Body & Soul | Fit Pregnancy

Body & Soul

The key to recovering from childbirth and taking care of your newborn is to place nonessential activities on hold and take care of yourself too. Here's how.

Week Five

Feeling Frustrated With Your Body
Although you are mostly healed, parts of you still feel strange. You may be leaking urine, itching from hemorrhoids or struggling with constipation. You wonder if your body will ever return to normal—you feel fat, your belly is poochy, your breasts are huge, and the smallest exertion seems to wear you out.

How To Care For Yourself
Start taking longer walks Daily exercise burns calories, tones muscles, improves mood and gets you out of the house. Don't want to leave the baby? Put her in a front carrier or stroller.

Make every calorie count Pack your diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy and low-fat protein. A peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread with an apple and a glass of milk is a perfectly nutritious meal that takes only a few minutes to prepare.

Drink plenty of water It boosts your milk supply, helps your digestive system function effectively and fills you up.

Be patient with your body "Some women may feel completely recovered within a couple of weeks, but for others this process may take a good deal longer," Brown says.

Week Six

Adjusting To Your New Life
Your body's returning to normal. In fact, at your six-week checkup your doctor has probably given you the OK to start having sex again and to return to work. But your life is completely different now that you've had a baby. "Becoming a mother often triggers women to re-evaluate who they are and their course in life," Gaudet says. "It's a hugely transforming event."

How To Care For Yourself
Keep a journal Writing helps you examine and understand your emotions and find answers to difficult questions.

Talk with other new mothers Share thoughts and ideas with friends or women you meet in play groups, postpartum support groups or mom-baby exercise classes.

Make big decisions carefully You're experiencing one of the most dramatic transitions of your life—it's not a good time to quit your job, leave your husband or move cross-country.
 

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