Postnatal nutrition – what to eat after pregnancy?
As a dietitian involved in Women’s Health, including nutrition in pregnancy and also seeing new mums post delivery, a question I often get asked is ‘Is what I eat once I’ve delivered the baby important?’
In short, whether you are breastfeeding or not, the answer is yes!
Understandable that being a new mum brings about different challenges, and worrying about what you are going to eat might seem overwhelming on top of it all.
However, a poor dietary intake can increase stress levels, tiredness and those overwhelmed feelings, particularly when added on top of this new mum business.
So what can be done? Well, here is some insight into the importance of nutrition during this time, looking at key nutrients, and what foods to try and include throughout the day.
Postnatal Nutrition is important for many reasons.
- After giving birth your nutrition is important to assist with the healing process
- Whilst breastfeeding, eating a nutritious diet is essential and can impact on your babies’ health.
- Your Nutrition can assist in boosting energy levels
- Your Nutrition can correct nutritional deficiencies
If you are breastfeeding, eating a healthy balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods will assist in meeting your nutrition requirements. Aiming to include foods such as wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat or meat alternatives, and healthy fats, and if no underlying nutritional deficiencies are present, supplementation should only be required for Omega 3, iodine and vitamin D whilst breastfeeding.
To boost energy levels whilst breastfeeding, avoiding quick sugar fixes is recommended, as well as avoiding relying on caffeine as an energy boost. Alternatively, aiming to eat small regular meals throughout the day (roughly every 3-4 hours), and choosing low GI foods (wholegrain bread, sweet potato, & yoghurt to name a few) to assist with sustaining energy.
Women often lose a lot of blood during childbirth, thus having a blood test to check your iron stores is important, ensuring they aren’t depleted contributing to low energy levels, and supplementation should be discussed with your medical practitioner if required.
Along with what foods to choose, during breastfeeding our fluid requirements are increased, thus ensuring we are drinking enough to minimise dehydration is key, and for further ideas on boosting your fluid intake check out our Hydration blog from January 2018 at http://www.discoverhealth.com.au/single-post/2018/01/20/Stay-hydrated-this-Summer
Trying to get outside each day for some fresh air will also assist with energy levels, and if you are looking at getting back into exercise, to ensure a safe return after having a baby, get in contact with your physiotherapist, who can assist you with the correct progression and support.
Or Check out the Free Educational Talk for ‘Returning Safely to Exercise (Postnatal)’ at Back in Motion Alphington on Wed 22nd August at 7pm. *For more information visit the Back in Motion Alphington Facebook site.
And if you find that you want further assistance in putting all of this information into your everyday life and everyday meals, including working out what foods are Low GI, one of our dietitian’s would be happy to assist you. Give us a call on 9431 4337.
Discover Health Dietetics