MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, MBBS
A suitable weight loss plan for new mothers (post pregnancy)
Bringing a baby in this world, is the most exhilarating moment in most women's lives. Yet, post pregnancy days are filled with insecurities and uncertainties. Sleepless nights, stretch marks, healing uterus and an unappealing body. So unless you are shilpa shetty or malaika arora khan, most new mothers suffer from figure issues after giving birth to their child.
In fact the issue of maintaining the personality, is quite real regardless of what men say to their women. According to a yummy mummy survey over 90 percent of new and expecting fathers agree that they want their wives to look the way she used to look before the pregnancy.
This article talks in detail about the body and mind issues of new mothers and ways to deal with them, based on knowledge shared by expert indian gynaecologists on popular daily newspapers.
1) what's the fuss about yummy mummy?
A yummy mummy is someone who is confident of herself, is comfortable with her body and her personality. A yummy mummy is a mother who takes care of her body and her mind. She exercises regularly, is particular about her fitness level and exudes confidence.
2) body issues that a new mother needs to accept:
A woman will gain a certain amount of weight during pregnancy to include the weight of the baby, the placenta, the amniotic fluid, the enlarged womb, an increased blood volume, plus enlarged breasts and other fluid retention, commonly noticed as swollen ankles. Additionally a pregnant woman will store a certain amount of fat to help nourish her child during breast feeding. Women are expected to gain between 11-15 kgs during a normal pregnancy. Approximately 2-3kgs of this weight is designed to remain after the birth, to provide a fat source for breast milk. The remaining weight gain will either disappear immediately, the baby, placenta etc. Or resolve over time as the uterus contracts and the body returns to normal fluid levels. The concept of" eating for two" can however cause some women to gain more weight than just normal pregnancy weight. You may well look down at your body in the months after having a baby and wonder if it's ever going to look the same again.
Another worry that every pregnant woman has is about stretch marks and wondering if they are ever going to go. For this, it is advisable to try and minimize stretch marks during pregnancy by regularly applying moisturizers and oils which contain vitamin e, lavender, calendula and rosemary. The same can be used after pregnancy also on the abdomen and breast to reduce stretch marks.
3) diet essentials for a pregnant and new mother:
Eating healthy is of utmost importance for a pregnant and a new mother. A good balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates is a must in a pregnant and new mother's diet. Extra milk and curd should be had to increase the intake of calcium. Women should avoid excessive intake of salty, spicy and deep fried foods. It is advisable that they avoid cake, sweets and ice creams altogether as the women are in a state of semi diabetes because the placental hormones are anti -insulin. In addition, women should have a lot of fruits, vegetables and nuts in their diets.
4) what are the ways a new mother can ensure her pre-pregnancy shape after delivery?
Exercising is important to get back to shape but what is more, is doing the right kind of exercise.
-- the pelvic floor (the hammock-like layer of muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowel). If you were good, you'll have done your pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy. If not, don't let that stop you from starting now - they're all-important in the battle to keep leaky bladders at bay and, as an added bonus, can help to improve satisfaction during sex!
-- you can also make a start on the long, slow process of getting your tummy muscles back in shape by softly pulling them in whenever you get the chance. (if you're not sure how, imagine drawing your tummy in towards your spine.) hold for a few seconds, breathing all the while, and then release. Do this as many times a day as you can fit in. (it's also a good idea to hold in your tummy this way when you bend over or lift anything: it will help to support your back and so help to ease or prevent back pain, a common problem after birth.) you could also squeeze in a few pelvic tilts when you find yourself with a free moment: stand with your back to a wall, slide a hand into the gap between your lower back and the wall and use your tummy muscles to tilt your pelvis backwards. Hold for a little while before releasing. You'll know you're doing it right if you can feel your lower back pushing against your hand.
-- gentle walking is also okay in the early weeks
-- power walking: an ideal way for new mums to exercise as it can be fitted into a normal day.
-- pilates or yoga: these are great for improving strength and flexibility, but you'll still need to raise your heartbeat with some sort of aerobic exercise couple of times a week.
- swimming, or aquarobics: a perfect all-round exercise - it will increase your heart rate but as the water offers you support, has minimal risk of injury. It's also good for firming up post-baby breasts
5) how much should a mother wait after a c-sec before resuming workout?
Whether it's a c- sec or normal delivery, no strenuous workout should be done for at least 40 days or 6 weeks after delivery. It takes 40 days for the large uterus to involute back to its small pre pregnant state. Exercise during this period would strain the ligaments and cause back ache. It may also predispose the uterus to prolapse after menopause during weakened ligaments that support the uterus. In addition, after a c-sec, the abdominal muscles and ligaments need to heal well, so active workout is recommended only after 3 months.
6) what are the dos and don'ts of the first 3-6 months after delivery for workout/diet?
After 3-6 months, all forms of exercise are permissible, however, during breast feeding, lifting weights and push- ups should be restricted. Breast feeding mothers require extra calories and nutritious food and diet. Diet foods or low calories diets are recommended. A good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats along with extra milk and fruits are a must. Breast feeding itself is a great calorie burner and helps the mother to lose weight and regain her pre pregnant figure within 6 months of delivery.
7) how many post-partum depression cases do you get on an average?
70 % of women experience mild baby blues for about 1-2 weeks due to placental hormones leaving the body. The post- partum depression is a bit rarer. The signs and symptoms are more severe and last longer.
The symptoms may include:
Depressed mood/ severe mood swings
Difficulty in bonding with the baby
Withdrawing from family and friends
Loss of appetite or eating too much
Inability to sleep/ insomnia
Fatigue and loss of energy
Intense irritability and anger
Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy
Severe anxiety and panic attacks
Thoughts of suicide ad harming the baby
Very severe post -partum depression may lead to psychosis. These patients do require help in the form of counseling and medication.
8) how can a mother avoid succumbing to depression?
Women should attend pre-natal classes, which prepare them for labor delivery and breast feeding during pregnancy. After birth, the mother should
Accept help from family and friends
Connect with new mothers
Always take time to take care of themselves
Avoid alcohol and medicines that cause depression
All said and done, it is very important that dads support new mothers to regain their lost shape, without hampering their confidence.
Post pregnancy, a woman is very stressed- she is worried about the baby and herself and is very busy taking care of the two. Being a mother can be very taxing and there are a few simple things that fathers can do.
Things dads can do with the baby:
Take baby out for a walk so mum can have some quiet time.
Feed the baby in the middle of the night or bring the baby to mum if breastfeeding. He could also help the baby feed if there is expressed breastmilk or feed the baby in the morning so mum can get some extra sleep.
Help to look after older children so that mum can adjust to life with a newborn again.
Make sure you learn how to bathe the baby and change nappies.
Things dads can do for mum:
Make mum any meals, e. G. Breakfast in the morning before going to work.
Tell her she's doing a great job and that you are proud of her and how much you love her.
No pressure for sexual acts - intimacy will return again soon.
Let her de-brief / talk about the labour and birth as many times as necessary, without getting annoyed. Being a good listener is important.
Tell her that it doesn't matter if the home is messier than usual and help to do a bit of tidying.
Let her cry or be emotional without trying to'fix' her - simply comfort her.
Husband's support makes a huge difference in the new mother experience of every woman and only makes him happier in return!
If you have any gynae / pregnancy concerns, feel free to consult me privately by clicking on'consult' button below.
Dr sangita malhotra