection or inadequacy
  • Inability to enjoy fun activities

Postpartum depression can also lower a woman’s ability to take care of her herself or her baby.

Postpartum recovery

A great way to recover after childbirth is to avoid being alone by surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends and finding time to speak with past Surrogates about how they handled the situation. If a Surrogate suffers from postpartum depression for more than two weeks, she needs to see her doctor or healthcare giver. They can suggest treatments and drugs to help her with postpartum recovery and offer valuable information on managing her condition.

How can a Surrogate Mother recover from postpartum?

1. Look for your “own people

Make contact with other Surrogates – whether through online forums or your agency’s social media groups – to discuss your feelings and read others’ stories. Postpartum can be a very difficult and emotional time for a new mother. These people have been in your situation, and at times, it helps to speak and laugh with someone who knows exactly what you are passing through.

2. Purchase accessories that can help you recover

Your body has been through a lot of stress during your pregnancy. It is time you allow yourself to heal. Below are a few items that can help you feel better:

Bellybands

Following childbirth, many women continue to experience pain and pressure due to the shrinking of the uterus and stomach or trapping of gas in the female genital tract (especially if a cesarean operation is performed). Belly bands can help relieve gas pains and make the uterus shrink up more quickly.

Donut pillow

Perineal pain and hemorrhoids are common side effects of giving birth. They make it difficult for new mothers to comfortably walk, sit, lay down, etc. Aside from helping with your posture, sitting on a donut pillow will also prevent the pressure that may be caused by a couch, chair seat, or bed.

Sitz bath

This bath is taken in shallow, lukewarm water to relieve discomfort or pain in the vaginal area due to childbirth.

3. Keep things “moving”

As your body heals and returns to its normal state, it is crucial to do everything possible to promote your body health.

Hydrate!

Take plenty of water. Remaining hydrated will not only prevent dehydration and fatigue; it will also enable you to keep things “moving” and help get rid of harmful substances (toxins).

Stool softeners

Having a bowel movement post-delivery is frightening! No matter whether you had a cesarean or vaginal birth, there is usually a fear of pushing or pressure. Stool softeners can make bowel movement easier and help you overcome your fears.

Probiotics

A lot of women will experience abdominal pains after an invasive procedure or surgery. This may be caused by the procedure itself or by gas that gets trapped during the surgical operation. The recommended solutions for this are gas relief products and probiotics.

Although a Surrogate might be using antibiotics after a C-section to protect against infections, it is important to note that antibiotics can cause a stomach upset.  Probiotics will relieve gas pains and ease stomach discomfort.

4. Cesarean Recovery

If you wind up having a C-section birth, you will encounter some extra challenges while recovering from your surgery. Due to loss of blood, you may experience some tiredness post-delivery. The area surrounding your belly incision (cut) may be sore, too.

Your physician will give you all the necessary information regarding taking pain medication, which may provide temporary relief. However, you need to go easy with physical activity.

Ask for assistance around the house. Besides the fact that you just gave birth, you also underwent a major surgery. It will take a while before you can gain back your strength and energy.

If you have had a C-section delivery, it is important to consult your physician about when you can resume physical activity. A cesarean birth is not the same as a vagina one. So, the timeline for recovery and beginning physical activity may differ.

5. Treat scars

A c-section scar is usually located beneath the bikini line, so it cannot be easily seen. However, there are products you can use to treat your scars, such as like Mederma or special products like ScarAway’s C-section Scar Sheets.

How can nutrition help with postpartum recovery?

Nutrition is as important during surrogate pregnancy as they are for postpartum recovery.

Deficiency in certain nutrients can raise your risk of having postpartum depression or other mood disorders after birth. Pregnancy and lactation can cause a lack of these important nutrients in a woman’s body as a developing baby may obtain nutrients from the mother’s stores if she does not get enough amounts from food.

The important nutrients that have been associated with postpartum depression are

  • Vitamin D
  • Essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA)
  • B vitamins (B12, B9, B6) and
  • Minerals, such as iron, zinc, and selenium. 

Diets rich in legumes (black beans, lentils), seafood (sardines, salmon), and animal proteins (eggs, beef, and chicken) contain a high amount of these nutrients and should be eaten every day when pregnant and after childbirth.

Physician’s Surrogacy has registered OBYNs on the team who will help make sure you are receiving adequate amounts of these nutrients to fulfill the growing baby’s needs during your surrogacy pregnancy. Our medical experts will also help you learn what diet or nutrition your body requires after giving birth. Focusing on these key nutrients during your early postpartum period will ensure faster postpartum recovery and help you feel normal again!

For any questions about surrogate pregnancy and postpartum recovery, feel free to get in touch through chat.

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate, fill out the form to check whether you qualify for our program.

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