8 Things You Need to Know About Your Maternal Health

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Health Life

The joys of entering motherhood and bringing your baby into the world are equal to none. Along the journey of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum days, there is so much to upkeep. Is your hospital bag packed? Are you doing a hospital or home birth? Do you have the baby’s things ready? So many questions to answer in so little time can be overwhelming. However, it’s important not to forget Mama! You are transitioning into a new era in life that can be abundant in gifts, but it’s important not to forget your own health. Because if you are healthy and happy, then your baby will stay healthy and happy, too! Here are 8 things you need to know about your maternal health, and tips to keep you healthy and ready for when the baby comes. 

Pregnancy: 

Weight Gain is Normal- Nutrition is Key

When we think about pregnancy, many think about the weight gain that comes with. Weight gain is perfectly normal. Anywhere from a 25 to 35 pound weight gain is accustomed with pregnancy. In terms of overeating, you really only need to eat about 300-500 calories a day to accommodate your growing baby. Eating 5-6 balanced meals a day with plenty of veggies is essential!

Depression Occurs- Know When to Spot It

Depression during pregnancy is something very common for moms-to-be. What does depression during pregnancy look like? You may find yourself sad, anxious, or lost. You may develop aches and pains that don’t seem to go away, loss of appetite or overeating, loss of energy, or sleeping too little or too much. These symptoms can come and go or last for days, but it’s important to identify these behaviors so you can speak to your doctor. 

Keep Stress Away-Be Prepared

Pregnancy is easily one of the most stressful periods in a woman’s life. Stress can lead to feelings of depression, tiredness, and can even cause conditions like high blood pressure. Don’t give in to stress. Meditate, do some stretching (especially before bed as this can prevent you from getting leg cramps while sleeping!), and make sure not to do strenuous activities like heavy lifting and excessive exercise. 

Childbirth and Postpartum: 

Having a Birth Plan Can be the Best

We all know that many times events don’t go according to plan. But having your birth plan laid out can cause a significant weight to lift off your shoulders. Are you going for a hospital or at-home birth? Many women nowadays are hiring doulas to assist them during childbirth. Doulas are trained professionals who provide support to women before, during, and after childbirth. We all have heard of instances where women were put under tremendous stress or felt they were unheard during the process of childbirth. If you are looking for someone to advocate for you, a doula may be the way to go. 

Hydration and Nutrition During Breastfeed is Essential

While breastfeeding, it’s important you continue to hydrate. Water and milk are the two best liquids to drink while breastfeeding, as many new moms report feeling thirsty after all breastfeeding sessions. Keeping water bottles near your breastfeeding chair or bed can make a world of difference when it comes to being hydrated while breastfeeding. Also, after the birth of your baby do not feel pressured to lose weight. Make sure to eat whole foods filled with beneficial nutrients. Fruits, greens, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates are key!

Prenatal Vitamins Can Help Restore Nutrients

Though your pregnancy is over, don’t put away the prenatal vitamins you were prescribed just yet. Taking them can still give you a lot of nutrients, which can be especially essential when you’re breastfeeding. Restoring the nutrients your body lost during pregnancy helps with these prenatal vitamins, as well as supporting the body while losing breast milk. Iron supplements and Vitamin C supplements can also help restore key nutrients to the body!

A Weakened Pelvic Floor is Totally Normal

After childbirth, you may find yourself dealing with unexpected bladder leakage. It may happen suddenly, when you sneeze, laugh, or even cough. But this is totally normal! Prolonged pushing and use of forceps during childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor, which is the area of muscles that holds the bladder and other reproductive organs together. Kegels are usually recommended if you want to strengthen your pelvic floor and help with sudden bladder leaks. So if you feel a leak spring next time you laugh after you’ve just given birth, don’t be alarmed, because this is something a lot of new moms go through as well!

Physical Changes and Emotional Changes are Expected

You’ve helped create and brought forth a brand new life! There is often a focus on ‘bouncing back’ after having a baby that revolves around doing strenuous exercising. This is not something to focus on. Your body has carried a human being for months, so the presence of stretch marks and post-baby weight is nothing to be ashamed of. You may feel frustrated and sad at times, but it’s important to keep note of these feelings. Baby blues are referred to the up and down emotions that linger days after childbirth. But if you are still feeling frustrated, tired, upset, and hopeless, it’s important to speak to your doctor because it may be postpartum depression. 

Transitioning into motherhood can bring a mix of emotions, many happy, but also many overwhelming. Having the right doctor or facility can help when it comes to maternal health. Some of our favorites sources to find the right clinic or doctor for you include: 

https://npino.com/obgyn-clinic/1730637471-caribbean-womens-health-institute-csp/

https://cwha.org

https://www.freeclinics.com/det/ny_Caribbean_Womens_Health_Assoc1

Sources used: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-really-helps-you-bounce-back-after-pregnancy

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=the-new-mother—taking-care-of-yourself-after-birth-90-P02693

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/features/maternal-depression/index.html

https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/pages/2016-01-05-36-pregnancy-tips-listicle.aspx

https://www.thebump.com/a/how-to-deal-with-stress-during-pregnancy

Founded in 2005 by Virgin Island native Janette Brin, Caribbean POSH is a fashion and lifestyle magazine blog on a mission to empower Caribbean Women. Visit our website to learn more about the magazine and our annual Caribbean POSHgirl POWER Brunch.