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Mother’s diet after birth
During pregnancy, your eating habits would have to change radically in order to increase the supply of nutrients needed for your baby’s development. After the birth of your baby, your diet still remains important, especially if you are breastfeeding. After delivery, you may focus all your attention on your baby, but you must also look after yourself by paying attention to your diet.
Weight management after delivery
Weight management after delivery is an important issue for any new mother. As advised by doctors, you should go for weight loss in a gradual manner in the postnatal period – without attempting any drastic measures such as starvation, which can threaten the health of both mother and the baby. Your goal, in this case should be to regain your shape before pregnancy in a more natural manner, as your body recovers in the post-pregnancy period.
First of all, you should prepare yourself mentally for the transformation. You should not compare yourself with other mothers or develop an obsession with weight loss. Your priority should be to support your baby in the first days of her life and to maintain good health for yourself and your baby.
Weight before and after birth
On an average, a pregnant woman gains about 12 to 13 kg during her pregnancy. The weight gain essentially consists of the body weight of the fetus (3.5 Kg), placenta (650 gm), amniotic fluid (1 Kg), enlarged uterus (1 Kg), mammary glands (600 gm), the increased volume of blood (1.2 Kg), accumulated fluids (2-5 kg) and other fat deposits (2-3 kg).
Immediately after the birth, the new mom has a surplus of uterine weight, blood volume, body fat, edema and mammary glands compared to a normal woman. Excess fluids leave the body in the first few weeks after pregnancy, whereas the uterus and the blood volume may need more time to get adjusted.
A pregnant woman who has gained about 12 kg during pregnancy will usually regain her old form in about 6 months if she continues breastfeeding and goes for a balanced diet. However, this recovery period is purely indicative, as every woman’s body has its own pace of getting back to her prior form. Doctors consider the range of up to 1-2 years after birth as a normal period to lose weight in a healthy manner.
Daily vitamins for breastfeeding
The milk that is fed to the baby increases the daily demand for vitamins, proteins and minerals for the mother.
This means, after the delivery, you would need a diet rich in nutrients to ensure a good supply of nourishing milk.
The good thing about breastfeeding is that it also helps the mother in losing her weight. One of the reasons why your body accumulates “reserves” in pregnancy is that it retains about 200-500 extra calories daily for breastfeeding your baby. When you breast feed your baby, the excess calories from your body disappear like magic.
If the mother’s body has a deficiency in certain nutrients – such as vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and iodine – breast milk can not offer enough nutrition for the baby. Therefore, it is recommended for moms to go for daily dietary supplements that provide essential vitamins.
Mothers, who consume about 2,200 calories each day, will need additional intake of magnesium, zinc, calcium, thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B6 and vitamin E. If your daily intake is of only around 1800 calories, you will need to eat more zinc, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin B2, iron and phosphorus.
Mothers who consume no animal products are exposed deficiencies in vitamin B12; they can overcome this deficiency by going for other foods or prescribed supplements high in vitamin B12. Mothers who have insufficient exposure to sunlight need to take vitamin D supplements. And, mothers who smoke are advised to go for an additional intake of iodine.
Post Pregnancy Diet tips
Eating right after your delivery is not that complex. You should include milk and other dairy products in your diet for calcium intake. Also, you should go for fruits, vegetables, whole grains and seeds, as they provide you fiber, vitamins and essential minerals and promote satiety.
Skinless poultry, fish, eggs and beans can provide you with important proteins needed for milk generation and body tissue repair. You should eat little and often: frequent meals improve digestion, keeping you away from hunger and calorie worries. After consulting with your doctor, you can start some light exercise for toning your body. Soon you will return to your old form, with a smile on your face.