**This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins.**
Before I had babies, I read some “interesting” stories about child birth…and the aftermath. Women found themselves with weaker muscles, loose skin, hair that was falling out, and, ah…a bit ‘looser’ “down there.”
That’s not exactly what women want to hear about motherhood, right? We want to hear about the joys of snuggling sweet, squishy babies, seeing them smile, hearing them coo. Every moment of mothering is staring into your baby’s eyes in pure love…right?
Postpartum reality can be harsh sometimes. But not always. And, there are things you can do. Surprisingly, collagen peptides play a major role.
What Are Collagen Peptides?
This might not be obvious — have you ever heard of collagen peptides?
They’re really similar to gelatin. That, I know you’ve heard of! But, there are some differences.
Collagen peptides are cooked at higher temperatures than gelatin is. This breaks down the bonds between the amino acids (leaving the acids themselves intact). Collagen peptides are easier to digest than gelatin because they are more broken down. They also don’t gel in liquid — you usually can’t even tell they’re there!
Both collagen peptides and gelatin have similar health benefits, but the peptides are easier to use. This makes them ideal for busy mamas!
5 Surprising Benefits of Collagen Peptides Postpartum
The real kicker though…they have serious and surprising benefits postpartum!
Healthier, Shinier Hair
Many women struggle with hormone balance postpartum. Their bodies are, of course, going through a hormone free-fall as their levels try to return to pre-pregnancy levels. Plus, many women are not getting enough nutrition postpartum, as their bodies are producing milk and trying to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Many will deal with new thyroid disorders and other problems.
Collagen peptides can help! You see, our hormones require amino acids (proteins) in order to produce the correct balance. Certain amino acids are involved in the production of certain hormones. Muscle meats are high in tryptophan and cysteine, which are involved in producing cortisol (the ” stress” hormone). However, muscle meats lack glycine and proline, which are involved in producing thyroid hormones. Collagen peptides are high in both of these amino acids!
That’s why collagen peptides can help encourage hormone balance — and help a slightly underactive thyroid to rebound.
Tighter, Smoother Skin
Babies stretch your belly. It’s the nature of the beast! This means that after pregnancy, you may be left with some loose skin on your belly.
Collagen production helps to tighten up skin and leads to a smoother, firmer appearance. Collagen peptides actually help your skin heal post-birth.
I know — you’re not exactly hitting the gym postpartum, and if you are, it’s not to lift heavy weights and enter the world’s-strongest-woman competition.
However. You know what is a giant muscle? Your vagina. And yes, it can get stretched out during birth. It’s supposed to, that’s its job, and it will return to (mostly) its original size. But, collagen peptides can help it become a little stronger, and go back to how it felt pre-birth. I actually discovered this one quite by accident!
It helps other muscles, too. It’ll strength your uterus and help it return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape (because it acts on all muscles), and yes, it will make your arms and legs stronger, too. I noticed that, as I was playing with my kids, I was suddenly able to cross the monkey bars for the first time in years! Nothing else had changed…except starting the collagen peptides.
Some moms start to notice, post-birth, that their guts may not be as healthy as they thought. They may experience constipation, indigestion, or their babies may show an intolerance to some food through their milk. These are all signs that your gut could use a little help.
Besides avoiding any foods that don’t make you (or baby) feel well, and choosing a quality probiotic, collagen peptides can help to soothe and heal a leaky gut.
How to Use Collagen Peptides
Luckily, because collagen peptides don’t gel, they’re super easy to use.
Peptides can be stirred into any drink, hot or cold. Add a big spoonful (about 1 – 2 tbsp.) to any drink during the day. I like to add mine to grape juice in the morning, along with my other supplements. This has made a big difference for my health, including helping me cope with postpartum anxiety.
I also enjoy this simple recipe:
- 1/2 c. red raspberry leaf
- 1/2 c. nettle leaf
- 2″ piece fresh ginger
- 2 lemons
- 1/3 – 1/2 c. raw honey (to taste)
- 1 gallon water (divided)
- 1 scoop collagen peptides (or 8 scoops)
Step 1: Mix red raspberry leaf and nettle leaf with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; shut it off and let it sit for an hour or so.
Step 2: Strain the herb mixture through a strainer or cloth; discard the herbs.
Step 3: Stir in raw honey.
Step 4: Run the lemons and ginger through a juicer. If you don’t have one, run them (lemons peeled) through a blender, and then squeeze through a kitchen towel. Keep the juice, discard the pulp.
Step 5: Add the lemon/ginger juice to the tea mix.
Step 6: Split the tea concentrate into two 1/2 gallon pitchers or jars, and fill with water.
Step 7: Add 2 tbsp. collagen peptides per 2-cup glass of tea; or stir 16 tbsp. into the two pitchers right away (8 tbsp. each). If you plan to drink a lot of tea each day, stir it into one glass per day, as needed; if you will only drink one glass per day, stir it in all at once.
This will keep in the fridge for 3 – 4 days.
It’s a really wonderful postpartum drink, because ginger helps to calm inflammation (and is good a baby’s tummy if they’re gassy or upset). Nettles are very nourishing, filled with lots of vitamins and minerals. Red raspberry leaf promotes hormone balance and can help with milk production and to shrink your uterus down (and later, it’ll help your cycle get back on track and minimize pain). The collagen peptides have all the benefits listed above!
If I’m not drinking water, this is typically what I’m drinking. It’s pretty awesome.
I get my collagen peptides from Vital Proteins. They source their peptides from 100% pasture-raised bovine hides, and process them gently so that they’re safe. (Most store-bought gelatin has high levels of MSG! Theirs doesn’t.)
Have you ever tried collagen peptides for postpartum health?
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