Health, Postpartum, Pregnancy

Postpartum nutrition and exercise

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August 17, 2022

You donot have to get too worried about getting back into your shape immediately after delivering your baby. Your main priority should be healing rather than losing weight. Focus on maintaining a healthy diet and taking care of your baby. As long as you get proper nutrition, your body will heal itself fast.

Diet and nutrition:

  • Even if you are not breastfeeding your diet needs to be healthy. It should consist of a variety of food types from all the food groups. Include food items that provide you with protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals to form a balanced meal. 
  • If you are breastfeeding you will need to drink about 14 glasses of water every day. Not drinking enough water when you are breastfeeding can cause headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, and even lesser production of breastmilk. 
  • Get your food from healthy sources like whole wheat, grains, rice, meat, fish, fruits, dairy, and vegetables. Whenever you have a craving for snacks, try to satisfy it with healthier options like fruits and vegetables. 
  • Consume food that is rich in fiber to help with your digestion. There is a high chance of being constipated after delivery, so try to consume a considerable amount of fiber to burn the carbs. 
  • You might also want to continue taking prenatal vitamins if you are breastfeeding. Supplements of calcium, omega 3, iodine, cholic, and B12 also help in the supply of breastmilk.
  • You might want to avoid having more than the recommended amount of caffeine, sugar, and fish that are high in mercury, and alcohol. Stay away from processed foods that are high in calories but low in nutritional values. 
  • Don’t try to shy from occasional snacking. You deserve to catch a break. However, don’t make it a routine.
  • Remember that just because you are breastfeeding, you do not need to eat a huge amount of food to substitute for milk production. An extra amount of 300-400 calories a day will suffice your needs.
  • When eating, do not focus on losing weight. Give your body a break and do not starve yourself to lose weight. 
  • After you stop breastfeeding, reduce your excess calorie intake as your body won’t require it to produce breastmilk. 

Exercise:

  • The best form of exercise after having a baby is to walk. Walk with your baby or take a stroll around your neighbourhood alone for about 15 minutes twice a day. Keep this up for about 5 days a week. 
  • Try to avoid doing any kind of strenuous activity for the first six weeks after your delivery. Slowly incorporate exercises into your routine as you feel more and more comfortable. 
  • Try to start out with low-impact workouts like yoga or walking. As you start to get more comfortable, increase the intensity and duration of your workout. However, make sure not to push your body too far.
  • Don’t push your body to do things that it is not yet ready to do yet. 
  • Give importance to kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that might have to weaken during pregnancy and delivery. 
  • Don’t try to get back into your pre-pregnancy routine as soon as you deliver the baby as your body isn’t ready to take the impact yet. 

Postpartum weight loss:

  • Postpartum weight loss is very slow and gradual. You do not need to compare yourself and worry about losing weight early. 
  • Rather than focusing on weight loss, focus on eating healthy and gaining flexibility.
  • You should remain active to make sure that your body is healthy.
  • Breastfeeding women naturally lose weight and are expected to go back to their normal weight by one year of delivery. 
  • Include workout regimes in your daily routine slowly as you get more comfortable with raising your baby. Your body will also heal with time and allow for easier exercise.

Rest up

Along with everything else that you do to take care of yourself, give yourself enough rest and sleep. Be patient with yourself. Try not to do everything by yourself and take as much help as you need from your partner, family, and friends. 

During postpartum recovery, resting and sleep play a very important part. Don’t feel hesitant to reach out to people that care about you to ask for help.

References:

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