Preparation and Recovery with Herbalist Jamie Pelayo
Many cultures around the world see women observing a strict healing recovery ritual that we’ve seemingly lost in the west. It is said that how you treat your body for the first 40 days (or six weeks) in the “fourth trimester” can impact a women’s physical recovery and body health for a minimum of two years to the rest of their lifetime.
As a trained herbalist schooled in Sacred Plant Medicine from The Gaia School of Healing & Earth Education I have learned to live by a four-pronged approach to preparation and recovery before and after pregnancy:
1. Work with a postpartum doula
Most people don’t know that the profession of a doula exists to help facilitate the healing of the mother in that fourth trimester. My doula devised the original postpartum recovery program at Surya Spa based on Ayurvedic principles. She visits three to four times a week with healing Ayurvedic foods like kitchari and golden milk turmeric lattes, helps with belly binding, prepares herbal sitz baths, and — further along in recovery — incorporates vaginal steaming, full bath soaks with healing herbs, and performs an abhyanga warm oil massage with a special emphasis on the breasts and belly, and a uterine massage to promote circulation and recovery.
2. Immerse yourself in Uma Mother's Postnatal Integration Series
I also attended their “Inbloom” sessions (in-person my first pregnancy and via Zoom my last), which included helpful advice from a birth doula coupled with meditation and yoga practices. The postnatal program will be offered via Zoom this summer which incorporates breath work and exercises for recovery.
3. Participate in specialized bodywork
Four weeks postpartum, I visit Ricari Studios two times per week over the course of a month to recharge my body with their Signature service that uses both manual and mechanical stimulation to boost circulation, facilitate lymphatic drainage, calm the nervous system, and help sculpt my postpartum body.
4. Try Pelvic Floor Therapy
Six weeks postpartum, I start Pelvic Floor Therapy with 15-20 sessions. I recently read that in France, PFT is a part of the prescribed postpartum physical therapy benefits given to women. This therapy helps to remedy any residual pain, helps repair tissue, and regain ab strength which helps with posture and body alignment postpartum and other less desirable (or talked about) side effects of motherhood, including incontinence.
A 19-year veteran of the fashion and beauty industries, Jamie Pelayo worked as a marketing executive and content producer for leading lifestyle brands including Vogue, Sephora, Kendo Brands, and Violet Grey. In 2015, she founded Stories+Objects, a website featuring small batch products from indigenous artisans around the world, accompanied by narrative short films exploring their craft. Having witnessed the cultivation of ancient medicinal plants like frankincense and precious rose oil during her travels for S+O, she views her role as an extension of her pursuit to share the purest and highest-quality products with a world of increasingly conscious consumers. She is a trained herbalist in sacred plant medicine, rooted in the Wise Woman Tradition of Healing at the California branch of the Gaia School of Healing and School of the Sacred Wild.