While you’ve overcome the challenge of giving birth, the next stage you need to face is the recovery process.
After the delivery of your baby, your body will take time to heal. The time it will take to recover and return to normal will vary depending on several factors, including your body’s response to childbirth, rest, and nutritional intake. That said, you need to prioritise postpartum nutrition to ensure a speedy recovery.
The Importance of Postpartum Nutrition
Think about it: your body went through drastic changes to grow a baby inside your womb for nine months. Then, after that, you had to power through labour and delivery to rear your baby into this world. So, you might think that you’re past the finish line after all that happened to you. But that’s not truly the case.
As your body tries to heal after childbirth, you will undergo specific emotional and physical changes. What can help you during this phase is postpartum nutrition.
Postpartum nutrition is vital because it can help you optimise your health and aid your baby’s growth and development, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Some of its benefits include:
Speeding up your postpartum recovery
A well-balanced diet comprises complex carbs, healthy fats, proteins, and fibres to help your body heal. With the proper nutrition, you can prevent bone loss, replenish iron content, and support bowel movement.
The food you consume after delivery can play a significant role in the quality and quantity of breastmilk you supply.
Supporting your overall well-being
Besides preparing your body for breastfeeding and recovery, following an excellent maternal diet can support your well-being, from boosting your immunity to improving mobility and brain function.
Essential Nutrients and Foods
But before you can experience the benefits of postpartum nutrition, you first need to know what specific nutrients and foods are essential to incorporate into your diet. These include:
During delivery, your body would have lost a lot of iron. Therefore, you must replenish your body’s supply. Apart from this, you would also need to increase your iron stores to help support your baby’s iron supply as he breastfeeds. Supplying iron to your baby can aid optimal thyroid function and overall development.
Apart from supplements, you can find good sources of iron in red meat, oysters, green leafy vegetables, and clams.
Another essential nutrient is Vitamin B12. This vitamin is responsible for energy production, red blood cell development, and DNA formation. While it helps your body recover faster, it can also help your baby develop better, especially with regard to their brain growth and blood health.
If you want to increase your vitamin B12, you should eat tuna, beef, salmon, fortified cereals, and dairy.
DHA, scientifically known as docosahexaenoic acid, is essential for your health as it functions to enhance your mental focus, reduce inflammations, and minimise postpartum depression.
In terms of your baby’s health, DHA works to improve your infant’s vision and brain development during breastfeeding. To get the maximum effects of DHA, you need to eat foods like salmon, fortified eggs, and dairy products. If you’re vegan, you can find good DHA sources in edamame, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.
Similar to DHA, Vitamin D also helps support your brain and nervous system and reduce the risk of postpartum depression. But more than that, it can also boost the immune system to improve overall circulation and prevent infections.
The best sources of Vitamin D include orange juice, liver, fortified dairy, and oily fish. New mothers who are breastfeeding should take about 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
Finally, the last essential nutrient your body needs postpartum is collagen. It is a type of protein that makes up around one-third of your body’s total protein.
Collagen is the building block of healthy hair, nails, skin, and joints. It helps maintain the structure of your body and strengthens the integrity of connective tissues like your skin, cartilage, bones, and blood vessels. As such, it plays an integral role in your recovery.
Therefore, a good gynaecologist in Singapore recommends incorporating leafy greens, bone broth, fish, meat, eggs, citrus, avocado, kiwis, berries, carrots, tomatoes, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds in your diet to allow the effects of collagen to take root.
Improve Your Health Postpartum
With these nutrients in mind, you can create a diet plan that can help promote proper health for you and your baby. However, if you have specific nutritional requirements, consult with your gynaecologist in Singapore.