The postpartum period is described as the first six to eight weeks after childbirth. These few weeks promote bonding between parents and their newborns. Indeed, the joy of giving birth to a new baby is indescribable for new parents. But while the postpartum period is supposed to be a joyous time, many people go through a lot within that short period of time. Caring for your little one is a priority, however, your health and wellness as a new parent also matter. The big question is how do you cope with your responsibilities while taking care of yourself emotionally and physically? Read on to find out!
Many parents acknowledge that carrying a baby in their belly for an entire pregnancy is not an easy task. With sleeplessness being a common occurrence during pregnancy, one thing that you probably lacked during your prenatal period is adequate rest. Once the new baby arrives, you quickly learn that newborns work with their own clocks. For example, many babies wake up almost every three hours, usually for feeding and comfort. Sooner or later, you and your partner may be overwhelmed with exhaustion. Try to make it a point to get rest when your baby is sleeping, and call your relatives, friends and other family members to help you so you can attend to otherresponsibilities.
Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and childbirth. To speed up your recovery, you should to eat healthy. Lactation experts suggest that it is necessary to plan simple and nutritious meals and eat them immediately when you feel hungry. Try no to allow tiredness to rob you of time to nourish your system. Your postpartum diet should contain healthy nutrients from all the important food groups. By eating grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and protein, your body will obtain the right quantities of calories to keep you in shape as you recover.
Baby blues and postpartum depression happen to many new parents, and about 70-80% of new parents experience mood swings after delivery. The hormonal changes in your body can cause this after giving birth. Symptoms may include restlessness, mood swings, irritability, and sadness. When these symptoms persist for over two weeks, you may be experiencing postpartum depression, which can make your parenthood transition even more problematic. You may need to seek treatment from your doctor to help deal with these feelings and emotions, for treatment or referral to a therapist.
Adjusting to life as a new parent can be challenging, especially for first-time parents. But if you follow the few strategies above, you can make the transition a bit easier!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
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