Many moms after having a baby complain that they are tired. Not just tired, but exhausted! Many attribute this to fatigue from the birth process and frequent waking at night or getting very little rest because of having a new baby who themselves have an unregulated sleep cycle. All of this can be true, however sometimes the issue is beyond just having a few more hours of sleep. What if you had someone to take your child for the day, to give you at least 8 hours to get some rest? Some people have this option, either through post partum doulas or other caretakers including family or friends. Yet they remain tired. Fatigued to their core!
The answer often lies in nutrition!
Many women for one reason or another suffer from nutrient depletion during pregnancy and the post-partum period. This may include morning sickness or nausea and not eating enough during pregnancy, such that after the baby has taken what it needs to grow, mom is often lacking. After birth, many are so caught up with the fad of getting their pre-baby body back and are not getting the proper caloric intake needed to sustain them. Pregnant women need only about 2-300 more calories however once post-partum, they need an additional 300 calories to fuel their bodies especially if breastfeeding.
Many women will also suffer from post-partum thyroiditis, a condition in which the thyroid hormones are decreased. This mimics fatigue, as well as other symptoms similar to post-partum depression and often times many women can be misdiagnosed, leading to the prescription of antidepressants when not absolutely necessary.
So what can women do?
For starters, eating more nutrient dense meals can be helpful. Even if your appetite is diminished, meals such a soups, bone broths and stews can add significant nutrients into the body and are easily absorbed. Taking supplements can be of great benefit as well. During pregnancy, prenatal vitamins are often recommended, but immediately after they are also important. Selenium is a mineral that has been shown to provide cognitive benefits and help with thyroid function. It can also decrease the likelihood of postpartum thyroiditis.
To learn more about nutrition in pregnancy and the postpartum period, listen as I interview Dr. Jessica Drummond, clinical nutritionist and pelvic floor expert of the Integrative Women’s Health Institute. Remember you are truly what you eat!
Yours in health,