Post-natal care for the urbanite mom
UNICEF estimates that there are approximately 830 million or more working women around the world having to juggle between demands at work having returned from maternity leave, and continuing to breastfeed their newborn babies.
Many new mothers would realise that a lot of things in their bodies may have changed through the pregnancy period and more evidently, after delivery. It is, unquestionably, not easy coping with such changes and having to balance between caring for your body and caring your child at the same time. With the right post-natal care and diet plan, however, things might be a little easier for these working new mothers.
Easier said than done, what is the right post-natal care and diet plan a new mother should be aware of?
In terms of food, not only a mother who solely breastfeeds her baby will require slightly more food than any average woman, but she will also need to revisit her entire diet plan based on how much of the baby's diet is breast milk.
Nutritional food aside, a new mother needs to ensure she is not drained out breastfeeding her child, and that brings us back to having the right post-natal care to ensure that both the baby and mother are take care of throughout the first 4-6 months of delivery. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommends postnatal care of the mother and newborn, and encourages various governmental bodies around the world to introduce post-natal programmes for working and non-working mothers alike.
Take for instance, in Malaysia, we have Marie France Bodyline which provides excellent post-natal care programmes which not only addresses recovery of your body from delivery but also from pregnancy conditions such as weight gain and replacement of healthy body cells by fat cells.
Most post-natal programmes by any organisation are tailored according to WHO standards, and in most cases, documented and individualised postnatal care plans are developed with the new mother, ideally in the antenatal period or as soon as possible after birth.
If the new mother had already signed up for post-natal care programmes prior to delivery, she will be offered opportunity to talk about her birth experiences and to ask questions about the care she received during labour. This will ensure that such new mothers are mentally and physically prepared to face the various physical and hormonal changes faced during the recovery period.
The Marie France Bodyline's post-natal care programme, for example, is scientifically designed to help the new mother's recovery through breastfeeding and lose weight quickly through healthy, manageable methods. Weight gain in a pregnant mother happens in many ways and due to many reasons, from the expansion of the uterus to build up of placenta and amniotic fluids in the body and from accumulation of fats in new areas of the body to growth of breast tissues. New mothers under the post-natal care will be made to understand that such weight gain during pregnancy is normal and it is not the end of everything; it will be possible to lose the excess weight gained during the 9 month pregnancy period through the first 6 months of post-delivery.
A mother experiences tremendous changes throughout the pregnancy journey mainly due to the increase of the hormones, and weight gain itself could be something disturbing to the mind during and post-pregnancy. Further, some changes that occur during pregnancy could be permanent or could sometimes revert to normal, depending on individuals. For instance, if one were to be having appetite fluctuation during pregnancy and increased appetite post-delivery, there will not much changes to body weight. And this could be depressing to some new mothers, coupled with other hormonal disturbances in the body.
Under the right care and watch, you will be consuming the right food that will not only help with breastfeeding but also aimed at weight loss. There are many guides online on what to eat and what not to. But you may need less or more of these foodstuffs depending on your breastfeeding needs. Do however watch out on foods containing calories. Some women find it difficult losing the weight they gained during pregnancy, and if that's happening to you, may you want to control your “empty calories” intake. Often referring to the calories from added sugars and solid fats, you might want to stay away from sugar-sweetened soft drinks/sodas, fruit drinks or teas, hot dogs, sweetened cereals, candies, ice cream, desserts, fried foods and biscuits.
Generally and just as every post-natal care expert would say, if you could maintain the positive elements gained during pregnancy, such as the rosy skin, healthier lifestyle and good blood flow, and lose the negative elements such as the skin discolouration, stretchmarks, fluid retentions and enlarged waistline, you are probably on the right track towards recovery and there is nothing much to be stressed about.