Maternity Care: Is merely surviving childbirth enough?
Pregnancy often causes tremendous change to your body, but the changes don’t stop once you’ve delivered your baby. The recovery timeline may differ from one mother to another, and you may also be experiencing tons of physical and emotional changes at the same time.
As a new mom, there might be chances that you aren’t aware of possible complications or are too embarrassed to discuss your symptoms. Therefore, new mothers must opt for consistent maternity care as many were left weak and anaemic after childbirth.
What comes to mind when you think of maternity care?
For expectant mothers, pregnancy care would consist of prenatal (before birth) and postpartum (after birth). To ensure a healthy pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and labour & delivery, treatments and trainings are required for mom and baby.
What is prenatal care?
To nurture good health for mother and baby, prenatal care is essential as it helps to decrease risks during pregnancy and increases the chance of a safe and healthy delivery. Regular prenatal visits let your health care provider spot health problems early.
Mothers who lack prenatal care are at risk of giving birth to babies with low birth weight. Prenatal care is extremely important as newborns with low birth weight are five times more likely to die than those whose mothers who don’t.
When does prenatal care usually start?
It ideally should start at least three months before you begin trying to conceive. It is advisable to follow these healthy habits:
- To quit smoking and alcohol intake
- Consume folic acid supplements daily (400 to 800 micrograms)
- Have a talk with your doctor about your current medical conditions, your dietary supplements consumption, and any over-the-counter or prescription drugs that you take
- Best to avoid all contact with toxic substances and chemicals at home or work that could be harmful
What is postpartum care?
The first six weeks after childbirth refers to the postpartum period. It is a period of adjustment and healing for mothers. During these weeks, it is the perfect moment for you to bond with your baby. You will also be scheduled for post-delivery checkup sessions with your doctor.
Adjusting to motherhood
As your body has undergone many changes during pregnancy and birth, you need time to recover. Even though you’re no longer “eating for two,” your body still needs to restore a lot of important nutrients.
After delivery, you need to eat a healthy and balanced diet so you can stay active and able to care for your baby. After all, you have just spent the last nine to 10 months growing a human being!
While many mothers may be very tired or busy caring for their baby, you should not forget to plan simple, postpartum nutrition healthy meals.
Put simply, eating in a way that nourishes your body has never been more important.
Click here to read more tips on adjusting to your new motherhood life
- Getting plenty of rest – To cope with tiredness and fatigue, get as much sleep as possible when you can as your baby may wake up every two to three hours for feeding.
- Seek help as needed – Don’t turn down help from family and friends during the postpartum period, as well as after this period. Friends or family can prepare meals, run errands, or help care for other children in the home. Your body needs to heal, and practical help around the home can help you get much-needed rest.
- Maintain healthy eating habits – Consuming a healthy diet helps to promote healing. Try to increase your intake of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and protein. You should also increase your fluid intake, especially if you are breast-feeding.
- Get the advice from your doctor to know when it is okay for you to exercise – Up your energy level by doing non-strenuous exercises such as walking. The change of scenery is refreshing and will help to ease your mind.
Nutrition after childbirth: Why is it important?
Taking care of yourself is fundamental during the transition to motherhood. It can be a challenging time to adjust to everyday life after the birth of a baby especially if you’re a new mother.
During this time, mothers should take the chance to adapt and develop the new normal. You might experience sleepless nights due to feeding your baby or changing diapers. But don’t worry too much; you will soon fall into a routine. However, you too need to prioritise your well-being at the same time. Here are some tips for adjusting to your new routine:
Click here to read some tips to nurse your body back to health
- Wholesome postpartum meals
Choose warm, digestible foods such as soups and stews that make a great foundation for convenient postpartum meals.
- Drink, drink and drink!
The more fluids you consume, the faster your body can rebuild and regenerate. Drink 10 to 15 glasses of water a day to help you quench your thirst and produce enough breast milk.
- Support tissue repair by eating collagen-rich food
There could be instances where mothers experience hair loss after giving birth. Collagen is a superfood for rebuilding tissues, and many new moms swear by it for helping with postpartum hair loss.
- Add anti-inflammatory food to your plate
Consider adding these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:
- A wide variety of fresh, colourful vegetables (especially leafy greens)
- Fruits and berries
- Iron-rich proteins like grass-fed beef, buffalo, lamb, bison, liver, and bone broths
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and pasture-raised butter
- Fatty, low-mercury fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines
- Moderate amounts of gluten-free, nutrient-rich grains like rice, millet, quinoa, oats, etc.
- Probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut help maintain a healthy gut, which helps quell inflammation throughout your body while improving digestion
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