Did you know Gallbladder dysfunction is one of the top reasons for admission to hospital in the first 12 months after birth?
In fact it can start during pregnancy. (Scroll down to the bottom to watch the video instead)
So, why? is the big question.
Firstly, we feel hunger, and this signals salivary glands and hydrochloric acid in your stomach which helps breakdown the food into digestible particles. The food particles mover from the stomach to the small intestine.
The gallbladder which is the storage container for the bile, releases it into the digestive tract, and it helps break down what you’re eating into easier forms so you can digest and absorb nutrients for your body.
The pancreas works with the gallbladder in the small intestine by releasing digestive enzymes.
Together the bile and enzymes break down the food even more into nutrients. Then they are absorbed and transported through the body.
Bile is described as like a detergent – it helps break down fats so they are more easily absorbed.
Quality fats are incredibly important for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins D, E & K and healthy fats support hormone balance, they help repair cells and tissues and are necessary for breastfeeding. Fats are vital in a postpartum diet.
When the gallbladder isn’t functioning well, it can back up into the liver. The liver and gallbladder are connected. This can cause gall stones. Seriously painful. Even though I’ve personally not had stones, I’ve had 2 GB attacks after my 5th baby and my goodness it was excruciating!
Gall stones are one of the major concerns in postpartum women and even though there’s still not a lot of evidence as to why these form, it’s though that it’s when the bile contains too much cholesterol, bilirubin or possibly the gallbladder isn’t emptying properly.
Inflammation happens when there’s a lack of blood flow to the gallbladder. Infections can occur when the bile is not flowing properly or blocked.
And it can lead to the removal of the gallbladder with surgery.
The question is – why are women in pregnancy and postpartum at such an increased risk? and, how can we prevent this?
Well to be honest, many health professionals don’t really know or understand the root cause.
But with research, from Maranda Bower, whom I studied the postpartum nutrition with, there are five main points underlying root causes.
The health of your gut microbiome affects gut function. If someone has something like leaky gut, most likely you will have a gallbladder issue because of inflammation. Inflammation affects the bile moving from the liver to the gallbladder
Inflammation is triggered by gluten and dairy. Sorry to break it to you! There’s so much evidence that supports this. Stress amongst other things can cause inflammation. We’re mostly all leading fairly stress filled lives and then add a baby into the mix.
Liver functioning issues. When liver isn’t functioning well, it will affect gallbladder and vice versa.
Medications like contraceptives and antibiotics have been also associated with gallstones. Pregnancy hormones fluctuating can also contribute. These 3 change the gut micro-biome.
Then the birth process. It affects your digestive system and if you’re eating your normal diet, and it’s hard to digest foods, processed, lacking nutrition for the most part, this affects your gut health and so the spiral can begin.
By being aware and educated and making better choices during pregnancy and childbirth and beyond, we can hopefully avoid gallbladder issues and removal of it. It’s not ideal to have an organ removed, so prevention is better than the ‘cure’.
Now just a reminder, I am not a health practitioner, these are only suggestions. You can check with a qualified naturopath or health practitioner to discuss.
Having things like dandelion and bitters will support liver function. Keep eating good quality fats including avocado oil and coconut oil and ensure you’re having Vitamins K2 and D.
Avoid processed fats like in hot chips (yes, as yummy as they are) or other fried foods. It may only be temporary, but just do your body a favour and honour it after having a baby. Even if your months or a few years postpartum.
The Nutrition Plan I guide you through has been thoroughly and carefully put together to help bring mothers back to balance and wellbeing, and supports digestive and gallbladder function.
Reach out to me if you have any questions about what I’ve shared today, or your curious to know more about the postpartum nutrition plan.