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During the postpartum recovery, there are so many things that are happening during this period of time. For many mothers, it can be overwhelming. The era of social media does not help especially when it plays the narrative that as a woman, you can have it all and more. Many mothers are concerned about how they can lose weight and be back to their pre-pregnancy weight as soon as possible and feeling more like themselves is a goal for many mothers. This is all good but mothers should also not lose sight that beyond losing weight, postpartum recovery is also about supporting our body to heal itself while sustaining another human life through breast milk!
Here are the four main concerns in mothers that we would want to support mothers for postpartum health
Post birth, mothers may have wounds or tears around their genital area or cesarean section. They may also have loss of fluids and blood too. This would mean a food for confinement should be a diet that is of high protein and iron is needed to support wound healing. Foods that are a good source of protein and iron are like pork, pork inserts, chicken and eggs. Besides that, foods that are rich in Vitamin A, C and E are also important to promote collagen so that wounds heal well. Many of these foods can come from green leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, golji berries, capsicums, tomatoes and many more.
Perinatal and postpartum depression and anxiety is real. It affects 10 to 20% of new mothers. Another study reported that 1 in 7 women is diagnosed with postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. We need to be more supportive of mothers! It takes a whole village to raise a child because the mother cannot do everything by herself. Interestingly, researchers have found that diet plays a role in our mental health more than we think! We now know that regular dietary oily fish intake of at least 2 to 3 servings per week is essential to achieve adequate Omega 3-DHA intakes. As Omega 3-DHA has anti-inflammatory properties, such dietary intakes help to reduce risk of depression which is affected by inflammation in the brain.
Even after giving birth, a mother’s body still continues to selflessly provide sustenance for the baby. Despite the need to recover and heal, it is amazing how the body gears up to provide breast milk to the newborn. The brilliance in this occurrence is that a mother’s body is almost dependent on breastfeeding in order for her body to recover faster! Thus, the nutritional requirement to support the strength of a woman’s body during this time is much higher, up to 500kcal extra is needed to support breastfeeding without putting herself at nutritional risk. It is crucial for mothers to not only practice a healthy and balanced diet, to also ensure adequate hydration. Mothers are at risk of being dehydrated and constipated during this time if she is not adequately hydrated. So being creative with how you hydrate yourself is important! You don’t have to only depend on plain water, you can have hydrating foods like a hearty confinement herbal soup, a warm glass of red date tea, a glass of milk or a fresh piece of hydrating fruits like watermelon, papaya or grapes! Many of these can be really nutritious as you recover during postpartum.
Reducing Problems in Subsequent Pregnancies & Health Risk Later in Life
During the postpartum period which stretches up for the next 4 to 6 months, a mother’s body is nourished to recovery so that good habits are maintained and any other bad dietary habits are worked on to be minimized. This is especially important for mothers who have gestational diabetes who will have higher risk of having gestational diabetes in subsequent pregnancies and diabetes later in life. This risk can be managed by managing dietary, lifestyle habits and postpartum weight retention. Besides that, eating well during this time will also help to manage risk of hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular health in mothers later on in life.
Thus, the planning and preparations before the arrival of your newborn should include how you would take care of your health during postpartum. One of which is very essential but very often overlooked in importance is how your meals are going to be during your confinement period. If you are unable to have friends or family to support you in your meals during the confinement period, then a confinement food delivery in Singapore service is worth considering. Many of the meals are planned to provide a high protein diet to support mothers with recovery during the first month of postpartum. Beyond a high protein diet, a good confinement menu plan is one that provides you with adequate vegetables, at least 2 servings of fish per week, minimal repetitions in dishes and makes it enjoyable to hydrate yourself adequately with delicious broth and drinks.