Maintaining Energy in the Post Partum Period
As a new mum, you can fight fatigue by ensuring adequate protein levels are met. Protein, a major nutrient composed of amino acids, is a valuable nutrient found in many foods, which helps to regulate blood glucose levels and provides a long lasting form of energy. It can be sourced from legumes such as peas, lentils, alfalfa and the many ranges of beans available. Meat and fish are other great sources of easily digestible protein with white meat being leaner than darker meats. Nuts are also good protein sources, especially raw almonds which are considered an important support for a breastfeeding mother.
A daily intake of at least 65g protein is recommended for the post partum period.
The downside of upping your protein intake is that some women can over produce intestinal gas when digesting protein. This may contribute to baby colic. To avoid this occurring drink Nursing tea, which contains Fenugreek, Anise, Caraway and Fennel. Also, try cooking with these digestive herbs. They reduce wind production and have the additional benefit of improving the quality of breast milk. Lentils, beans and meats are often well complemented by the flavours of these culinary herbs as well as Dill, whether in a soup, casserole or cooked into rice.
The weight gain during pregnancy is around 10-15kg, and this is mostly comprised of the weight of the baby and the increases in fluids, fat, the placenta and other aspects of the pregnancy that support the baby. The uterus will begin to shrink and contract again during the post-partum period, and this process can be aided by continuing to drink raspberry leaf tea which is a great tonic for the uterus. Applications of moisturising and healing lotions (high in vitamin C) or Pregnancy Body Oil (highly nourishing), will help heal the skin and reduce stretch marks. Drinking more fluids in general will help to safely trim down in the postpartum period as it stimulates natural detoxification and boosts bowel activity.
When it comes to losing excess weight after birth, make friends with soluble fibre!
Increasing fibre in the diet is a nutritional method of losing weight, as fibre binds to fats and helps with their excretion from the body. Eating enough of this will also improve bowel function and detoxification. It is an important dietary food for healthy digestion and weight loss, and also helps to regulate mood. Sources of soluble fibre include fruit, legumes, whole-grain cereals and vegetables. Other important foods are oats, beans, figs, bananas and prunes.
After birth high levels of the hormone Progesterone tends to over-relax the bowel, which may become lazy. By softening bowel movements, soluble fibre improves bowel activity and can heal haemorrhoids, which are common after a vaginal birth.
Healthy weight loss depends largely on two things, exercise and nutrition.
Apart from limiting saturated fats or highly refined foods in the diet, specific nutrients can help with gradual healthy weight loss in the post partum period such as B group vitamins. These are involved in metabolic processes and help to boost energy. You will find these in leafy green vegetables, meats, fruit, seeds and nuts. Vitamin C is important for supporting skin health and is a good anti-oxidant. It repairs damage caused by unhealthy food choices and other stressors on the body.