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Post Partum Health

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SMALLER MEALS MORE OFTEN

SMALLER MEALS MORE OFTEN

 

CLICK ON THE FDA LINK BELOW FOR NEW PYRAMID

 

 

Keep in mind that the postpartum period is not the time to worry about losing weight, rather, concentrate more on eating healthy and keeping your energy level up by eating less more often. You have enough to be concerned about without worrying over your weight right away!

 

What constitutes a meal?  A meal does not have to consist of all the following: meat, carbohydrate, vegetable, fruit, and drinA meal can be a couple servings of fruit and/or vegetable.   Contrary to popular belief, if you eat healthy things more often, you will not gain weight - in fact, you may lose weight. 

 

Water Intake Levels

 

When you sit feeding your baby, whether nursing or using formula, have a glass of milk, water, juice standing near by.  Keeping hydrated is essential for optimum health.  (I highly recommend that if you want to drink a cup of hot tea or coffee, please do so when not feeding your baby.)    SAFETY FIRST!

 

Consuming half your body's weight in ounces of water a day will help maintain a healthy system. If you have never been a water drinker - start with flavored water and/or spring water; spring water does make drinking water easier.  Work on drinking water as part of your normal daily routine.

 

Delay drinking liquids, other than milk, when you are eating.  Foods break down easier by the natural stomach acids if not diluted by water taken in during meals. Following this plan will also provide that the nutrients in the food will be more readily utilized by the body. 

 

If you must drink during meals take small sips.  It is better if you consume water a half hour before you eat which will also help to fill up the stomach so that you will eat less, especially if you need or want to lose weight.  

 

Water Ratio:  Our bodies are at their healthiest if we consume half our body weight in ounces of water over the course of each day.  (For example:  If you weigh 120 lbs. you should be consuming at least 60 ounces of water each day.)

 

Most diet plans do not stress the drinking of more water as part of a weight-loss program. They fail to mention it because perhaps their products would not be needed by the consumer if they were to increase water intake first. 

 

Our bodies have a built-in water buffer system of sorts that keeps us from losing too much water that is necessary for keeping internal organs working properly.  In essence, regardless of how much water you drink, the body will hold onto what it needs and during these times you may feel bloated or swollen as a result of the body holding onto the water necessary for "basic" organ maintenance.  Basic does not necessarily mean "healthy".  Drinking more water will maintain optimum health and keep swelling and bloating to a minimum - unless of course a medical problem exists - for instance, having high blood pressure.

 

If you were to drink water at the water ratio above, you would see less bloating and swollen hands and feet, and combined with a regular exercise program, you will find less stiffness upon rising, and may even increase your body's overall health.  (And, remember that the more you drink, perhaps the less you may weigh which will bring down your "water ratio".)

 

Water is necessary to keep us from becoming dehydrated.  Remember too, that when you become dehydrated you may be more prone to becoming ill or catching flu, etc. from someone else.

 

Fish intake, "to be or not to be"  -  "food or supplement"  

 

We hear so much in the media about how pregnant women and new mothers should avoid eating fish high in mercury. Of course the media does not tell us what type of fish is safe to eat. The reaction of all of society is to avoid all fish entirely and this is simply not prudent, wise nor healthy. 

 

Fish provides Omega-3, a healthy fatty acid necessary for proper neural transmitter communication in our brains.  Supplies of Omega-3 is nearly and sometimes totally depleted after having our babies and replacing healthy levels of Omega-3 may take up to a full year. So, it is very important to know about the types of foods and supplements you can consume that will help restore your Omega-3 levels.

 

If you concentrate during pregnancy on taking in extra servings of foods rich in Omega-3 and/or taking Omega-3 supplements, and continue to do so during the postpartum period, along with taking a multi-vitamin, you will do much to return your Omega-3 to healthy levels in a shorter time frame. What do you have to lose in trying? Not making this a priority, as part of a nutritional diet regimen, only puts you at risk of suffering needlessly with depressive symptoms. 

 

You can replenish the Omega-3 faster by consuming lots of Omega-3 enriched foods like walnuts, tuna - fresh or canned, salmon, eggs enriched with Omega-3 (Egglands' Best Brand for one) and, at one point, even ice cream could be purchased with Omega-3 in it - although I've never tried it.  (Maybe we can get "Mikie" to try it first.) 

 

Kidding aside, if you simply cannot eat any of the foods listed above, then please take supplements.  If you can't afford them, make them part of your gift list for a baby shower.  Someone will get them for you once knowing how important it is.  (I RECENTLY CAME ACROSS “SALMON” SUPPLEMENTS AT A LOCAL PHARMACY – THERE YOU GO!)

 

"Where there are options - there lies also hope!"  Vow Verse 7/9/05

 

Thyroid Health

 

Thyroid imbalances in the general population are on the rise.  Using iodized salt during cooking or at the table will greatly help to keep thyroids healthier.  More and more doctors are running full thyroid screenings during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth. But most do not!  As a medical consumer, you have the right to request thyroid screenings – IF YOUR PRESENT DOCTOR DOES NOT, CONSIDER GOING TO AN “INTERNIST”; THEY BELIEVE IN DOING MORE TESTING AND SCREENING, X-RAYS, ETC.

 

An undiagnosed and untreated thyroid problem can cause many symptoms indicative of baby blues, and depression. If your present doctor does not or will not run a full thyroid panel of tests, (TSH and Free Thyroxine Test), it may be time to look for another doctor who will. Perhaps ask your doctor when first going to him if he/she would run these tests, if not - why waste your time going to them.  Look for another doctor who will!  It is that important of an element in providing a positive mothering experience and/or finding resolution for depressive symptoms.  If your insurance will not pay for these tests, find an agency or a family member or friend who can help you pay for them - it is that important.  Another shower gift idea! 

 

Sometimes you may feel more tired for no apparent reason and your mood may dampen more than usual - it can be the result of having less than normal thyroid functioning.  (If your thyroxine level is lower than normal and your already depressed, and your doctor does nothing - its time to seek a second opinion. It is your right to do so!)

 

If you have an undiagnosed and subsequently untreated thyroid problem, your pituitary gland may freeze causing what is called "Thyrotoxic Storm".  Thyrotoxic Storm is where the pituitary shuts down and keeps in tact all the hormones that were once used during pregnancy.  Hence, you are then on hormonal overload.  More research desperately needs to be done to better serve those women who might be at risk.  Doing a simple thyroid test during pregnancy and early postpartum may avoid any of this from happening. Don't wait for your doctor to bring up this topic; you bring it up and demand better postpartum medical care.  We have to become more pro-active and less reactive if we are to change the present medical protocols that continue to place women at risk for peri-natal mood disorders.  

  

The "Fish" Story Continued

 

In countries around the world, where fast foods and already prepared meals are being introduced and catching on, and where fish intake has decreased greatly, higher incidences of postpartum depression are being reported. 

 

There is a trade-off of sorts when taking in slight amounts of fish with mercury as opposed to not taking in any and suffering the consequences of depression. A new mother must either eat foods rich in Omega-3 or take supplements to return to optimum post-childbirth health and thus help avoid the pitfalls of depressive symptoms.  Taking Omega-3 is not the only way to reduce risk of a mood disorder, but it is still very important!

 

If you limit your intake of fish with higher mercury content to perhaps once a week, and/or add to your diet other foods enriched with Omega-3, as well as Omega-3 supplements, you will increase your Omega-3 levels and feel better by doing so.

 

 

RECIPES FROM MY MOM -  Shirley Doris Carr

 
SALMON -  There are lots of recipe options for salmon.  My mother's favorite recipe for salmon was called "Salmon Pea Wiggle".  Cute!  Salmon was a staple around our house, and this one was and is so easy. 
 
"Salmon Pea Wiggle" 
 
Make a white sauce (recipes in most cook books), then add broken up salmon (red sockeye is best), peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over saltine crackers.  Serve with a green vegetable, and/or fruit.  (If salmon is not for you or your family, try this recipe with tuna or some other fish product you like - even imitation crab.)
 
Salmon also comes in supplement form at your local pharmacy. Check it out! 
 
TUNA - Another favorite family recipe is "Tuna Noodle Casserole." My kids loved it and it was one of our weekly meal staples. 
 
"Tuna Noodle Casserole"
 
Cook, rinse and drain noodles.  Mix a can of mushroom soup with a can of milk, add one pre-whipped medium egg, a can of corn or peas and mix well. Add salt, pepper, parsley, and basil to suit individual taste.  Add noodles and fold lightly together.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.  Serve with a salad, bread and/or fruit.
 
Variations of the above recipes are up to you, but eating more tuna and salmon, along with other sources of Omega-3 enriched foods and/or supplements, on a regular basis will provide higher concentrations of necessary Omega-3. And, If you use tuna fish packed in spring water, it will make for a much tastier meal and be healthier for you.  Oils tend to detract from the final taste outcome in recipes and add unnecessary saturated fats.) 
 

In a press release dated April 19, 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion talks up  its new Food & Exercise Pyramid.  You can view and become educated about the new pyramid at www.MyPyramid.gov . Read how eating a balanced diet and exercising can help keep you healthier.  It makes a whole lot more sense than the old USDA pyramid and it is a welcome change.