The postnatal period, or postpartum period, is the period right after the delivery or childbirth, and this is the period where the body will try to move back to pre-pregnancy state. This takes place over a period of six weeks. It can also take more time depending on the kind of body.
During the recovery period, the woman needs to take special care of her body, especially her nutrition and diet. As always, there will be much advice and misconceptions about how to set your diet during this recovery period. It will not be an odd thing to find out most of this advice is based on myths and there is little to no fact on the same.
Learn more about the Importance of ayurvedic care during postnatal period
In this blog, we are going to discuss some of the myths and misconceptions related to postnatal diet and get to the bottom of them.
Fact: Once after a woman gives birth, she will require all nutrients and even extra calories to get back to her old self and to produce enough breast milk for the baby. A low-calorie diet is definitely not advised, as it will induce more fatigue and lethargy, which can also contribute to slowing down the recovery process. Doctors suggest that the mother should consume a calorie rich and balanced diet that will help her in the process of postpartum recovery. It should include nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Fact: There are no specific food groups that should be completely avoided during the postnatal period. A particular food group is to be avoided only if the mother or the child is facing some digestive allergies because of the food. Sometimes, when the mother has immense formation of gas in her body, it is suggested that she avoid anything that falls under the bean category, spicy foods, cabbage, onions, etc. These foods can create a digestive issue in the baby and can also cause colic issues.
Fact: Avoiding fish completely from the postnatal diet is not ideal, as fish are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and can contribute to brain and eye development in babies. But, certain other fish that are high in mercury can deter the development of the baby. There are fishes that are low in mercury like salmon, sardines, trout, and limit the intake of fishes like shark, swordfish, etc.
Fact: While it is important to have enough calories to support the recovery process, you should also have enough nutrients to produce breast milk. Eating for two is not necessary. Eating too much food can actually make the mother overweight, and this extra weight gain can actually slow down the recovery process. It can also increase the risk of hypertension and diabetes.
Fact: Exercise is an important part of the postpartum recovery process. The exercise will help strengthen the body, improve the mood, and also help with depression that is caused postpartum. But do not go for high intensity and impactful exercises. Instead, start with gentle exercises like yoga, and also make sure to incorporate exercises that will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. And over time, make sure to gradually increase the exercises. Take the advice of a good healthcare professional before starting out on an exercise program.
Fact: A strict diet is a very bad addition to a healthy lifestyle, especially during the postnatal period. Rapid loss of weight is not good for both the mother and baby. It can lead to health problems, nutrient deficiencies, and other problems. Losing weight gradually at a slow pace is the best way to support the journey of motherhood during the postpartum period.
It is recommended to limit caffeine and alcohol consumption during the postnatal period, but it is not necessary to avoid them entirely. Caffeine consumption in moderation (less than 200 mg per day) is considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, whereas alcohol consumption should be limited to one drink per day and breastfeeding should be avoided for at least 2-3 hours after drinking.
While certain foods and supplements are thought to increase breast milk production, there is no scientific evidence to back this up. To maintain a consistent milk supply, it is recommended to stay hydrated, eat a balanced and nutritious diet, and breastfeed or pump on a regular basis.
These are just some of the myths associated with the postnatal period; there can be many more. Get some insight into the guidelines of how to follow the diet and postpartum works from your medical practitioner and follow them religiously to regain back your pre-pregnancy form. At Leelajani Ayur Care, we offer postnatal care for new mothers that incorporates traditional Ayurvedic practices to help with postpartum recovery and improve overall health.