Deanna McDonald, MD of local Sugar Land OB/GYN Associates has practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 25 years. Delmie DePuma-Aparicio, owner of local True Recovery Lymphatic Massage, is one of Dr. McDonald’s patients.

“I’ve known Delmie for more than 20 years,” says Dr. McDonald. “Her three daughters are my patients as well, and I delivered their babies. After the birth of each of her grandchildren, Delmie put together a plan of regular lymphatic massages for the new mommy to aid in her recovery. When I saw how well Delmie’s daughters recovered, I began to refer my new mothers to True Recovery Lymphatic Massage.”

What is lymphatic massage? It’s a gentle massage that opens up the lymph nodes, allowing the lymph fluid to flow freely. Human beings have 600-700 lymph nodes spread throughout the body. Most of them are in the area of our intestines (abdominal area), our neck and head, inguinal (groin), and axillary (armpits). Lymphatics is where our daily “life and health” battles are won or lost. If the body is compromised in any way, including childbirth, the lymphatic system slows down and does not work smoothly and properly. The body is not getting the vital lymph fluid it needs to heal itself. Postnatal lymphatic massages help heal the postpartum body after the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth.

Dr. McDonald says, “After delivery, a woman’s body experiences extra swelling. The body has to handle getting rid of the extra fluids from the pregnancy. Postnatal lymphatic massage keeps the swelling in check by moving the fluids from the extremities to the central areas and opening the body up to natural healing. My patients with postnatal lymphatic massage recover way faster than those without…cutting the recovery time by as much as half. There’s a comfort factor here too. Fluid on the ankles causes discomfort. Expediting fluid absorption reduces the skin tension, relieving this discomfort.”

“The effects of postnatal lymphatic massage are even more pronounced with a c-section,” continues Dr. McDonald. “As with any surgery, during a c-section, we are administering additional fluids, and there’s more edema or swelling. The body also has a higher blood clot risk after the complications of surgery. Postnatal lymphatic massage gets both the healing lymph fluid and the blood supply moving. It’s very beneficial for the new mother.”

Delmie recommends setting up a postnatal lymphatic massage plan before delivery for optimal results. “That way we can get started right away,” says Delmie. “We’ll have you back to your pre-pregnancy body in no time!”

For more information about Dr. McDonald, visit Dr. McDonald is currently accepting new patients.

This post originally appeared on the “Up Close Magazine” website.