We at VitaSoul were asked to add this important topic to our list of informative articles and we thought the best person to tackle this momentous discussion was Dr Gauri Lowe. She is a medical doctor who works with women who are interested in personalising a sacred approach to women’s healthcare. She supports women in pregnancy, postpartum and general women’s wellness.
Meet Dr Gauri
My name is Dr Gauri Lowe. My journey into healing has taken many turns and twists. 16 years ago I gave birth to my first son. I was in my 3rd year at medical school and after much of my own research, I had chosen to have a home-birth with an independent midwife. My son’s birth was so empowering for me and I felt so profoundly moved by a deeply connecting experience with Mother Nature.
Although I always had an interest in natural medicine, my interest now took a further swerve towards everything in respect to natural prenatal care and conscious gentle birthing. I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to experience what I had. Having first-hand witnessed the abuse, trauma and very clinical approach to birth in the hospitals and clinics, I was soon disheartened by it all and I became passionately active in fighting for maternity rights.
The next few years I spent traveling between India and South Africa, completing my natural medical training. I had my second son and was constantly researching and learning about conscious birth. I apprenticed with a home birth midwife to unschool my obstetrics training and be able to attend home-births with the trust, patience and intuition it takes.
I also started expanding my interest and services to women’s natural healthcare. I did this through workshops, women’s circles, making herbal products for women’s health, private holistic consultations, continuing home-births and creating courses to re-frame women’s healthcare. Bringing the “Heart” back into medicine. I spent a lot of time listening to women, observing women. Especially during their respective health issues, life cycle changes, pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
My experience with women’s health, as well as my personal experience as a mother, together with all my research and studies in holistic wellness, culminated to include an inner journey to feeling radically happy, free and satisfied. I started to work more in the field of womb wisdom and I remember attending a powerful women’s retreat with the concept deeply embedded in me that womb wisdom is medicine. As soon as I started working and experiencing this concept – indeed the wisdom from the womb became my medicine.
The more I delved into the nudges from my own womb and practices I was doing to support this, the more aligned I felt with a powerful healing knowing inside me. Something that says, “Welcome Home. Here you are celebrated exactly as you are.”
Although I was interested in all aspects of women’s healthcare, my attention kept on returning to one special area – The first several months after birth and especially the first 42 days of postpartum.
I started reflecting on my postpartum and my mothering and I saw the same themes coming up again and again. I tried to fit in everything I could about preparing for postpartum during the antenatal courses, the birth preparation, and the circles I was holding. But it was never enough, I felt I could never adequately emphasise the importance of postpartum, and I watched mother’s often suffer because of the same programming I had received.
Why is Postpartum care so important?
Being pregnant and having a baby is a special time in a woman’s life. It is a time for a woman to learn how truly powerful she is. There is a lot to learn and experience, both in the months leading up to birth and thereafter. Many mother’s find themselves unprepared for postpartum emotion and stress.
Those around you will tell you about the pain at birth, that baby will have colic, and that they cry at all hours. The pregnancy magazines focus on the different nurseries you can style at home, the latest in prams and baby bottles. But they do very little preparation about caring for you during postpartum? Did you even consider that was a need? Did your doctor tell you anything more than, “See you at your 6 week follow-up appointment?” Did the nurse ask, “How are you?”, when she weighed your baby to check their 2 week milestones.
I think social media has increased the pressure and expectation around postpartum. We are now expected to be back on our feet and ready in a record breaking time. My experience with working with women during postpartum has shown me the opposite and the research and current trends are catching up fast.
The truth is that our postpartum time (at least the first 42 days after your baby is born) is one of the most important times in a woman (and her baby’s) life. It can affect and dictate your recovery, your physical health and your mental well-being for your lifetime. I will explain to you how I came to know this and why I focus on postpartum care as my service to the world. I feel our postpartum time as mothers, is the most important yet neglected time to focus, educate and re-frame women’s healthcare.
We receive this conditioning through social media, our previous generations and the medical establishment.
This is what the programming says:
“To rest is a sign of weakness.”
“You cannot ask for help.”
“Why doesn’t he see I need this and come and do it for me?”
“Who else will take care of the …”
“I have to keep up with the house duties, cooking, cleaning, the other children & my new baby.”
“Why am I so tired?”
Add to this the cycle of irritability, short-temper and the guilt and shame we subject ourselves to. It’s as if we need to parent ourselves with the same patience, unconditional love and care we give to our newborn’s. After all, we are being launched into our new mother selves.
Natural Postpartum Care
I realised that our Postpartum care is the most important time for a mother. It is in these first few weeks that we need to slow down, rest, receive care, have the right healing foods, herbs and tools so that we can perfectly resettle into our mother bodies.
When we do all the above – not only can our body heal well after our pregnancy and birth; but our minds and hearts can become aligned, and we feel nurtured and have more reserves to maintain a healthy perspective. Society knows very little about this and how mothers are still so pressured to return to “normal” too soon after giving birth.
I deeply want every mother to receive the opportunity for the rest and support she needed after giving birth. So I studied and practised this by seeing how other indigenous cultures naturally provide the support and healing for their postpartum women. In these communities women would often spend the first 6 weeks of their postpartum in specific healing huts, where they were taken care of, cooked the right foods and given healing baths, soaks, washes, teas and support. Imagine if we all received this in the first few weeks after giving birth.
As I was already filtering women’s healthcare through the lens of Sacred Awareness – Postpartum care soon started flowing through a lens of teaching this wisdom to women. I realised the best way to make postpartum care accessible to all mothers is to teach as many women as I can to know how to support and care for a postpartum mother.
I started a training course to teach women how to provide the support and care a new mum needs to optimally support her postpartum healing – for body, mind and soul. I brought in my love for herbs and working with the elementals or the wisdom of nature. I see herbs as allies that want to help support our bodies with love and ease.
Postpartum can seem quite simple to some. People tend to want a quick fix or a pill to fix things. What I am suggesting takes a whole new way of looking at valuing ourselves, caring for our health and viewing ourselves as worthy women. The more we simplify and focus on these 4 key elements the more nourishment we get from the rest and pause. Most often whenever there is a complication, a symptom, a problem – coming back to these 4 elements will bring our body back into balance.
4 Key Elements to Postpartum Care
It is so helpful to prepare our postpartum support prior to our postpartum. If we can imagine that we should arrange a support team or at least 1-2 people (besides your husband) to help you with everything that needs to be done, that could possibly get you out of bed in the first few weeks postpartum.
Ideally a new mum needs to rest with her baby – only getting up to go to the bathroom. This is how much our body and heart needs to rest after birth.
A wonderfully supportive tool that is useful in postpartum is Homeopathy. Having a few key remedies on hand is a great way to support mom and baby. It allows you to deal with any surprise niggles quickly and efficiently, thereby alleviating any unnecessary stress knowing you have what you need in arms reach. Little Gems Homeopathics has both Mother and Baby covered with their kits.
Products featured: Little Gems Homeopathics Kits
Little Gems Baby Kit includes remedies for your baby from birth and through the first year. When baby struggles to fall asleep, or has pain from teeth or tummy, these remedies can help to ease the difficult times so that you can enjoy every moment with baby. The remedies are dispensed on a sucrose based granule, which is perfectly safe with no side effects.
Little Gems New Moms Kit for new moms can take the stress out of the first few months after birth. This kit includes 4 remedies to ease the tumultuous time in the first months after giving birth. The remedies are intended to be taken as safe and side effect free medications post-partum, when your body is fatigued and your hormones have taken some surges and dips. Your main focus should be to breastfeed with ease, and to cope with the emotional time of less sleep and recuperation after childbirth. These remedies are an essential help for a new mom.
This is the most crucial key to our healing and settling into our new mother body after birth. We need to consider the needs of breastfeeding, pelvic floor healing, healing any Yoni tears, stitches or caesarean wounds, and finally womb healing after birth. When we are resting our body heals with its own innate intelligence.
Product featured: Moonshine Botanicals Milk Moon Tincture
To support the body in its healing – herbs are so valuable as they work within and help replenish our bodies building blocks. Moonshine Botanicals Milk Moon Tincture is especially designed for the fourth trimester and contains Nettle, Alfalfa, Oat Straw, Red Raspberry Leaf, Dandelion, Ashwagandha, Ginger, Goji Berry, Rosehips, Reishi, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Elderberry and Raw Honey. These herbs contain bio available vitamins and minerals, restores tone to uterine and pelvic muscles, supports liver with postpartum hormones, supports healthy digestion, and is calming and immune building.
Product featured: Yoni Balm
Healing with Yoni Balm is particularly helpful, Yoni Balm was created by myself out of deep respect and honouring of a woman’s body and knowing what a woman’s body needs to heal. It is about creating an optimal environment both physically and emotionally for healing to naturally take place. This balm will help heal tears and bruises after birth, soothe and nourish a dry and itchy vagina, calm inflammation, support healing and prevent infection.
Rest is of the utmost importance in your breastfeeding journey. When you are lying next to your baby, your baby is smelling you, touching you, you are able to understand your baby’s cues, and breastfeeding becomes easier as bonding naturally unfolds too. Research shows how we are building emotional milestones of trust and acceptance for our baby by being close, available and responsive. Baby’s respond physically by improved heart rate, temperature and stress hormones when they are close to us, ideally skin to skin. Our hormones also respond by optimising breastmilk production, uterine contractions which means efficient bleeding as the womb returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
Product featured: Moonshine Botanicals Milky Way Tincture
Moonshine Botanicals Milky Way Tincture will hold space as you embark on your breastfeeding journey. Containing Alfalfa, Shatavari, Fennel Seed, Chamomile, Blue Vervain, Hops, Fenugreek, Nettle, Milk Thistle and Lemon Balm – these herbs contain bio available vitamins and minerals. It’s a great milk supply booster, nervous system support, calms the digestive system and encourages the let down reflex.
When we consider warmth we want everything to be delivered to the new mother through the medium of warmth. We serve warming teas, warming foods, warm meals, warm Sitz baths and warming words!
A herbal Sitz bath is important to enhance yoni healing, keeping stitches & wounds clean, preventing infection, as well as soothing and calming swelling of tender areas.
Herbal Sitz Bath recipe
Use the following herbs – Raspberry leaves, Calendula, Comfrey and Thyme.
- Make a herbal infusion by using 1 teaspoon of each herb to 1 cup of just boiled water
- Add 1 tablespoon of Himalayan Fine Salt to the hot herbal infusion
- Allow to infuse for 10 minutes or longer
- Stir the salt so it is dissolved
- Then filter through a sieve and pour the tea into a bath
- Allow your body to rest in the herbal bath infusion, ensuring your buttocks, yoni and perineum soak in the bath for at least 10 – 20 minutes
- This is a beautiful way to honour and restore your yoni health after birth.
For an alternate Sitz bath, add 2 Cups of Epsom Salt to the warm water and soak for 10 to 20 minutes.
Products featured: Earth’s Essentials Salts
There are other lovely ways to care for ourselves or invite a friend to care for us after birth. By claiming back what we need to restore and heal our bodies (and mind) after birth, we are starting to normalise a forgotten and necessary practice for women’s healing.
Nourishing Simple Bone Broth Recipe
- 1.5kg bones (chicken or beef)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- finely ground real salt
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (raw and unfiltered)
- Heat the oven to 200 C, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Arrange the bones on the baking sheet, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
- Next, roast them for 30 minutes, or until slightly brown. Turn half-way through to promote even cooking
- Using a pair of kitchen tongs, transfer the bones to a heavy stock pot
- And then pour in the water
- Drop in the bay leaves, peppercorns and ACV
- Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, and then immediately turn the heat down to low
- Simmer, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours
- Skim any foam that appears at the surface of the broth
- Strain the broth, and season it with fine sea salt as you like it
- Serve immediately, or pour it into jars and store in the fridge up to 1 week and in the freezer up to 6 months.
Products featured: Heart of Cultures Pure Desiccated Liver & Hydrolized Bovine Collagen and Moonshine Botanicals Sea Moss
For extra nourishment add a good Liver supplement to your diet and a good Collagen daily. If you are vegan and looking for the same boost of nutrition – it can all be found in Sea Moss. These nutritionally dense supplements are wholefoods and will help build and heal the body and also help you replenish your valuable mineral store.
Dr Gauri has a Video Series with a Workbook on preparing support for your postpartum covering your support systems, meal planning and explaining the important concept of rest in postpartum which you can access it via this LINK.
Try working through everything that you would need covered, supported, prepared and co-ordinated so you can plan a restful, nourishing and warming postpartum. Preparation is key to success; write out your meal plans, ingredients needed, arrange support for yourself and your family as well as preparing assistance with house chores.
Prepare your herbals and nutritional support for your recovery based on the guidelines in this blog. Prepare your friends, family and manage their expectations prior to birth. Let them know that you will not be receiving guests for the first few weeks. Should they want to send a meal, come and wash the dishes, take your laundry, take your older kids out for a treat, make you a cup of tea, or come and hold the baby while you have a good shower – with no expectation of being entertained – that is welcome! This will make your postpartum experience wonderful and restful.
And that is why in this world we are all Birthing Earthlings… touching Mother Nature’s Divine Love as her energy surges through us – whether we know it or not. It is there to grasp and hold and celebrate. – Dr Gauri Lowe
Yours in health,
Dr Gauri Lowe (Medical doctor | Natural Birth Specialist | Herbalist)