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Sunday, September 16, 2007

POST PARTUM NUTRITION

POST PARTUM NUTRITION
A woman’s diet after delivery is just as important as how you ate during your pregnancy. A mother's body has undergone many changes during pregnancy, as well as with the birth of her baby. She needs to heal and recover from pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to rest, all mothers need to maintain a healthy diet to promote healing and recovery. A good and healthy diet helps in reducing common postpartum nutritional problems like constipation, fatigue, and anemia.
In the days and weeks after the birth of your baby getting the proper nutrition is especially important. Apart from recovering the tremendous stress of delivering your baby, you will need energy to face all of your new parental duties.
The weight gained in pregnancy helps build stores for your recovery and for breastfeeding. After delivery, all mothers need continued nutrition so that they can be healthy and active and able to care for their baby.
Whether they breastfeed or formula feed, all mothers need to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Most lactation experts recommend that breastfeeding mothers should eat when they are hungry. But many mothers may be so tired or busy that food gets forgotten. So, it is essential to plan simple and healthy meals.

Turn Back The Clock
If you turn back the clock, we will realize that in the past our grandmothers and great grandmothers, gave birth to half a dozen children, sometimes even more than that, worked hard at home, drawing several buckets of water from the well, grinding powders, masalas and batters using grinding stones, they worked hard for their livelihood without a prolapsed uterus, nagging back pain or bleeding and hysterectomies or an incisional hernea were never heard of.
In the yesteryears our grandmothers and great grandmothers insisted on a post poartum diet also known as “Pathyam”. Certain foods are not eaten during this period, especially foods that are difficult to digest and heavily spiced or deep fried food. The food served to the lady is usually prepared with less spices. Eating very strong and spicy food can also affect the baby’s system as what we eat gets passed on through the breast milk to our babies and the baby’s system is not strong enough to digest these and in turn the baby’s health can be affected. Nowadays, the young mothers, want to eat food of their liking within a few days of delivery, quite ignorant of their body system's helplessness and its effect on the fragile system of the baby, not realizing that “what you eat is what your baby gets”. Many may consider this old fashioned and wonder how relevant are these good old pieces of advice today.

Healthy & Balanced diet
The composition of certain micronutrients in breast milk is strongly dependant on maternal dietary intake and hence is needed in greater amounts during breast feeding.
For example:
Eating Whole-grain foods, which include oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, brown rice. These provide
carbohydrate. Carbohydrates supply energy to the body in the form of glucose, which is the only energy source for red blood cells and the preferred energy source for the brain and central nervous system. They are high in fibre content which helps in relieving constipation. Studies suggest that dietary fiber from whole grains such as wheat and oats increases stool weight. Because fibre holds water, that and the partial fermentation of fiber and oligosaccharides, increases the amount of beneficial bacteria in stool. The large intestine responds to the larger and softer mass of residue produced by a higher fiber diet by contracting, which speeds the movement of the bowel contents towards excretion. The effect of promoting normal intestinal regularity makes whole- and high-fiber grain products integral components of diet plans to help alleviate constipation.
Prevention and treatment of iron deficiency anemia is possible by including green leafy vegetables in your diet as they are rich in iron and vitamin C.
Dried beans, legumes, nuts, dried fruits, whole grain cereals are also good sources of iron and also provide protein.
Food rich in calcium like milk, yogurt and cheese. Milk and milk products contain calcium and vitamin D, both important ingredients in building and maintaining bone tissue.
These foods are important in the healing process of your incision and general well-being.
Continue taking your prenatal vitamins and any iron supplements ordered by your health care provider.
Drinking orange juice with your iron will enhance its absorption. Drink enough fluids to satisfy your thirst.
Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.
Know the limits on fats, sugars, and salt (sodium). Make most of your fat sources from nuts and vegetable oils. Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening, as well as foods that contain these.
Along with balanced meals, breastfeeding mothers should increase fluids. Many mothers find they become very thirsty while the baby is nursing. Water, milk, and fruit juices are excellent choices. It is helpful to keep a pitcher of water and even some healthy snacks beside your bed or breastfeeding chair.
Although most mothers want to lose their pregnancy weight, extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can be hazardous to your health and to your baby's if you are breastfeeding. It can take several months for a mother to lose the weight she gained during pregnancy. This can be accomplished by cutting out high-fat snacks and concentrating on a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, balanced with proteins and carbohydrates. Exercise also helps burn calories and tone muscles and limbs.

Herbs and Home remedies for a better life
Our lifestyle has changed a lot and certain things don’t hold good anymore, but I don’t see any harm any consuming plant based concoctions which are natural and have been followed by generation’s together or using spices and herbs which are found easily in your own home to help you give that extra boost in your life. I believe that Ayurveda is not only a branch of medicine but a way of life. Man is now realizing the hazards of modernization and the price that we are paying with our own health. He is now wanting to revert to traditional methods, home remedies instead of grabbing the bottle of medicine or antibiotics from the neighborhood health practitioner.

This section of my blog is dedicated to Confinement recipes for postpartum nutrition and Indian medicines made at home to be eaten post partum for building health, energy and generating more breast milk and for the well being of mother and baby.

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