Pregnancy and childbirth are albeit tough but still remain two of the most rewarding experiences in a woman’s life. But the question often asked is “How do you improve your health after giving birth?”
To-be moms are overjoyed at the anticipated arrival of their young so much so that they attend prenatal education and lamaze classes, baby-proof their homes, shop for their baby and try to prepare for labor.
Amidst this joyous preparation of a new family member, what most women often overlook is the emotional, physical and psychological changes that you’ll be enduring right after birth. This puts new mommies in an unfamiliar and intimidating predicament as they struggle to master the art of raising an infant while enduring significant bodily and emotional changes.
The impact of these biological changes is even tougher for mothers who decide to place their babies in the care of adoptive families. Therefore, it is crucial that you prepare yourself mentally for the changes that you’ll be experiencing and keep remedial tactics in place as they will go a long way in improving your health right after giving birth:
- Start when you’re pregnant:
It is a common perception that pregnancy leads to ample weight gain, which in part is true because you need additional amounts of energy to allow your baby to develop properly.
However, the important thing to remember is that the weight you put on will only benefit your baby up to a certain extent after which you will only be adding extra pounds to your body.
These pounds will be difficult to shed later on and will contribute to stress that is characteristic to the postpartum period. So, prepare for your postpartum health in advance by eating healthy, exercising regularly and keeping your weight in check during pregnancy.
Nature has a meticulous way of helping new mommies use their enhanced weight for the benefit of their baby, bond with them and lose weight in the process. This occurs when you breastfeed your baby as it consumes up to 800 calories a day and allows you to lose excess weight more easily during the first 6 months postpartum.
It doesn’t take long for new parents to discover that infants have their own time clock and therefore will be deciding the family routine for the next 7 to 8 months. The reason for this is that they awaken almost every 3 hours and need to be fed, cleaned and comforted.
Naturally, this implies that you probably won’t be able to get a solid eight hours of sleep during these months. However, it is imperative that you use the following techniques to tweak your schedule and gain adequate rest as it will inhibit you from feeling overwhelmed or experiencing burnout:
- Gain help from your partner, family or friends in completing house chores as taking care of your baby is a rigorous 24/7 commitment.
- It is always good to sleep when your baby sleeps even if it means sleeping for a few minutes several times a day. This may not be what you were used to but it will give you enough vigor to carry on with your day without feeling too exhausted.
- Keep your baby’s bed close to yours as it will save you from walking around all day long.
- Parents of newborns tend to get visits from family and friends and while you may enjoy this celebration; it is important to give priority to your health. Therefore, don’t hesitate to excuse yourself for feeding your baby or taking a nap if you have to.
- After 3 weeks or so, use a bottle to breastfeed your baby from time to time. This will accustom your baby to being fed from a bottle and will allow you to get a few extra hours of sleep while your loved ones nurse your baby.
4. Eat healthy:
As soon as you give birth, you’ll immediately begin to notice that you have put on pounds. This realization causes most new mothers to feel stressed and they end up shifting to low-carb and low-calorie diets.
The crucial thing to remember here is that a dramatic cut in calories will plummet the quality of your milk which means your baby won’t receive sufficient nutrition. Therefore, try to opt for a healthy and well-balanced diet that will support weight loss and provide plentiful energy. Here are a few tips on eating healthy right after delivery:
- Limit your consumption of starchy/ sugary foods such as grains, sweets and breads as they cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation in turn effects your hormones and metabolism and can therefore inhibit a speedy recovery.
- Water is essential for maintaining optimum physical and cognitive functions and also boosts metabolism so drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
- Eat vegetables and good quality proteins such as turkey, fish and legumes.
- Consume healthy fats such as olives, avocados and coconut oil, unprocessed butter and raw nuts.
- Add fiber-rich foods to your meal that will allow you to feel satiated without consuming excess calories.
Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and lose weight, however, before starting any kind of workout be sure to check with your doctor to see whether you’re ready to resume regular physical activity.
The reason for this is that immediately after giving birth women develop a gap in their abdominal muscles which needs to disappear completely prior to the commencement of workouts. Once you’re ready, opt for exercises that make you feel energized and refrain from ones that drain energy. Here are some workouts you can try:
- Pelvic tilts to help reduce tummy fat.
- Yoga, pilates and kegels for flexibility and strength.
- Bridge exercises to tighten abdominal muscles and strengthen your core.
Postpartum recovery takes time; however by using these techniques you can ensure a smooth and speedy recovery and regain your pre-pregnancy body in a few months. Along the way, don’t forget to enjoy this beautiful journey of motherhood!
About the Author
Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.
Find her on Twitter:@ericadsilva1