Dear New Mom,
Congratulations on welcoming the newest member to your family! Here are a few tips to keep you healthy postpartum (after birth).
With all the new demands of parenthood, we oftentimes set our own needs aside including our nutrition. Our nutritional demands are very important — we need loads of energy in order to offer our baby the best care. When dealing with our nutrition, we want to focus on getting all five food groups into our diet every day. These food groups include: fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy. Half our plate should be fruits and vegetables, one-fourth should include grains and the other one-fourth a protein. Not every meal needs to include all five groups, but combining different food groups in each meal can help give variety to our diet.
Important nutrients to look for postpartum include calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin D and protein. It is important to remember our bodies are recovering so there is no need for extensive dieting. Diets are often restricting and can prevent our bodies from obtaining the proper nutrients and calories that we need to heal. Eating regular meals can promote better healing, give us more energy, and can even help with thought clarity. Note that nutritional needs may very between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding moms.
Returning to Pre-Pregnancy Weight and Physical Activity
For continued health, it is important for us to strive to return to our pre-pregnancy weight. However, it is crucial that we focus on losing weight slowly and steadily. This means avoiding strenuous physical activity prior to being cleared by the physician. Did you know that breastfeeding can actually help your body recover quicker? Once cleared by a doctor, physical activity can be a great way for us to return to pre-pregnancy weight. Physical activity can be easy. For example, walks around the neighborhood or on a treadmill and then progress to more strenuous activity like a run or a group fitness class. Bringing along friends or relatives can help keep you motivated as well as give you an opportunity to talk and share thoughts. If you are unable to perform these acts alone, grab your stroller or baby carrier and make this a family activity. Physical activity can help with stress, energy, muscle tone, weight loss and can even reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. There is no rush to shred those additional pounds. Remember, it took us nine months to gain the weight; it’s going to take some time for us to lose it.
As women, it is our instinct to put others first. It is great to enjoy the new baby, but we must also take time to care for ourselves. Ways we can do this is by setting time aside to do things we enjoy such as taking baths, meditating, exercising or even interacting with friends and loved ones. We must also remember it is okay to ask for help when needed. Allow others to help you shop, clean, cook, or watch the baby while you nap. If this is unavailable, try to take advantage of the time baby is napping to do small tasks or chores.
Baby blues can be normal right after delivery; remember, our body is still adjusting. If signs or symptoms last longer than two weeks, speak to a physician because it could be a sign of postpartum depression.
Here are a few things to look out for:
Feeling very sad
Afraid to be alone with your baby
Crying a lot
Worry too much about the baby
Can’t sleep or want to sleep all the time
Don’t enjoy life
Don’t want to take care of yourself
Don’t care about your baby
Don’t want to eat or cannot stop eating
Feel like you could hurt yourself or the baby
Please note that all information provided should not override recommendations from your health care provider. You know your body best; if you have concerns, please bring these up at your next check-up.
For additional resources and information about department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Twitter at @CCHealthEd, “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, follow us Instagram at @gethealthycarsoncity, call us at 775-887-2190 or visit us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.
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