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Postpartum Fatigue Busters

by Hannah Chow | April 20, 2015 1:00 AM
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Having a newborn might leave you feeling too exhausted for daily activities like cooking, cleaning, and showering. New babies eat between eight and 12 times per day and many new mothers return to work before their babies are sleeping through the night. This means that there is very little time to invest in your own well being. Are you experiencing postpartum fatigue caused from lack of sleep or poor nutrition decisions? If so, you might need to change your diet and exercise regime to start feeling like yourself again. Remember, a healthy mommy equals a healthy baby. Take care of yourself physically and psychologically to raise a healthy child.

Sustainable Energy

Find foods for sustainable energy: complex carbohydrates, protein, green veggies, and fruits. Brown rice is a great source for vitamins like B6 and magnesium. Both are necessary for your optimal metabolism balance. Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, breads, cereals, and rice are great sources of folic acid. Vitamin B6, magnesium, and folic acid helps to reduce nausea and fatigue caused from lack of sleep. Also, continue taking your prenatal vitamins post delivery to ensure your body is satisfying any vitamin deficiencies you might have. According to the experts at WebMD, "make sure you are getting all the right nutrients you and your baby need. It will benefit both of you," ... "Routinely eating healthy foods throughout the day will maximize the little energy you probably have as a new mom."

Top 5 Vegetables

Cucumbers are loaded with Vitamin B and electrolytes, necessary for staying hydrated, and cucumbers help with digestion, which can be a problem in postpartum recovery. Broccoli is high in calcium and fiber. Carrots help promote healthy teeth and gums. Sweet potatoes are a super food, packed with vitamin A and C. They boost the immune system and vitamin D helps to stabilize your mood. Lastly, spinach is a power food loaded with Vitamin A and K helping your nervous system function properly.

Top 5 Fruits

Kiwis are super fruits packed with vitamin C and help to regulate your blood sugar. Bananas are perfect to fight off any nausea and fatigue symptoms caused from lack of sleep. Apples help with endurance. Cherries are packed with antioxidants and help to regulate your sleeping schedule. Red grapes help prevent blood clots and are a great source for vitamin A.

Sleep

Have your significant other or support person watch the baby while you take a nap or simply nap when your baby naps. Make sure you are resting in between your babies feeding sessions. Even closing your eyes for a few minutes and practicing some breathing techniques can help with relaxation without having to drift off into a deep sleep. Weight gain is a symptom of postpartum fatigue. Lack of sleep can lead to stress eating and overindulgence in the wrong foods. Make sure you are eating foods for sustainable energy and not foods that are high in fat and sugar. Too much sugar in your diet can cause your mood and neurological senses to be out of balance.

Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is especially important for mommy and baby in those first few months after delivery. If you are breastfeeding, drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day or divide your body weight in half to calculate how many ounces you should be consuming daily. According to the healthcare specialists at UCSF Medical Center, exercise and high temperatures will increase your need for liquids. Therefore, if you are active or it is warm, make sure you keep hydrated and drink even more water.

Exercise

With a vaginal delivery, you can exercise fours weeks after and with cesarean section delivery, you can exercise six weeks after delivery, with your doctor's permission of course. Postpartum exercise is important to help your body recover from the labor and delivery of your child. Depression, anxiety, worry, and irritability are all common symptoms of postpartum fatigue. Exercise helps to increase the dopamine levels in your brain and improve your mood. Participating in activities that help you feel like yourself again, not just someone's mom or a fulltime feeding machine, will help to improve your mood as well.

Going on short walks is generally safe for most new mothers. Getting outside for fresh air and walking around the block can make a huge difference for new mothers with symptoms of fatigue. According to the health experts at South Shore Medical Center in Norwell, Massachusetts, you should stop exercising or call your clinician if you experience dizziness or faintness while walking, calf pain or swelling, and a rapid or uneven heartbeat.

What to Avoid

Avoid energy drinks, coffee, and sugar. They will make you crash within an hour or two and do not help with sustainable energy. Energy drinks, coffee, and sugar might provide the temporary boost you need to get through a morning or afternoon but after your blood sugar crashes, you will be craving foods high in starch, sugar, and fat. Processed foods are high in sodium, making your body retain water and can cause swelling. Instead, try activities that reenergize you. Since weight gain is a symptom of postpartum fatigue and because lack of sleep can lead to stress eating and overindulgence in the wrong foods, it is best to avoid the junk and reach for healthy options for long term energy.

Remember, this is temporary and will partially subside when the baby sleeps through the night. Since every child is different, hope that getting a good nights rest will come sooner than later. In the meantime, take care of your body, mind, and spirit so you can successfully take care of your little one.


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