During pregnancy, your body undergoes a series of physical and hormonal changes that leads to the depletion of essential nutrients. Childbirth leaves you exhausted and feeling weak. And for the first six weeks after giving birth, you should do everything it takes to regain your strength and health.
The postpartum period is critical to replenish all the nutrients you may have lost during childbirth and pregnancy. However, to adhere to the proper diet, you must understand your body’s postpartum nutritional needs. Once you grasp this well, nursing your body back to health becomes more effortless.
Understanding your Body’s Postpartum Nutritional Needs
Giving birth is strenuous. And as if that’s not enough, your body needs to meet other crucial newborn demands, such as breastfeeding.
Blood loss increases your risk of iron deficiency anemia. As a result, you must adhere to an iron-rich diet. Breastfeeding means that your body will require more calcium. This mineral not only supports the production of milk but also strengthens your bones.
Another problem that arises from blood loss includes the depletion of Vitamin B12. It is a vitamin that plays an integral role in the proper functioning of your nervous system and the formation of blood cells.
Pregnancy and childbirth put your tummy muscles under immense strain. And breastfeeding further leads to the loss of magnesium which is vital for the recovery of muscle function and energy metabolism.
Healthy Foods to Aid your Postpartum Recovery
Pregnancy and childbirth will leech off your vitamins, minerals, and fats. For this reason, you need to adhere to a specific nutrient-rich diet. Although you might want to supplement these needs with pills and vitamins, eating healthy meals is best for you and your newborn.
During this time, you will want to add about 500 calories daily to your regular diet. While at it, focus on the quality of the food you eat. Avoid the high-calorie and low-nutrient diet. Such foods won’t fuel your body. An excellent example of the best postpartum recovery foods include:
When it comes to postpartum recovery, bone broth is a superfood. It packs a lot of nutrients that can aid your recovery. These are amino acids and gelatin. They help to strengthen your bones and repair connective tissues. Bone broth boosts the production of thyroid hormone. This hormone, in turn, helps to regulate metabolism. Your body is, therefore, able to convert food into energy efficiently.
Thyroid hormones also play a crucial role in regulating your body temperature and supporting your cardiovascular and nervous systems. Bone broth contains a small amount of iron which can help replenish your body’s supply of red blood cells.
Leafy Greens and Fruits
Research shows that 2-3 women are likely to experience constipation during pregnancy and after giving birth. This is a condition that can make your postpartum recovery journey pretty uncomfortable.
Leafy greens, fruits, and berries are excellent postpartum recovery foods. Their nutritional composition includes fiber which prevents constipation and regulates digestion. These foods also contain vitamins A, C and minerals such as iron.
Fruits and berries are a source of hydration. They help replenish the fluids you may have lost during childbirth and breastfeeding. On top of that, they are rich in Vitamin which strengthens your immune system. And if you are worried about gaining weight, leafy greens are high in nutrients and low in calories. You can have them as much as you like without adding too much weight.
Lean proteins are amazing postpartum recovery foods. They are essential for building and repairing muscle tissues. So, after going through the physical stress of having a baby, chicken, turkey, fish, grass-fed beef, and fish should be on your menu.
After childbirth, your energy levels can be tremendously low. Sleep deprivation that comes with caring for a newborn worsens the situation. Eating proteins ensures that your body gets the much-needed energy during recovery.
.Your hormones change drastically post-childbirth, and breastfeeding leads to further hormonal fluctuations. The good news is that lean proteins can boost hormonal production and regulate them. Furthermore, proteins augment milk production and lactation.
Your body will need a quality source to keep up with the growing energy required to nurse your baby after childbirth. Whole grains are a rich source of healthy carbohydrates. Most importantly, they will meet the body’s energy requirements without causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
Whole grains such as brown rice and brazil nuts are excellent sources of minerals such as selenium, manganese, and magnesium. The dietary fiber in these foods can help keep constipation at bay. Additionally, the phytochemicals and antioxidants will boost your immunity and help you stay safe during postpartum recovery.
Adhere to Proper Hydration
As a nursing mother, you lose fluids in many ways. These include breastfeeding and sweating. Your body will use liquids to support milk production. That is why you need to drink water and other healthy beverages regularly. At the same time, avoid alcohol and caffeine during postpartum recovery, as these substances will dehydrate your body.
Ideal Postpartum Meal Plan
If you are wondering how to balance your postpartum diet, here is an ideal meal plan to emulate:
- Scrambled eggs with vegetables such as bell pepper, spinach, and onions
- Whole grain toast with avocado
- Whole grain oatmeal with nuts, berries, and honey
- Grilled chicken breast with a vegetable
- Whole grain bread with lentil soup
- Brown rice, grilled fish, and steamed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and green beans
- Baked sweet potatoes with salsa, black beans, and greek yogurt
- Roasted chickpeas
- Fresh fruit
- Yogurt and granola
- Whole grain crackers
You can model your meal plan to match your preferences. For example, you can start your day with a bowl of bone broth. And then proceed to have your breakfast.
Pregnancy and delivery drain your body in many ways. Besides that, you have to breastfeed your baby, which can affect your well-being. With proper nutrition, you can easily nurse your body back to health. The best approach is to adhere to a balanced diet at all times. Eat plenty of fruits, lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains. These types of foods will undoubtedly aid your postpartum recovery process.