Diet and Exercise After Giving Birth: How Important Is It?

Having a baby changes a woman’s life forever, and she may need to give up some things in order to focus on motherhood. From pregnancy to childbirth, a mother experiences a lot of changes both physically and emotionally. It is normal to gain weight during pregnancy to support the needs of the growing fetus. But sad to say, after child birth, some of the excess weight doesn’t seem to go away. Most women struggle to lose the weight they have gained, and often they feel frustrated and give up on getting back to their pre-pregnant weight.

Diet and exercise after giving birth are very essential not just in losing the excess pounds gained as the mother but also in maintaining the overall health as a woman, making her fit to nurse her newly born baby.

Postpartum Exercise
You can get a lot of benefits from postpartum exercise. Aside from losing the excess weight put on during pregnancy, exercise can alleviate postpartum depression, which is a matter of concern and should not be taken lightly.

Unlike dieting, exercising will not interfere with the mom’s ability to breastfeed. Experts suggest that a woman must keep in mind that she should ease her way into exercising again. She should wait a couple of weeks after delivery to start exercising, commonly six weeks after a vaginal birth and eight weeks after a cesarean birth.

Engage first in low impact exercises such as walking, swimming or yoga. Having a personal exercise program and doing the exercise together with a close friend or a fellow new mother helps a woman stick to her exercise regimen and not give up so easily right away. It is important to have someone who can continue to provide motivation, and lots of it.

Postpartum Diet
Next to exercising, a healthy diet is the best way to lose your pregnancy pounds. It is important to talk to the doctor about what foods are important for the continuing health of both the mother and the baby. Focus on nutrition, not on weight-loss diets!

Since there is a significant amount of blood loss during labor and delivery, it is important to eat iron-rich foods (especially if you are breast-feeding) and keep taking prenatal supplements to help recover from the amount of blood loss during intrapartum.

If the woman is not breastfeeding and aiming for a safe and gradual way to lose weight, try to eat about 300 fewer calories per day than you needed during pregnancy.

If breast-feeding, however, add 300 calories to what you needed during pregnancy; the baby’s nutritional needs outweigh the need for a slim body.

World Health Organization suggests that a good diet for a postpartum mother is to eat a healthy balance of carbohydrates and protein to keep the energy up.

Include good fats such as those found in olive oil and avocados to the diet. To get the most nutritional value with the lowest levels of calories and fat, eat lots of whole grains, legumes, and leafy green vegetables. If you do it right, you will notice a great improvement on your health and image!

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