What works for new mums...

Focus on what works for you, suggests Dr Archana Nirula to new mothers choosing to get back to work

health

Joining work after pregnancy is a unique and personal journey. Women who undergo cesarean delivery need a longer recovery period than those who have a normal birth. A cut from a C-section takes a number of weeks to heal, and it might take some time before one decides to return to work. It is also very important to listen to an individual’s body and keenly notice any signs of distress like bleeding, pain, or tearing at the incision site, or even excessive fatigue. Preferably, women should consider joining office only after the post-natal check-up, that is due after six weeks of a normal delivery. If you’ve had a cesarean delivery, remember to get your first check-up after two weeks, followed by a complete check-up at six to eight weeks as per your doctor’s advice. Do not join work until you have the all-clear from your doctor.

Here are some dos and don’ts for women who want to join work after pregnancy:

Dos
Eat right

Load up on lots of superfoods to get your strength back, especially whole grains, fibre, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and proteins. Include protein galactagogues-rich diet instead of grabbing a packet of chips when you are hungry. In case of significant blood loss, continue your prenatal vitamins or iron supplements if recommended by your physician. Continue breastfeeding for at least until your child is six months old.

Drink up, stay hydrated

The balance of water must be maintained in a mother’s body after pregnancy. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headache, moodiness amongst other symptoms in breastfeeding mothers. Therefore, it is important to stay hydrated post-pregnancy and drink at least eight-ounce glasses of fluids a day. Make sure to include protein shakes, fruit juices, and smoothies in diets instead of artificially sweetened drinks.

Find time to exercise

If you have had a normal delivery, it is safe to start with light exercises like modified push-ups, walking and stretching within a few days of giving birth. Aerobic exercises, pelvic tilt, and kegel exercise, cardiovascular exercise, a modified cobra forward bend and lower abdominal slide can be other beneficial options. Two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week after pregnancy is recommended. Walking for at least 30-45 minutes a day also helps.

Walk

Walking at an easy pace is recommended, as it helps prevent blood clots and other complications. It also helps to promote healing for those who have undergone C-section. In case of a C-Section, it is recommended that you start light walking after six weeks and do not do any heavy exercises until after three months.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep deprivation is a major issue with new parents. Especially, women’s sleep quality and duration are more affected than men. Therefore, it is important for new mothers to time their sleep and take proper rest while squeezing time into the new work routine.

Don’ts
Don’t skip meals

Every mother feels tired and exhausted after childbirth. It’s very easy to fall into a spiral and forget about your body’s nutrition requirements. All nutrient groups must be included in a mother’s diet. Also, any form of dieting should be avoided post-pregnancy, as new mothers also have to breastfeed the baby.

Don’t ignore your mental health

A mother’s body is in recovery mode after pregnancy. During this time, the body is craving nourishment – physical and mental. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance that new mothers keep some time aside for themselves and plan routine activities that could range from indulging in a hobby to watching a favourite movie.

Don’t succumb to moodiness

New mothers experience various emotions due to the changes in hormones. This is a phenomenon experienced by most mothers and passes with time. However, it is important to have a conversation with your doctor to know more about the kind of treatment required for this.

Avoid weight loss programmes

Many new mothers can’t wait to get back into their old jeans. But one must understand that getting back into shape requires time and rigorous weight loss training programmes are not the right solution. Mothers need to maintain their nutritional requirements as they are the only source of nutrition for the baby.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

It’s perfectly fine if you feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster with sleep deprivation, lack of time for yourself and new responsibilities at work. But, it is better for you to give your body some time to recover and manage stress. Meeting your therapist will give you some emotional support.

(The author is gynaecologist, myUpchar)

 

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