Pregnancy and Postpartum Health and Wellness

Pregnancy and Postpartum Health and Wellness

Our culture tends to under-emphasize the importance of nutrition and body movement on our emotional and physical well-being. When you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed, you may go hungry because preparing your own food seems like an insurmountable task. You may not move around as much as usual, which can impact how you feel about yourself.

Try to eat as many whole wheat grains, lean proteins such as chicken and fish, and whole foods as possible, especially fruits and vegetables. Avoid sweets, starchy carbohydrates, and caffeine. Also drink plenty of water. Ask your partner or another trusted friend to keep your refrigerator stocked with ready-to-eat nutritious foods.

Exercise is also important to our pregnancy and postpartum health and wellness. After just a few minutes of exercise, our bodies release important endorphins. We tend to feel better about ourselves, and our bodies feel more energized.

Don’t listen to people who tell you to go to the gym or go jogging if you hardly have any energy. Instead, think about exercise more broadly: walk around the block or to the mail box.

Remember that sleep is crucial to pregnancy and postpartum health and wellness. After all, there’s a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. Taking care of a new baby who wakes up every two to three hours can be difficult. Make arrangements with a partner or friend to care for baby part of the night a few nights a week. Getting at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep to complete a full sleep cycle is important.

This section of the WellMama Resource Guide will explore healthy nutrition, manageable exercise, and healthy recipes. If you would like to contribute to the WellMama Resource Guide, please email resource guide volunteer Mandy Lindgren.

Plate with appropriate vegetable, protein, and starch portionsNutrition for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Food provides energy and nutrients our bodies and minds need to be healthy. A healthy meal should include carbohydrates, protein, fruits, vegetables, and water.

Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body. Thanks to many fad diets, carbohydrates get a bad reputation. They are important to our overall physical and mental well-being and stability.

Group of people doing yogaPostpartum Fitness

Finding time to exercise as a new parent can be challenging. It’s easy to feel the drain of tasks calling to you: doing laundry, washing the dishes, making dinner, cleaning the bathroom. But postpartum fitness is an important step to taking care of yourself  which is essential for taking care of your baby and your family. Taking some time, even if it’s just ten minutes, to get a little exercise can boost your energy, promote better sleep, and prevent disease.

Postpartum sleep: Caucasian baby and mother sleeping togetherPregnancy and Postpartum Sleep

Who’s getting it? Who isn’t? How often are you getting it? Not sex. Sleep. It’s a hot topic among moms-to-be and new moms alike. And no wonder. Studies have shown that 92% of women in their third trimester report sleeping restlessly (Douglas 2012). The National Institute of Health shows that new moms clock lots of sleep hours – an average of 7.2 per night – but that sleep is full of interruptions and inefficient (Montgomery-Downs 2012).

Quick Healthy Recipes: Bean WrapsBlog Post: Quick Healthy Recipes

I’m a horrible housewife. I hate cooking. I’m thankful that I have a boyfriend who enjoys cooking and doesn’t complain about making dinner every night. There are, however, those rare occasions when I actually have to cook something for my family. I dust off my recipe box and dig through the index cards with handwritten recipes on them. But who am I kidding? I am not making mushroom risotto or chicken marsala.

External Resources

The United States Department of Agriculture has a resource-oriented website that includes information on health and nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women, how to eat healthy on budget, and sample menus and recipes.

Sound Formulas is an online source for multivitamin formulas designed specifically to enhance the emotional and physical health of mothers during and after pregnancy.

Well Postpartum Consulting is an online consultation service for pregnancy and postpartum nutrition, designed specifically to help those with depression and anxiety.

Women to Women is a physician-run clinic based in Maine with expertise in pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. They provide nutritional and herbal support to women with symptoms of hormone imbalance, including pregnancy and postpartum depression and anxiety. Women to Women offers online questionnaires, assessments, and articles.

WIC (Women, Infants, & Children) in Lane County offers a supplemental food and nutrition program for pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children. Eligibility is based on screening and income. Call them at 541-682-4202. For those in Linn County, call 541-967-3888. Those in Benton County can call 541-766-6835.

Evergreen Nutrition in Eugene carries a wide variety of nutritional supplements.

Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene offers nutritional and herbal supplements at lower costs than many competitors.

Postpartum Living has helpful information on connection between postpartum depression and sleep.