Now you have baby to care for, it is easy to forget about yourself. However, looking after yourself after pregnancy is just as important, as your baby needs you to be as healthy as you can be!
Here are a few tips for keeping healthy after giving birth:
The first few weeks after giving birth, are the most important time to get some rest.
If possible, rest or sleep when baby does and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and family are often wanting to help you out so make the most of this!
It is recommended you drink 8 large glasses of fluid each day, especially if you are breast feeding. Some good choices are; water, juice and milk.
Check with your doctor when it is safe to start exercising as it can be a great way to reduce back pain, build muscle tone and strength and lose the weight you may have gained during pregnancy.
It is also common for women’s stomach muscles to separate during pregnancy, this usually goes back to normal within about 8 weeks after giving birth. However, regular pelvic floor and stomach muscle exercises can help to reduce the size of the separation. It’s also important to be aware of your posture as many women suffer from back pain during pregnancy and after giving birth.
Walking is a great way to exercise after pregnancy as it doesn’t put too much stress on your body, and you can take baby along in a pram to enjoy the walk with you.
Taking a walk is also a great way to take a break and get out the house or talk to friends and family and other adults.
There are many exercise classes available which allow you to include baby. This could include Mum and Baby yoga classes.
It is best to avoid lifting anything heavier than baby, especially if you have had caesarean section. Something important that many women don’t know is that heavy lifting causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and if your core (pelvic floor) can’t manage that pressure, then your organs will continue to move down and eventually out!
Get plenty of protein. Eat plenty of protein rich foods such as; meat, fish, cheese and beans. Protein will help you recover from childbirth and keep your body strong.
Eat Fruit and Veg. Try to make half your plate fruit and vegetables. Fruit and veg contain a lot of healthy minerals.
Lose weight safely. Talk to your doctor about safely losing weight after your baby is born. Losing weight too quickly can affect your breast milk supply. Do not take diet pills. They contain harmful drugs that can be passed to your baby through breast milk.
Take prenatal vitamins. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins. If you run out, take a multivitamin containing iron.
Limit junk foods. Don’t worry, you don’t need to completely cut out your favourite snacks. Fizzy drinks, biscuits, donuts, crisps and chips are okay sometimes, just don’t let them take the place of healthy foods!
Foods/ drinks To Avoid when Breastfeeding
Some food and drinks can be harmful to you and baby when breastfeeding, everything you eat and drink while you’re breastfeeding can find its way into your breast milk. Some foods and drinks to avoid include:
Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel and Tilefish: These fish contain high levels of mercury. Mercury is harmful to your growing baby’s brain. If you eat tuna, it is okay to eat up to 6 ounces of canned tuna a week but make sure to choose light tuna.
Caffeine can also be bad for your baby; caffeine can affect your baby’s growth. So, if drinking tea or coffee, it is best to opt for decaf.
Alcohol should also be avoided as this can pass to your baby through breastmilk and can harm your baby’s brain and body development. However according to the NHS an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your breastfed baby. More information on drinking alcohol while breastfeeding can be found on the NHS Website.
The NHS Website has a lot more information on taking care of your body post pregnancy, including suggested exercises you can do.