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Postpartum Nutrition: Replenishing Your Body

Updated: Jul 13

Pot of homemade chicken curry stew with tender chicken pieces and vegetables in a rich, spiced sauce.
Chicken Curry Stew

During pregnancy, your body undergoes a miraculous transformation to nurture and sustain the life growing inside you. This incredible journey involves a complex interplay of physiological changes aimed at providing the necessary support for your developing baby. As your little one relies on a constant influx of vital nutrients to thrive, your body works tirelessly to meet these demands, often leading to a depletion of essential vitamins and minerals.


Following childbirth, the transition into the postpartum phase brings about a new set of challenges as your body strives to recalibrate and recover from the birthing process. Hormonal fluctuations during this period can trigger a cascade of adjustments within your body, impacting not only your physical state but also your emotional well-being. It is common for new mothers to experience a range of emotions and physical symptoms as they navigate this transformative phase of motherhood.


The combination of postpartum hormonal imbalances and lingering nutrient deficiencies can have a profound effect on your recovery and overall health. It is crucial to prioritize self-care and nourishment during this critical time to replenish your body's depleted resources and support a smooth transition into motherhood. Seeking support from healthcare professionals and loved ones can play a pivotal role in ensuring that you receive the care and attention needed to navigate this period with strength and resilience.

 

Nutrient Depletion During Pregnancy

 

Throughout pregnancy, your body requires higher amounts of important nutrients such as iron, calcium, folate, as well as vitamins A, C, D, and B-complex. These nutrients are crucial for the development of your baby and your own well-being. Insufficient levels of these nutrients can affect your energy, immune system, and overall health.

 

Hormonal Imbalances After Giving Birth

 

After childbirth, hormone levels, especially estrogen and progesterone, drop sharply. This sudden change can lead to mood swings, fatigue, and other postpartum symptoms. If you’re breastfeeding, your nutrient needs are even higher, adding more strain to your reserves.

 

Importance of Nutrient Repletion

 

It is essential to replenish lost nutrients for your recovery, tissue repair, and overall healing following childbirth. This replenishment aids in restoring your energy, boosting your immune system, facilitating tissue repair, and maintaining hormone balance. Whether you continue with your prenatal vitamins or switch to postnatal ones, as advised by your healthcare provider, you can ensure that you are fulfilling your nutritional requirements.

 

Foods to Replace Lost Nutrients

 

Here are some nutrient-rich foods to help replenish your body:

1. Iron-Rich Foods: Lean meats, spinach, legumes, and fortified cereals.

2. Calcium-Rich Foods: Dairy products, leafy greens, almonds, and tofu.

3. Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and blueberries.

4. B-Complex Vitamins: Whole grains, eggs, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty fish (like salmon), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

 

Foods to Aid Digestion Postnatally

 

To support your digestion postnatally, include:

1. Fiber-Rich Foods: Oats, fruits, vegetables, and things like blueberries to help prevent constipation.

2. Probiotics: Plain Greek yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods to support gut health.

3. Hydrating Foods: Water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, and celery to maintain hydration.

 

Bone Broth as a Postpartum Staple

 

Bone broth is a highly nutritious powerhouse and a great dietary choice during the postpartum phase. Packed with collagen, gelatin, and amino acids, it promotes tissue healing, supports joint health, and aids in overall recovery. Its easy digestibility makes it gentle on the digestive system. You can include bone broth in your diet by using it as a base for soups and stews, incorporating it into sauces and gravies, or simply enjoying it warm as a nourishing drink. In my role as your postpartum doula, I offer homemade bone broth rich in gelatin.


Homemade jars of bone broth on countertop
Homemade Chicken and Beef Bone Broth

Summary

 

Ensuring you replenish nutrients after giving birth is essential for your healing and general health. Concentrate on consuming foods rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins, and add bone broth to your meals to assist with tissue recovery, healing, and hormone balance. Integrate fiber-rich and probiotic foods into your diet to improve digestion and support gut health. Don't forget to keep taking your prenatal or postnatal vitamins and consult your healthcare provider to confirm you're fulfilling your nutritional requirements. Making a priority of a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet will help you recover your energy and wellness after childbirth.

 

 

The Emphasis of Your Postpartum Doula on Restoring Nutrition

 

Drawing from comprehensive research on cultural and evidence-based nutrition for the postpartum phase, I have created a selection of meal choices for my clients. These options are inspired by postpartum resources and recipe books, such as "The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother." My menu focuses on homemade bone broths rich in gelatin and wholesome, easily digestible dishes prepared without artificial or processed components, aiming to support the mother's healing process after childbirth.


Reviews from Clients ....


"She's a phenomenal chef..." Layla Jama


"Cindy prepared nutritious and delicious meals and snacks..." Mina N


"She went above and beyond by spoiling me not only with meals, but healthy snacks, lactation cookies, fresh juices and so much more..." Danica P


"She knows how to nurture mothers well, as she created countless healing meals and foods from scratch, including making real bone broth, collagen protein smoothies, hidden liver meatloaf and spaghetti, soups, congees, and stews. They felt extremely nourishing and were also very tasty, with plenty to save for leftovers in our freezer." Adam W


"She cooked delicious meals and made healthy smoothies!" Silvia K


"I couldn't thank her enough for all her help, even with delicious homemade meals!" Victoria G


"She made delicious snacks and meals that promoted my recovery and kept us fed..." Meghan H and Carl M


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Sources:

1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). The Nutrition Source: Iron.

2. National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2021). Office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium.

3. American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Hormonal Changes After Childbirth.

4. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Postpartum care: What to Expect After a Vaginal Delivery.

5. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2020). Omega-3 for Mothers and Babies.

6. National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2021). Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C.

7. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Postpartum Nutrition and Health.

8. Weston A. Price Foundation. (2019). Broth is Beautiful.

 

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