Nothing is same once you become pregnant. And then there is Postpartum.
Diana had lost 3-4 kilos before pregnancy. She had managed inch loss as well. Her personality revealed her love for exercising, aerobics and everything related to maintaining health. She even exercised during pregnancy to stay fit and healthy. After delivery of her baby, everything changed. She used to exercise and all but there was a kind of lethargy that gripped her. She was even not regular in exercising. One of the other problems that she faced was mindless eating because of hunger pangs. The breastfeeding phase too took a toll on her health. Improper posture and not eating a balanced diet induced stubborn belly fat.
Not just Diana, I think this happens in the case of many women. And that includes me as well. My body has changed post pregnancy. I loved my earlier self. However, the only thing I can do now is exercise. Repentance will not give good results. The problem with many women is that they are not aware about maintaining health before, during and after pregnancy. Even if they do know something, there are certain grave mistakes they commit which could have been avoided. And this is not due to ignorance but it is for the sake of recovering faster. Avoid these mistakes to recover properly and not quickly post delivering the baby.
Mistake 1 – Inadequate Rest
Rest is overvalued during postpartum phase. If you think the same, then you are wrong here. It is quite difficult to work immediately post delivering, whether it is a normal one or a c-section. If you are a new mother, it can be very difficult for you to cope. You would miss your earlier life and catching up on work. However, the most important thing as of now is adequate rest. Yes, you can move around and do some simple chores. But, stressing yourself to do everything as earlier is a big no-no. Be it household chores or losing weight, everything can seriously wait. Many people might advise you that normal deliveries are quite easy and you should start working now. My advice is not to pay heed to such advices. Doing too much in a day might harm your health in the long run. Some women even suffer from permanent backaches due to wrong decisions. Rest for at least six to eight weeks is required.
Mistake 2 – Intense Workouts
Working out is must, without any doubt. However, how much and what types is very important. Your body is not that strong immediately after delivery. Yes, your friend might have started on intense workouts but the body type of every woman is different. In spite of the fact that you are able to do it, it is highly advisable to check with your fitness instructor or obstetrician. You should have adequate stamina and strength for the same. Further, you should wait till the bleeding stops before you begin running or other intense sessions. Your pelvic floor becomes weak after delivery. If you do not pay heed to the signs, then you might suffer from problems like incontinence and pain, at the later stages in life.
You might be surprised to know that even breastfeeding is a kind of exercise. It helps you shed weight. Taking your kiddo for a walk in the stroller is equally good for your health and weight.
Mistake 3 – Wrong Exercise
Not only should you do away from intense workouts but also from wrong exercises. Post delivering a baby, mommies should make sure that they do not do any exercise that harms their health, immediately or even in the longer run. It takes nine months to gain baby weight, it might take similar or more months to reduce the gained weight. Women should not try to emulate other new mothers in reducing weight as the metabolism of every person varies. Breastfeeding helps in shedding extra pounds. It even helps in speeding up your metabolism. Stay away from abdominal strengthening workout till at least six weeks post delivering.
Do not stress your abdomen much like lifting heavy objects even after pregnancy for some time. Even avoid sit-ups for a flatter belly. Contrary to popular perceptions, doing sit-ups might slow down your weight loss post delivering. Instead of sit-ups, opt for pelvic floor exercises. Also, do not opt for running immediately. Running being a high impact exercise can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Walking is highly recommended in the beginning. It will build your stamina and even keep depression at bay. Keep the posture in mind while walking. Opt for comfy pace in the beginning. You should go for kegels. It helps restore your pelvic health. However, before opting for any kind of exercise, take the advice of your health care provider. Also keep time duration in mind. Do not stretch yourself too much.
Mistake 4 – Improper Posture
Women, I made this mistake and ended up with belly fat. I would like all of you to avoid it at all costs. Ask your health provider, gym instructor or an expert to guide you towards the right posture. Make sure you stick to it. Right from pregnancy to delivery and during breastfeeding too, your body posture should be correct. At times, you do not put on weight due to pregnancy but because of not sitting, standing or walking right. We carry our little babies all the time and everywhere. If we are not aware how to handle a baby, then it might damage the shape of our body. While feeding the baby, you should keep the back straight. You should not feed the baby in a hunched-over posture or carry her on your side. Such postures result in backaches or even shoulder injuries. You might even find it difficult to lose weight. For breastfeeding, get a special cushion designed for this purpose. Support your back all the time. Carry your baby in the front or behind you so that the weight gets divided.
Mistake 5 – The Wrong Diet Plan
I will not blame you for this. Post delivering, you are quite tired but you want to fit into that little black dress quickly. There is no one to guide you except the friendly internet. You search for diet plans and whatever suits you gets adopted or even adjusted in your lifestyle. In the midst of all this, you even eat the leftovers of the baby that are loaded with fat,at times. The first thing I will advise is not to adopt a diet blindly. Instead of dieting, make lifestyle changes. Take the help of an expert dietician who will plan something out for you, taking your circumstances into account. If you are planning something on your own, then please do not cut down on carbohydrates from your diet.
During the breastfeeding phase, you need tons of energy. And where does this energy come from? Carbohydrates! If your diet is sans the carbs, you will crave for sweets. Will you be able to deny them when the body needs it? Instead of that, I would suggest eating slow carbohydrates that would supply the required source of energy throughout your routine. Examples of such carbs are wholegrain foods, apples, plums, black beans, artichokes, sweet potato, legumes, asparagus and others. I would also recommend you to stay away from foods that are labeled with ‘diet’. The presence of sugar, preservatives, sodium and other things in the diet food do more bad to the health than good. They should not be consumed, especially during postpartum.
Plan your meals just like you plan the meals of your little one. Stick to the plan. When you do not plan your meals, you cook whatever can be cooked instantly. This is harmful for the health. Planning not only saves time but also benefits health. Do not eat the leftovers of your baby. Refrigerate it and reuse it creatively. Stay away from mindless eating. Do not miss your breakfast or any other meal. Keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy options.
Mistake 6 – Sleep
Aha! Sleep. It is bliss even though my tot is over 2 now. With kids, a good sleep is a myth. Kids are capable of messing up anything and everything even during your catnap. However, not getting required sleep during postpartum can lead to some problems. If you do not sleep well, it might make it difficult for you to lose weight. You need to sleep well to recover faster. There are so many benefits of sleep during postpartum. You heal quickly and you even get to spend time your baby. A good quality sleep is good for both, you and your baby. Try to sleep whenever it is possible for you. Do not work much when your baby is asleep. Even if you are not sleepy, take adequate rest. Just lying down too helps a lot. Your body needs seven to eight hours of sleep post delivering. Enjoy your sleep. Sleeping with the baby is one of the most beautiful things in life.
Mistake 7 – Hydration
Water is a secret drink. You will not realize its benefits unless you do not drink it. If you are a new mother who is constantly busy with the baby, then you need to replenish your body with this magic drink. Your body requires a lot of water to recover post delivering the baby. Lack of hydration can result in several health problems. Water even helps you a lot if you are breastfeeding. If you are trying to lose weight, then realize the difference between hunger and thirst. Your mind often gets confused and you get up to take a bite from the kitchen, whereas you should be taking a sip from the bottle. To make sure that you are drinking enough water, keep a bottle handy. Measure it and vow to complete it before going to bed. I am not mentioning the size of the bottle – you should drink minimum 6-8 glasses of water.
Mistake 8 – Multi-Tasking
Your postpartum leaves will be over soon. You need to put the home in order. Do the laundry. Organize the wardrobe. Replenish the pantry. Exercise. And yes, not forget the baby as well. You are a super duper new-age mother. What you should be not is a multitasking mom, as of now. When you multi-task, your concentration goes for a toss and you might end up with a problem or two. You mind is always thinking about the baby even while you already engaged in a work. So, when you try achieving two tasks together along with thinking about the baby, then there will be something that does not go right.
Another wrong thing is multitasking while you are eating. We try to fit in morsels in our mouth as quickly as possible, before the baby wakes up or pees or poops or spills something. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes. For maintaining your health, you need to eat slowly, eat properly, control the portion and focus just on food. Post pregnancy, you will need to develop a habit of proper eating. Or else, you will become a bad eater for lifetime. This is because now you are a mother and the baby will always be your first priority. You need to inspire your kid on eating habits. Do not fill your plate before sitting down for dinner. Do not drink fluids in between. Arrange an activity for the kid before you begin eating. Do not watch television, check social media updates or talk to someone while eating or making your baby eat.
Mistake 9 – Doing it Yourself
This is another grave mistake. To be self-reliant is one thing and never to take others’ help is another thing. Post delivering the baby, there are so many things that need your attention, sometimes at the same time. If you do everything on your own, there might be some things that go wrong. You need to take the help of experts and your near and dear ones to get this phase going smoothly. Firstly, do not always opt for home remedies. Judge the situation and take steps accordingly. Further, consult a health expert in helping you lost weight and recover faster. Take the help of your friends with elder kids by forming a support group. If your family is around, let them handle the baby while you rest. If you face any kind of physical problem, consult your gynecologist. Do not ignore any signs.
In the End
There are so many myths that need to be debunked during pregnancy and post that. Like my friend was advised not to wear brassiere at all during the breastfeeding phase. This made her and her daughter suffer from cough and cold due to dampness. Instead, you should invest in a good support bra, which helps you in exercising for long duration. While exercising, make sure that you do not harm your joints as your body has not yet recovered completely. If you are not able to work out in a scheduled manner, try to fit in exercises in your schedule, whenever it is possible. Postpartum is just a passing phase – you will never be like this all your life. You need to enjoy this phase, stay happy, eat well, spend time with your little one and exercise whenever it is possible. You just need to be smart in achieving all this, simultaneously. Happy recovery to you!