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Don't let post natal stress get to you

Post natal depression & the pressure to regain your figure are common experiences for new mums. Post-partum advice for new mothers.   2013-08-13

A significant historical event in the UK has been made by the birth of the Royal baby, a boy and third in line to the crown. However a royal baby it may be but all pregnancy’s, labours and deliveries follow the same pattern irrespective of birthright!

Therefore following nine months of pregnancy, and an arduous labour how can a women’s body return to its pre partum condition. The maxim must be don’t rush it as your body requires time to recover from the labour and delivery. Six weeks is the optimum time frame as women then receive a postpartum check up. However if you are breastfeeding, experts advise waiting until baby is at least 2 months old before attempting to lose that excess baby weight, as any immediate dieting may affect both the quality (by releasing toxins that accumulate in your body fat into the bloodstream- and into your milk supply) and quantity of breast milk. Moreover, hurrying to return to your pre- baby weight by dieting may indeed impede the healing process, and thus cause you to experience more tiredness. After all new born babies don’t keep to ‘normal’ meal times, and therefore a new Mum needs all the energy she can marshal!

Pregnancy may affect permanent changes to your body

If your goal is to return to wearing your size 8 skinny jeans revealing your pre- pregnancy washboard stomach, then you will probably have to formulate a more realistic objective, particularly in the short term, as for many women pregnancy affects permanent changes to their bodies. Such as a rounder tummy, a waistline which may increase in size together with enlarged hips.

Burn calories by breastfeeding

Before you embark on any exercise program see your GP to ensure your body is fully repaired, particularly if you had an episiotomy performed, tore during delivery, or had a caesarean. Post baby weight and ‘mummy tummy’ are not going to miraculously disappear overnight once baby is born, and the most effective way to lose the weight is to incorporate some regular exercise (remember walking or jogging with the pram/pushchair is ideal in the early months) together with ensuring that your diet is both balanced and healthy. A breastfeeding Mum requires at least 2,700 calories a day, (please note that breastfeeding burns up between 600-800 calories per day – (WHAT A GREAT WAY TO WORK OUT, NO EFFORT REQUIRED AT ALL!) However, although a woman may not breastfeed, experts suggest that a healthy daily calorific intake should be between 1,500 and 2,000 calories for all new Mothers as any controlled diet may result in mood swings and loss of energy.

Having a new baby and a very busy daily timetable, must not deter a new Mother from missing meals, as this may mean that essential energy levels will diminish, resulting in a woman not having enough ‘get up and go' to embark on any post natal exercise. Although you may not have been a ‘breakfast’ person before pregnancy, now is the time to start eating this crucially important first meal of the day. Breakfast will stop those mid morning hunger pangs and prevent you from snacking on foods full of carbohydrates which will damage your weight loss endeavours.

Housework & bonding

Tiredness can be overwhelming during the first few months of motherhood, so sleep when baby sleeps, and forget about the housework, or do the essential household tasks with baby in the same room. Babies love to be involved and this can be utilised as a fantastic bonding session with your new baby.

Brush off the ’cobwebs’ by getting out in the fresh air every day. Babies love the motion of a pram or pushchair and readily fall asleep. This is also an opportunity to meet friends, particularly with fellow mums which will enable you to both ask for advice and share new baby experiences.

Baby blues

Following the joy and excitement of giving birth ,approximately 13% new  mothers suffer from the ‘baby blues’ (not a myth, and if the condition persists is medically known as postpartum depression) – this is often due to abject exhaustion, caused by little sleep and rapidly reducing hormone levels. Symptoms may include depression, weepiness and generally feeling miserable, and usually disappears after a week or two of its own volition, however if the symptoms persist make an appointment with your GP or tell your Health Visitor. Support and if deemed required, medication will help to return you to the true person you were prior to the birth.

Finally don’t be too proud to ask for support from family and friends – most people adore babies, and will be delighted to have a cuddle from the new bundle of joy- providing of course that they are willing to change the nappies as well!