Post-pregnancy Lifestyle Advice to Reduce Stress
Recently, I received the following question from a pregnant blog reader who was very happy with the Fit Pregnancy Interview series and other post-pregnancy resources I've posted:
Hi Cassandra! Thank you so much for your blog! I have really found it helpful and encouraging during my pregnancy thus far (33 weeks and counting!).
There doesn't seem to be a lot of healthcare personnel that are knowledgeable or supporting of a paleo lifestyle, let alone when you're pregnant and/or nursing. I cannot tell you how much I get 'don't lift anything over 30lbs'; 'eat lots of grains and drink plenty of milk'; and 'make sure you exercise but not too much';...it\s been so refreshing to read about the women who were healthy AND fit during and after pregnancy. So thanks for this resource!
Anyway, I had a question about adrenal fatigue postpartum. Robb Wolf speaks a lot about managing cortisol levels by improving sleep quality, walking, a clean diet, etc. which I have found very beneficial for me pre-pregnancy, and have tried my best to strive for those things during pregnancy. What I am curious about, is do you know of any studies or experiences of things helpful in the weeks to months after delivery? I am sure it is taxing on your body with recovery and repair, plus interrupted sleep, and increase caloric demand for those nursing. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Or is it just one of those things that you push through as best you can and it passes? Thanks so much for your time!
I wanted to share this question with you, and also what my response was.
First, I do need to clarify that I'm not a paleo follower per se. Yes, I do not eat any cow's dairy, barely eat any wheat if any, and avoid eating excessive beans because they upset my gut. But, I do eat grains from time to time - I do enjoy brown rice with a nice peice of wild salmon, and like to make qunioa or barley pilafs (with loads of olive oil and lemon juice... yum!). And, I like to eat organic sweet potatoes and red potatoes.
I do choose mostly free-range and organic meats, but I do not eat chicken or beef because they really bother my gut (I'm in the bathroom in 24 hours if I eat chicken). I also can not eat any nuts other than walnuts in moderation (I've recently discovered walnuts don't bother me), amd I can't do almond milk or coconut milk.
My diet is mostly by way of a FODMAP plan and what I've personally listened to my body to follow.
Basically, during my pregnancy I was a bit of a black sheep because I
a) did not drink any milk, but I did supplement with some calcium and magnesium and loads of vitamin D at night,
b) worked out very hard almost every day
c) did not gain the "recommended 20-35lbs" while pregnant because I was so active (and, it did not do a THING to inhibit the health of my child).
d) ate lots of protein foods and with it, a lot of fat (eggs, salmon, pork, etc)
In response to Kari's question, this is what I had to say:
You're welcome for the blog posts! I'm glad they have been helpful :)
For the stress of post-pregnancy: well, it is a hard process dealing with the delivery (your body just turned itself inside out basically), the milk production, and the lack of sleep, but you will manage - that's what our bodies were designed for! You will surprise yourself at how much you can get done and how amazing you feel.
I would recommend to also continue following the de-stressing techniques such as relaxing walks outdoors (take baby with you in a Bjorn carrier or Moby wrap; it's so relaxing), clean eating (minimal sugar, no artifical products), sleep when you can get it (naps are going to become essential not just for baby, but for you), and supplementation with a good multivitamin, antioxidant, plenty of vitamin D, and omega-3 oils. Also very important is to have some time to yourself and help from others if you can get it - don't try to do everything yourself; I did, and I think that's why I was pretty frazzled my first few months, but thankfully it didn't interupt my milk supply.
Overall - your body is going to change so much after you have baby, and eventually you will see just how strong and powerful it is. Being a mom is tough work, but you can definitely do it, and you will enjoy all the new learning experiences.
Best of luck!- Cassandra
I hope this information is helpful for you as well; wheter you are a new mom, pregnant woman or someone looking to start a family - remember: you don't have to be like everyone else when it comes to how you exercise or eat, and you should take time to yourself after having baby and relax, be calm, and stop to smell the flowers, especially if you don't do that now.