After your six-week checkup is a good time to start exercising again, but talk with your doctor before you start a formal exercise program. Your body will return to its pre-pregnant state naturally, except for muscle tone. Exercise will help you regain this tone.
You can try Kegel exercises to help tighten the muscles around the vagina. You can begin these shortly after delivery. Tighten the muscles that surround the opening of the vagina and rectum as if you are trying not to urinate. Hold for several seconds and then slowly relax. Repeat five to 10 times, several times a day.
In addition, you can help your body return to normal by using good body mechanics. Sit, stand, and walk with proper postural alignment. Bend at your knees to pick things up. Avoid bending from the waist, which strains and pulls the back muscles.
Eating Well After Your Baby is Born
Your body needs time and a balanced diet to recover from pregnancy and adjust to meeting the needs of your new baby.
Keep these things in mind:
- While you are breastfeeding continue to eat a well-balanced intake of food from the basic food groups and drink adequate fluids. The basic food groups include dairy, protein (animal and plant-based sources), colorful fruits and vegetables, starches and whole grains and other foods including good fats. Stay hydrated with appropriate fluids. Special diets may be needed only for nutrition-related medical conditions, otherwise, eat regularly. Your body uses energy stored during your pregnancy weight gain for milk production for your baby. If you are not breastfeeding, lower calorie intake will help you lose any desired weight.
- You should drink eight to 10 glasses of fluids (water, juice, milk) every day. Limit caffeine, including soda, tea, coffee and chocolate and highly sweetened beverages.
- A well balanced intake includes protein from meat, eggs and cheese, and plant-based proteins such as peanut butter, soy and ancient grains like quinoa. Including high fiber foods and adequate water intake may help with regular bowel movements. High fiber foods include fresh fruits, and vegetables, bran and bran products and other whole grain products’. Dairy which includes low- fat milk products, such as cheeses and yogurt or lactose free products should be included in your daily diet. Keeping your intake of high fat and sugary foods and snacks low and smaller portions will help reduce your calorie intake for weight reduction.
- Finish taking your prenatal vitamin and iron pills as prescribed. If you are breastfeeding, take them the entire time you are nursing. Your doctor can renew your prenatal vitamin prescription if you run out.
For any significant problems such as severe constipation, please contact your health-care provider for a laxative or stool softener or other medical advice. If you would like a nutrition consult, have your health care provider make a referral to the W&I Outpatient Nutrition Services Department. (401-274-1122 ext 42749)