For almost nine months, pregnant women have to experience profound physical and emotional changes while bearing the unborn child's weight. From morning sickness, contractions to labor pain, giving birth will always be an insufferable yet irreplaceable moment for all mothers. Yet, the journey of womanhood does not end with childbirth. Even after giving birth, women should still take extra precautions for a fast and full recovery.
What exactly happens to a woman's body after a baby pops out of your body, and how can you recuperate from this life-changing moment? Get to know the various after-effects of childbirth and some helpful ways to recover from it.
Changes are Coming: What Happens to Your Body after Pregnancy?
New mommies can feel innumerable bodily changes right after giving birth. Check out the most common postpartum experiences in a woman's body.
1. You have vaginal bruising and discharges.
After giving birth, your body automatically removes the excess fluid and tissue from your womb through your vagina. Vaginal discharges are heavier during the first few days after childbirth, and they may last for a couple of weeks. Your vagina also gets bruised if you've undergone a normal delivery, which makes it even more excruciatingly painful for your part.
2. Your breasts swell because of lactation.
You may be able to achieve your dream cup size after pregnancy since your mammary glands naturally produce milk for the newborn baby. This breast enlargement may be uncomfortable for the first few days, but you'll get used to it once you start breastfeeding.
3. Your body's hormonal levels dramatically decrease.
Most women feel happy and good about their bodies during pregnancy. This so-called "pregnancy glow" happens due to the significant surge of estrogens in the body. Thanks to these hormonal fluctuations, both hair and skin are in their best condition. Unfortunately, your hair and skin's glorious days end right after childbirth. In this case, your body undergoes a state of 'shock,' thereby abruptly declining its hormonal production.
4. You may suffer from postpartum mood swings and depression.
You've read it right. Some women suffer from depression after bearing a baby. This postpartum change could be negatively linked to the abrupt drop of your estrogen and progesterone hormones. Because of this, women quickly get sad, irritated, anxious, and stressed. If these symptoms worsen, it can lead to depression, which may last longer, making it more challenging to treat.
5. You may even lose your hair after giving birth.
Your hair might not be involved during the labor process, but it can still be adversely affected by childbirth. This hair malady happens when your body undergoes a state of 'shock' (due to giving birth, of course), thereby halting your body's hormonal production. This 'shock' coerces your anagen (or growing) follicles into the telogen phase, resulting in premature hair shedding. This type of hair loss condition is also known as telogen effluvium, and it is prevalent among new mommies. Therefore, have your estrogen and thyroid hormones checked so that you can remediate your postpartum hair loss as soon as possible.
Healthy Foods that Support a Fast and Full Postpartum Recovery
A healthy diet is key to a fast and full postpartum recovery. Here are the following foods every woman should eat after giving birth.
1. Warm broth
Women lose a lot of blood and nutrients to welcome the newborn into this world. Therefore, your body needs to allocate more of its energy for its healing process. Even digestive activities take a lot of your strength, which can hinder your full recovery. Therefore, start your postpartum diet with a warm bowl of soup. The broth is densely packed with nutrients that your body needs for recuperation. At the same time, your body won't have to spend a lot of energy digesting food.
2. Phytoestrogen-enriched foods
After one to two weeks of relying on the power of soup, you can now start munching on some foods. However, you must also be mindful of what you eat. This precaution is necessary since your body is low on estrogen levels, leading to many health-related ramifications. Thus, you need to reload your body with phytoestrogen-enriched foods. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that have estrogen-mimicking effects on your body. They can serve as your natural hormone replacement therapy.
Below are some of the most common phytoestrogen-enriched foods that you can include in your postpartum diet.
a. Flax seeds
Among all the phytoestrogen-loaded plant sources, flax seeds top them all. These brown-colored seeds contain a type of phytoestrogen known as lignans, which can alter estrogen uptake. As a result, your estrogen production becomes stabilized, thereby preventing the risks of hormonal imbalance. Flax seeds are also lactogenic, which can help nursing mothers produce high-quality breast milk.
b. Sesame seeds
Eating a bowl of sesame seeds is not only perfect for snack time, but they also come with phytoestrogens. Specifically, sesamin is a type of lignan with both antioxidant and estrogenic properties, which are both beneficial for postpartum and postmenopausal women. Studies also show that the metabolite sesamol can encourage the increase of progesterone receptors.
c. Tofu If your postpartum body is not yet ready for heavy digestion, you can use tofu as a meat alternative. As a matter of fact, tofu is very substantial for new mothers since it is a rich dietary source of isoflavones. These plant compounds bind in estrogen receptors, thereby alleviating many after-pregnancy changes caused by hormonal imbalance. Soy isoflavones also have cognitive benefits, such as memory and attention improvement, which can prevent postpartum mental stress. Besides boosting estrogenic activities, tofu and soybeans are also rich in proteins for your body's cell and tissue repair.
Eating wheat bran is another way to obtain phytoestrogens to fight off a postpartum hormonal imbalance. Plus, it's also rich in fiber, which can be healthy for your digestive system. Wheat bran is also low in calories, which is also ideal for losing weight.
3. Iron-enriched sources
Women, especially those who've undergone vaginal delivery, suffer from postpartum anemia because they lose a lot of blood during childbirth. As a result, the body takes some time to restore its normal blood levels fully. This iron deficiency can adversely affect your mood because you quickly get exhausted than you used to be. Therefore, you need to amplify red blood cell production with the help of the iron nutrient. Always eat a hearty supply of iron-enriched foods such as spinach, broccoli, lean beef, chicken meat, soybeans, apricots, and pumpkins.
4. Protein-loaded foods
After pregnancy, your body might take some time before it can fully build up your strength. Protein is especially essential to fortify your hair strands against postpartum hair loss and strand breakage since your hair becomes vulnerable after giving birth.
Thus, it would be best to have a healthy load of protein-enriched meals to instigate and accelerate the healing process. Include lean meat, soy products, and seafood in your postpartum diet. Do not forget to eat eggs every day, for they can help you get rid of postpartum fatigue. Eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, promoting healthy blood circulation throughout the body, allowing nutrient distribution.
5. Fiber-enriched grains, fruits, and vegetables
Postpartum Constipation is also another common effect of childbirth since your body also lacks fiber for proper digestion. It can cause painful bowel movements if left untreated.
You can start your day with a bowl of oatmeal a few weeks after pregnancy since it is also a valuable dietary source of protein and fiber. Eating berries, raisins, and almond nuts during snack time can also add fiber to your digestive system. Whole grain bread is also perfect for calorie-conscious mommies who want to lose their pregnancy weight.
To avoid being constipated, avoid consuming dairy products all the time, such as butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and cow's milk, for they contain little to no fiber content. You also need to cut off your sugary food and beverage intake, especially with cakes, cookies, chocolates, and sodas, to avoid further constipation amidst your postpartum recovery.
Be Attentive to Your Postpartum Diet.
Childbirth can exhaust your physical and mental condition, and it might take some time before you can get back on track. You will most likely experience significant changes in your mood, sleep, appetite, weight, skin, and hair.
That is why a healthy diet is vital for your fast and full recovery from giving birth. Be conscious of what you consume, for it can affect both you and your newborn baby. Remember to include all the nutrient-enriched meals that every new momma needs in your everyday diet. Finally, don't forget to consult your gynecologist and nutritionist after childbirth for proper medical and dietary advice.
Keep Postpartum Hair Loss At Bay.
Your hair needs to recover after childbirth, or else it may lead to unwanted hair shedding. If you want to know how to take care of your postpartum hair and skin, identify the underlying hair loss cause. Then, protect your growing strands with the best shampoo for hair loss. And of course, supply your body as well with the essential vitamins for hair growth. By doing these, you can keep your locks healthy even after pregnancy.