Bone broth for Postpartum Healing

Bone broth for Postpartum Healing
I’ve spent the day making bone broth to put in my freezer for safe keeping until after I have this new little one in a few weeks. I always have a stash of bone broth for when we aren't feeling well. I also add it to make rice or other grains or of course make yummy soups! 
Today’s work made about 100oz of pork bone broth. I make it easy on myself, I save bones from dinners in a gallon bag in the freezer. When it’s full, (in this case two bags because we’ve had lots of pork bones from our half hog we bought last fall) I drop it in the instant pot. Cover with filtered water, add salt, pepper and a couple flush of apple cider vinegar. And in about 2 hours delicious golden broth. I actually did two round with these bones to make this much (see picture!)

here’s an excerpt from my case reflection to earn my Pregnancy & Postpartum Physical Therapy Certification:

“She was instructed to continue to log roll for bed mobility and to use a pillow to splint for coughing and sneezing. She was educated, and issued written resources on nutrition for postpartum healing including nourishing chicken soup with bone broth and collagen smoothies. There is a lack of evidence which supports specifically advising collagen supplementation postpartum, but there is also no evidence that shows it’s detrimental and anecdotally we see improved outcomes when mothers are nourished in the postpartum period. There is cultural wisdom in this practice from Asian ethnicities and their confinement period traditions.”

I truly believe there’s some ancient wisdom that we’ve lost when it comes to postpartum recovery, but these are the two scientific articles are the ones I read to support my last sentence:
  1. Fok D, Aris IM, Ho J, et al. A Comparison of Practices During the Confinement Period among Chinese, Malay, and Indian Mothers in Singapore. Birth. 2016;43(3):247-254. doi:10.1111/birt.12233
  2. Chen LW, Low YL, Fok D, et al. Dietary changes during pregnancy and the postpartum period in Singaporean Chinese, Malay and Indian women: the GUSTO birth cohort study. Public Health Nutr. 2014;17(9):1930-1938. doi:10.1017/S1368980013001730

And this is my favorite blog post I give to all my postpartum patients. The one that started me down this path! Now I’ve also read the Nourishing Traditions books which really are the OG bone broth resources. 

So there you go! My quick round up all about bone broth. Enjoy!

Loretta's birth story

Loretta Rae Inman. Born October 12th, 2019 at 8:42 a.m.  8# 5 ounces, 21 inches long.

I had been feeling some Braxton Hicks or prodromal labor on and off for maybe a week. On October 9th, as I drove home from work I was feeling this again. When I got home, we got dinner ready, and ate. After dinner I rested on the couch and the contractions stopped entirely. I got up went to work on Thursday morning, and same thing, after working all day, up and down on my feet, I started feeling contractions on the commute home. Anselm’s sister had previously agreed to babysit so we could have a date night before the baby came. Well, let me tell you, that was good timing. I decided I wanted some spicy food, to see if we could keep the contractions going and get labor started. We got ramen and walked around a little and it worked! My contractions started again, so we ended up going home early. But then I went to sleep easily.

Around 3:30 a.m. I was having them every 10 minutes and they were lasting about 35 seconds. This continued until I got up at 8. I had texted my mom around 6 that she should better come over when she could since she was going to stay with Estelle. When I got up and had breakfast and started walking around, everything stopped. Maybe 1-2 contractions in an hour. Ugh. 

So, I rested. We went on some walks. I did a miles circuit and tried to rest some more in case it did start again. I took a shower around 8 p.m and things picked up again. This was for real!

I think maybe around midnight I told Anselm I was ready to have Anna, my doula, come over.  I labored mostly in my living room and kitchen, switching positions, Anna helping with compression while I leaned against Anselm. Both of them reminding me to breathe and relax my muscles. 

We kept the on-call midwife in the loop, when I thought things were getting pretty hard, she listened to me have a contraction and didn’t think it was long enough for us to come in yet. She recommended I get in the shower, which I did. I have zero idea what time it was at that point. Eventually, I did feel like my water broke, and we left for the birth center pretty quickly after that. This was at 4am. 

I was definitely in transition during the car ride and when we arrived. I had a contraction in the lobby of the birth center and was laying over the couch. I remember yelling to Anna I needed her to compress my pelvis. It’s the only thing that felt good and was helping me get through the contractions.

When we got into our room, I spent some time in the bathroom sitting on the toilet laboring. Then it was everywhere around the room. In the shower, lay in bed, sit on a squat stool, in the tub, I don’t remember what order. I was in long and hard labor. 

I remember saying in the tub “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Anna rolled some valor on the back of my neck. I remember asking Ali, the on call midwife, to check my cervix so I could have some idea if it was going to end soon. She said she would if I wanted her to at the next time they were going to listen to the baby. Again, I don’t know what time this was, or how much time passed until I actually delivered Loretta, but I never did end up having that check. 

I made the most progress in some form of water during my labor. When I took the second shower at home, in the shower at the birth center right before I got in the tub to deliver her. I was in the shower on hands and knees and started to feel a lot of pressure, and then finally maybe her head. That’s when they had me get into the tub. I was on my knees leaning over the back of the tub for a little bit, then the midwives had me turn around in a reclined position, I think because they saw her head too? Anyways, once she was there, it took one push to deliver her head, then I waited for the next contraction to push again and she came out fully. 

For a good chunk of labor at the birth center, I was basically screaming through my contractions, and it felt good to bear down with them. I’m not sure if this counts as my pushing. It probably does, but as I said before, I was in all different positions during this time, so I must’ve been helping Loretta come down into my pelvis and birth canal. 

Labor was hard. Delivery was so different and not as hard and beautiful. We got to cuddle in the tub and wait for her cord to stop pulsing, deliver her placenta and then snuggle in bed just the 3 of us. I’m so grateful it went the way it did, it was really healing for me after Estelle’s birth and NICU stay.