The arrival of your little one into the world marks the end of the journey of pregnancy and the beginning of a brand new phase - motherhood. As a new mother, it is easy to get swept up in all the baby care and forget to look after yourself. But your health is just as important. Childbirth and pregnancy are among the most challenging things you will put your mind and body through in this lifetime. We show you the 6 simple ways that you can get your health back on track post pregnancy.
#1 Eat Right
It is important to get the right nutrition post-pregnancy to help your body recover from the delivery and heal. If you’re breastfeeding this puts added demands on your body (equivalent on average, to about 500 calories more of food per day), so don’t ignore your nutrition. Eat a balanced diet that’s rich in fresh fruit and vegetables as well as protein from sources like lean meats, eggs, and daal (lentils). Keep track of your calcium intake and try and get in some servings of milk and dahi/curd every day. Have iron-rich foods to compensate for the blood loss during childbirth - red meat, sardines, chicken are good sources; vegetarians can have green leafy vegetables, lentils, and beans.
#2 Restart An Exercise Regimen
Some women manage to keep up exercise during pregnancy, others may not. Even if you haven’t managed to be active while you had your baby on board, be sure to take time to exercise after the delivery. If you didn't have any complications and had a vaginal delivery, you should be able to start some form of exercise a few days after the birth. For those who’ve had a C-section or some complications, always check with your doctor and then begin any exercise. Here are the benefits of exercise post pregnancy and delivery:
- Helps with weight loss and improves heart health
- Elevates energy levels
- Eases stress and could alleviate some symptoms of postpartum depression
- Helps you sleep better
#3 Get Adequate Rest
Even if you can’t follow the advice to “sleep when your baby sleeps”, do make use of the downtime when your baby is asleep to put your feet up and relax. Work out a system for managing the nights so that neither you nor your partner is sleep deprived. If you find you are struggling to get to sleep even when you are free, you are not alone. Postnatal insomnia is a real sleeping issue new parents sometimes experience. Darkening your room, ensuring it is quiet and at a comfortable temperature may help. Avoid caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime and make your bedroom a gadget-free space. If lighting a candle or using some kind of aroma diffuser helps, do that. A warm shower and a cup of milk at bedtime may help too.
#4 Ask For Help When You Need It
Don’t try and take on everything alone. Lean on the baby’s father as well as family to help with the baby chores. If it all seems too much, let them know. You could get additional hired help for a few months to help with household chores or to assist with the baby. Struggling alone can be stressful. If you’re going through postpartum depression or even a milder case of baby blues, reaching out and getting help can make a world of difference to your recovery. You may benefit from counselling sessions, speaking to a therapist, or learning relaxation techniques to cope with the stress.
#5 Make Time For You!
Once your baby arrives, the lines between your baby and you can blur. Your days may seem to revolve around the baby and his or her routine. But make sure you get some “me time” chalked into that daily routine. You need to recharge mentally and emotionally too! Here are some ideas:
- Fix a little time every day and make it a ritual you don’t miss. This could be a short 15-20 minute call with a friend, reading the newspapers with a cup of tea, or a stroll in the garden.
- Try and get some time to meet your friends every week or two - it will give you a chance to get some baby-free time and charge you up for your mommy duties. Go watch a movie with them or meet them at a cafe for a meal.
- Plan some time with your partner. It can be hard, but make use of the time when your baby is asleep to watch a show on TV together, brew some fresh coffee and talk, or maybe even do a puzzle or paint together. Once in a way, have a trusted family member come and babysit so you can have a date night out.
#6 Look After Your Physical Hygiene
Take time to look after your hygiene. Countless new mums complain of not having time to even brush their teeth or bathe. Don’t let that happen to you! Your baby will be fine in his/her crib/cot for a bit while you clean up.
Don’t miss check-ups with your gynaecologist. Have a hygiene and beauty regimen that makes you feel good and helps your body heal from childbirth and pregnancy.
For vaginal health, try the Mamaxpert intimate wash for moms which is safe for use during pregnancy and after. It offers protection and gentle care for this intimate area, easing itching and odours.
Looking after yourself is important for you to be able to give your baby your best, so don’t ignore your needs. It will help you enjoy and appreciate motherhood more!
Read more about other new mom challenges and tips and tricks to cope on the Mamaxpert blog.