Your body has just done one of the most remarkable things it will ever do: grow another human being. And after 10 months of waiting, you are probably excited to finally be home with your new baby. Much of your focus and energy during the coming weeks and months will be on the new addition to your family, but remember that you also need to take care of yourself, too.
Your delivery may have been complicated or easy, you may have had a c-section or a vaginal delivery, and you may have laboured for a few hours or a few days. But regardless of what your delivery looked like, your body has been through a trauma and is going to need time to recover.
A woman loses approximately 15lbs at delivery, and another 6 lbs of stored fluid are eliminated as the uterus shrinks. Not much additional weight is lost during the weeks following the delivery of the baby unless calories are intentionally limited. As the BMR returns to a non-pregnant level, the metabolism slowly starts to reduce for your body’s needs.
Full recovery from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again. During this time, you may feel as though your body has turned against you. Try not to get frustrated. Remember that your body is not aware of your timelines and expectations. The best thing you can do for it is rest, eat well, and give yourself a break.
During your postpartum phase it is important to focus on balance with nutrition as much as possible. There will absolutely be day you struggle to find time to eat or even forget to eat, but try to focus on balance instead of aiming for perfection or trying to ‘bounce back’:
Aim to include
1 serving of protein at each meal
1-2 serving of fats at each meal
1-2 servings of carbs at each meal
1-2 servings of fruit or veg at each meal, and with snacks when able
Postpartum is also a great time to take a break from a diet mentality and focus on listening to your body and it’s needs. The best part about this is you don’t have to feel a need to diet ever, instead, you mindfully notice when your metabolism starts to return to pre-pregnancy levels and honour these natural cues when they arise.
If you are hoping to lose weight during postpartum, it is recommended to wait a minimum of 3 months to ensure calories aren’t being taken away from the energy required to heal.
A big thank you to Kelsey Beamish, Registered Holistic Nutritionist for providing this article! Give her a follow on Instagram @kootenaynutrition