Post-Pregnancy: The Importance of Prioritizing Self-Care
Adjusting to life after you have given birth comes with its challenges. Other than having your newborn to take care of, you need to find the time to take care of yourself too. Post-pregnancy self-care can be a challenge.
The first six weeks after giving birth are the most vital when it comes to obtaining the care both you and your baby’s needs – this is often referred to as postnatal care. Although most women find this postnatal period uncomplicated, this isn’t always the case.
For those who are struggling to cope with their new way of life, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. In fact, recent search data finds that many new mothers are looking for the same answers when it comes to post-pregnancy self-care. According to data that measures the UK’s interest for a particular topic on a scale of 0 to 100 (0 being not popular at all and 100 being very popular), searches for ‘pregnancy self-care’ has spiked this year. The overall interest score for this term increased from just 28 in January 2020 to 100 in November 2020. This suggests that more new mothers are seeking ways to help find the adequate self-care needed.
With this in mind, we reveal what other post-pregnancy search terms have increased in popularity recently and how to effectively tend to your mental and physical health after giving birth.
The baby weight worry
After giving birth, one topic on many mothers’ minds is how to lose the baby weight gained. So much so, searches for the question ‘how long does it take to lose baby weight?’ averaged 260 searches per month between November 2018 and November 2020. Not only that, but hashtags such as #postpartumbody has been used in 1,439,940 Instagram posts.
With baby weight being a popular topic online, we discuss some effective ways to look after your physical health after giving birth – these steps will also help you to lose weight gradually and safely.
- Don’t switch to a low-calorie diet. Losing weight quickly often means dropping to a diet that revolves around a low-calorie intake. However, when trying to lose baby weight, it is important not to adopt this kind of diet since your body needs high amounts of nutrition after giving birth. Instead, carefully reduce your calorie intake by no more than 500 calories. This could be reduced through the food you eat or split between diet and exercise. For example, 350 calories less in the food you eat and 150 calories lost through exercise.
- Prioritize breastfeeding. The World Health Organisation has suggested that breastfeeding not only supports a baby’s health but the mother’s health too. It’s thought that women who breastfeed have less risk of developing illnesses such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
- Eat high-fibre foods. Including fibre in our diets has many benefits – post-pregnancy or not. Soluble fibre foods can reduce hunger hormones, helping you feel fuller for longer.
- Avoid processed foods as much as you can. Just like with any diet, minimising the intake of high fats and sugars from confectionary foods such as sweets, cakes, or fast-food will help support your health.
Supporting your mental health
While focusing on your physical health, the importance of supporting your mental health is often overlooked. Pregnancy can be a stressful and daunting period of your life that can take its toll on your mental state. It is important not to ignore these emotions, and instead look for effective ways to relieve them.
With this said, we discuss what Google search data shows mothers are searching for post-pregnancy.
After giving birth, it is normal to feel swarmed with several emotions – from happiness to fear and even sadness. Although having mood swings after giving birth is normal, if you begin to feel sad so much so it is affecting you daily, then you may be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
If you think you are suffering PPD, the first thing to do is to talk to your doctor about it. They can then decide what the best action to take next is. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. In fact, recent search data finds that the term ‘postpartum depression’ scored the highest possible interest value of 100 in November 2020.
Other than the help your doctor can provide, there are some activities you can practice at home to relieve symptoms of PPD. The first is to give yourself enough time to rest and create some time to focus on yourself. It’s no secret that raising a baby can be exhausting at times and consume most of your day. However, for those few hours you get spare, make sure to put you and your mental health at the centre of them.
Try and develop a healthy and persistent diet. Your diet isn’t just important to maintain your body’s health – certain foods can also support your mental health too. Fish, for example, contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA. Some studies suggest that women who have low levels of DHA are more likely to develop PPD.
Always make time to exercise too. Whether this is a long walk in the park with your friend and your babies in their baby buggies, or even ten-minute bursts a few times a day, exercise is a healthy way to relieve feelings of depression.
People are familiar with postpartum depression and the effects it can have on mothers’ mental health after giving birth. However, it’s less common to hear the phrase ‘perinatal anxiety’. If you suffer feelings such as a churning stomach, headaches, restlessness, or have frequent panic attacks, you could be suffering from perinatal anxiety.
Recent search data reveals that this is more common amongst women who are either pregnant or post-pregnant than you think. Searches for ‘pregnancy anxiety’ scored an interest value of 73 in November 2020.
For those that feel they are suffering from perinatal anxiety, there are many ways you can help combat these feelings. Other than self-help remedies you can practice at home, such as breathing exercises, physical activity, and finding hobbies to shift your focus onto, you can also enrol for talking therapy to hear expert advice.
Post-pregnancy can sometimes come with its challenges for both your physical and mental health. However, it’s important to remember that the methods you adopt to deal with this must be healthy. Other than the self-care you can do yourself at home, you must reach out to a professional if you feel it is necessary.
About the Author
Brooke McDonald, copywriter at Babythingz.