The birth of the child seems to be the best day in a woman’s life. She is overwhelmed with the feelings of joy, happiness, pride and satisfaction. Along with that, she feels contended to have completed the long term of pregnancy with a success. May be a woman feels free of all the instructions, restrictions and suggestions implied on her during pregnancy but that’s not the case.

Post partum women need excessive care even more than their pregnancy to ensure healthy recovery and right upbringing for the new born. They are called for counseling post delivery to discuss about their diet, care, exercises and tips to look after their mental health and ways to cope with the emotional distress.

Generally a woman with vaginal delivery without any complications is scheduled to visit her mid wife or doctor after 4-6 weeks post delivery. On the other hand, women with C-section are scheduled a bit sooner around 2-3 weeks later. During this visit, a woman’s health is reviewed and then she is discussed about postpartum diet, nutrition, health and mental, emotional and physical care.

This article would get you informed about all the care and nutrition one need post delivery for healthy development and proper management.

After Delivery Counseling (Postpartum Counseling)

Often, a postpartum woman goes through a medical state known as postpartum depression owing to the physical, mental, emotional and internal changes within her. As the name refers, it is a kind of depression which may become severe if left untreated. Most of the time family, friends and partners’ support and medical care can help one get out of this. However, sometimes, a woman needs some sort of counseling so that she can reveal her fears, insecurities, thoughts and other physical symptoms of the same.

  • Counseling with a psychotherapist or a doctor would help you overcome your difficulties and imparts positive changes in your life. A counselor asks you questions to know about the personal, family and other issues in your life. Besides knowing the reason, he also picks out the reasons behind them so as to help you in mental and emotional recovery.
  • A counselor provides you safe, professional and confidential environment where you can express and talk openly. You also have an opportunity to express regret, anger, frustration, guilt, resentment or other feelings which you are unable to express in front of family members.
  • A counselor will treat you as friend, listen to your worries and discuss them in detail. He will tell you why there are unrealistic thoughts of motherhood or why you are facing anxiety and how could it affect your life. He will also suggest you ways to cope with them bringing positive changes in the behavior, attitude, thoughts and emotions.
  • Visiting a counselor all on your own is a good idea but you can also accompany your family or partner if you feel so.
  • Before getting involved in counseling, you have the right to ask few questions to the therapist regarding his profession and ways of treatment. If only, you feel confident and trust the person, you should go ahead. Any unprofessional and inexperienced counselor may impact you in negative manner.

Postpartum Care

A postpartum woman needs extra care and support to recover physically, mentally and emotionally. She may face varied kind of health issues. However, the support, love and care of family and friends can help her resolve all these issues.

  • Postpartum period is the golden period in which you are advised to eat, sleep and relax as much as you can. So, why not take advantage of the same. Sleep as and when your baby sleeps. Take plenty of rest and let your household chores wait until later.
  • Take help of medical care in case of low mood and lack of confidence and motivation. The medications help you provide energy so that you can re-engage with your social and private life happily.
  • The feeling of being tired and lethargic can make even the simple tasks difficult or even impossible. This again can lead to depression. You can help yourself by motivating yourself for the tasks. Though, seems impossible but trying again and again can make things go easier.
  • Most often tiredness will keep you stick to your bed, but try it get out of it and clean it immediately. Cleaning your bed makes you feel that you are not going in it again. However, a messy bed always invites you to lay down more and more.
  • Join the company of supportive and positive people so that it pumps up your mood. With baby, you might not find enough time to plan such meetings but try to extract only few minutes for yourself. Take good care of yourself and share feelings with your loved ones.
  • Post delivery, women generally make unrealistic expectations with her when it comes to parenting and motherhood. Nevertheless, such expectations only end with frustration and defeat. So, better make realistic ones, start with small work and short term goals. As you will recover, you will gain energy, time and enthusiasm to work more.
  • Often the household chores, baby demands and your own physical conditions make you lose patience and become irritated. Yet, be patient, or you will gain nothing.

Postpartum Diet Plan

According to the studies, a healthy diet plays a significant role in recovery and development of physical body, and prevention of mental illness. A healthy and nutritious diet for a postpartum woman is one which provides adequate carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Such diet ensures the patient to be strong enough to meet the physical and mental demands of child birth, breastfeeding, and baby care.

Some important dietary components for a lactating mother:

Calcium: Calcium in diet is very important for muscle relaxation, blood coagulation and transmission of nerve impulses. Along with this, it also promotes teeth and bones care. A lactating mother often loses her bone calcium which has to be recovered from the diet only. The recommended daily allowance for the same is 1000 mg/day. If your diet does not fulfill your calcium requirements, you may also be asked for some calcium supplementation.

Iron: Dietary requirements of iron are more essential in the cesarean cases where blood loss is more. Besides that in normal delivery also, your post partum diet must include appropriate amount of iron to prevent you from diseases like anemia, thalassaemia, etc. You can fulfill your requirements through cereals, beef, liver, potatoes, watermelon, spinach, raisins, prunes, etc.

Proteins: Proteins are found in high level in meat, fish, milk, legumes, lentils, egg, nuts, paneer etc which are necessary to be taken in your diet to ensure healthy and continuous supply of the proteins having necessary amino acid for the brain functioning.

Fish: The low quantity of saturated fat in fishes makes them highly recommended and widely promoted for the health of postpartum women. Fish is a good source of vitamins, zinc, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Taking omega-3 fatty acids are quite essential through diet for the healthy brain development as it is not produced in the body. So, even if you are a vegetarian or want to avoid fish, you must take some supplements for it advised by the doctor.

However, one must be cautious while consuming the same as they can be a source of industrial pollutants like mercury or polychlorinated biphenyls. Such pollutants can bring neurological, behavioral and memory defects in the mother and the child.

Tips to get benefited with your Healthy Diet

  • A lactating mother should keep her fluid level to an appreciable level so as to prevent thirst and constipation. Breastfeeding causes lot of fluid loss from the body which needs to be recovered through the healthy and nutritious fluids. Being less on fluids can cause headaches and fatigue.
  • There is no harm in consuming small amounts of alcohol and occasional intake of caffeine for a postpartum woman but yes, the higher quantities are strictly prohibited. The excessive intake can interfere with the milk productivity. Apart from this, it can also affect sleep patterns, milk intake and impaired motor development in the child.
  • Divide your diet in 4-5 portions in a day and each portion must consist of green leafy vegetables and fruits. Eating regularly will maintain your blood sugar to healthy levels.
  • Snack onto some healthy things like some fruits or raw veggies if you feel hungry in between the two meals.
  • If you are worrying about your weight loss, cut your fat and sugar intake. But do not mistaken yourself by cutting your daily calorie requirement as it will not serve any purpose in weight loss but will only cause weakness, fatigue and irritation within you.
  • A woman may undergo constipation issues in her postpartum period due to relaxed muscle tone, change in eating and drinking habits. Taking high fiber diet with plenty of fluids can help to ease bowel movements.

Some don’ts with the Postpartum Diet

  • Do not use canned or jars food as they are processed ones and contain harmful additives, sweeteners, salts and preservatives.
  • Pick up only healthy foods in appropriate quantities from the market so that you do not fall upon the unhealthy foods and also could avoid overeating.
  • Do not indulge in too much of sugar and simple carbohydrates as they may trigger mood swings.
  • Do not miss any meal as this can bring irritation, mood swings and exhaustion in you.
  • Avoid food which is rich in salmonella, listeria or e-coli bacteria.

A healthy and nutritious diet consisting of frequent meals will help you recover soon. Further, it also promotes healthy development of your child through your breastfeed. It also helps you in coping with depression and anxiety issues after delivery.

Postpartum Exercise

The physiologic and morphologic changes in the body of a postpartum woman make it impossible to indulge in any physical activity. Though, exercise may seem to be a profound thing amidst the incredible changes in your lifestyle after baby but studies revealed that exercising in postpartum period will work for your physical as well as mental health. The best part of it is that along with emotional healing and supporting health, it also increases lactic acid levels in the milk without affecting breastfeeding.

Tips to do Postpartum Exercises

  • You can start with your exercise once you feel physically fit and recovered. The exercise program can last for 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
  • Start with some moderate exercise in which you breathe heavier than normal and may feel hot in the end. You can also take up some gentle walk around. Need not turn sweaty.
  • You can join some postpartum exercise program so that along with physical fitness, you are benefitted with the mutual support from other new moms and get facility of child care.
  • Kegal exercises are beneficial for postpartum women who require contraction and relaxation of pelvic muscles. Brisk walking, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, swimming, cycling, light weight training are other recommended post partum exercises.
  • To follow a regular and effective exercise regimen, you can take help of some DVDs or videos related to it.
  • As the breasts become tender and swollen, you should wear an appropriate bra to ensure good support during exercise.
  • If time is a constraint, you can consume your baby walk time for exercising by walking fast with the baby stroller in the mornings and evenings.
  • Before taking up any exercise, you must consult your doctor as it depends on your obstetric and medical history and also how easily and quickly you are recovering physically. Women with C-section or any complicated delivery may need to wait more before starting with any such exercise.

Benefits of Postpartum Exercises

  • Stimulates higher endorphins release which makes you feel happier.
  • Serotonin and dopamine level in improved that help in preventing mood swings and improving memory.
  • You get good sleep, which makes you feel relaxed.
  • Minimizes your anger, stress, tiredness, frustration and tension caused due to postpartum depression.
  • Physically you may feel fit as it helps in weight loss.
  • Gives strength, flexibility, endurance and stamina to your body.
  • Immune system gets improved so that you become less susceptible for the common and infectious diseases.
  • While exercising, you will have “feel good” moments which keep you happy and energetic down the day.

Giving birth to a baby is like a re-birth to the mom. She gets a new life overcoming all the risks and hazards related to pregnancy, delivery and birth. Therefore, she must be well taken care of to let her recover in healthy manner. After all, only a healthy mother can raise a healthy child.