Looking After You and Your Baby’s Health During Your Baby’s 1t Year
The arrival of a new baby is a life-changing event and while you’re caring for your bundle of joy, it’s very easy to lose sight of your own needs. You may be experiencing pain and a rush of emotions, lack of sleep and physical changes to the body can trigger the “baby blues”. This a common condition in new mothers but a low mood can sometimes persist and become a more serious problem; women in conflicted relationships are at particularly high risk of developing postnatal depression.
Caring for the mental health of new mothers
Studies in the UK show that while childbirth is safer than ever before, maternal deaths from pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy and mental illness still present a challenge. The risk is not just to mothers but also to their children: research by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit shows that maternal mental health problems are even more damaging to children than living in poverty.
After the birth of your baby, you may feel overwhelmed by emotions and changes to the body and will almost certainly be suffering from lack of sleep. Postnatal depression may be a very common condition but should never be ignored: if you suffer from a low mood for more than two weeks, seek advice from your midwife, health visitor or GP.
How important is nutritional nourishment after childbirth?
Ensure a diet with adequate nutritional nourishment and vitamins, including plenty of fruit and vegetables; exercise as soon as you feel able and excess weight should gradually drop away. Use a Vitamin E oil to treat stretch marks and cellulite.
Breastfeeding is not only the best form of nourishment for your baby, it will also help you to lose weight. If you experience pain while breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
Research by the NCT found that nearly half of women suffered urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy: at your six weeks check up, don’t be embarrassed to ask your midwife for advice.
New Routine and Relationships
There are several things you can do to help you adjust to your new routine:
Talk things over with others – your partner and other family members are will be able to support you if they understand what you’re going through
- Make time for rest – take a nap when your baby does!
- Eat well and ensure you get enough vitamins and nutritional nourishment
- Exercise regularly in the open air whenever possible: this will not only help you to lose that cellulite but also lift your mood.
- Don’t try to be a “super mum” – accept help from others whenever possible
Everyone is different
If you are worried that you are suffering from postnatal depression, you should seek advice from you health visitor, midwife or doctor. Everyone is different and what works for you may not work for others: you may be prescribed medication or a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Sources: NHS Choices, NCT, NPEU