In 1908, when Anna Jarvis worked around initiating a Mother’s Day Work Club, it intended to spread awareness on health issues. The idea was to honour her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, for her work in the field of cure and prevention. Several years later, Mother’s Day is now celebrated with a lot of pomp and fervour. However, somewhere we tend to ignore the health of a mother and a soon-to-be mother. Here’s a guide from experts for mothers on how to ensure a healthy life while balancing work and home.
Preventive measures and test
With the growing pace in our lives, we rarely find time to take care of ourselves. For every woman, following a balanced diet is important to meet the nutritional requirement of the body. Other than that, it’s important to be happy and stress-free to stay healthy and disease free. Good preventive care can help soon-to-be mums and their babies to stay healthy.
Senior spine specialist Dr Sheetal Adhalakha (PT) shares that with the thrill of motherhood comes the unwelcome back pain, which often remains or recurs long after pregnancy. Adhalakha says, “Ensuring a good prenatal and postnatal activity calendar can help you prevent back pain. Carry tests for nutritional deficiencies. This can help in ensuring good bone health and prevent back pain.”
Both diabetes and high BP are becoming very common not only with oldsters but also millennials. They increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, kidney dysfunction in all age groups and cause complication during pregnancy.
Jigna Sheth, nutritionist and fitness consultant, says, “Nutritional deficiencies such as that of protein and minerals (especially iron and calcium), are also very common in women of all age groups.”
Janvi Chitalia, holistic nutritionist and integrative wellness coach, says that mothers should be easy on oneself. “Kindly embrace the change the body has undergone and be kinder towards oneself to be able to understand the change the body has undergone. Eating with love and compassion is the key to making a difference towards your body and being compassionate is the way to nurture the body after a period of physiological stress endured during pregnancy.”
The right plate forward
Sheth shares that the requirement for every age group is different. So, including a healthy diet that includes right proportion of carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals is important for all age women. Chitalia lists important nutrients for the body.
Protein: Protein is the building block of the body which is important for new mothers as their bodies have been through physiological stress. It needs repair and replenishment. It is also the most important macronutrient to facilitate growth of one’s baby. Some protein sources include chicken, fish, egg whites, skimmed paneer, skimmed curd, almond milk, peanuts, mushroom and broccoli.
Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids are good fats which help in brain development and are also helpful in lowering inflammation in the body. They are present in oily fishes such as mackerel and salmon, and also in flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds.
Calcium: Calcium is essential in order to build the fundamental structure for growth of the bones and the muscular framework of the baby. One of the richest sources of calcium is nachni, green leafy vegetables, oranges, banana and guava.
Iron: New mothers do tend to see a loss in their haemoglobin levels post their pregnancy or delivery. Iron rich foods are jowar, bajra, buckwheat, green leafy vegetables, dates, figs and pomegranate.
Balancing work and home
Reaching great heights in your career at the cost of your health isn’t true success. Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach, says, “True success for mums is when they can manage their work, home as well as their health. A great tip to balance your work, home and health would be to spend a few minutes in the morning or the previous night and also, to reflect on how you want your day to pan out. Prioritise sleep. Carry meals from home.”
Dos for new mothers
- Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and milk products, lean meats and nuts. Protein rich foods are important to help recover from childbirth and keep the body strong.
- Do prevent infections. Some infections before and during pregnancy can hurt both mother and developing foetus.
- Do hydrate yourself. Suggestion is 2 to 2.5 litres per day.
- Don’t wait to vaccinate. Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants from potentially harmful diseases.
- Don’t ignore emotions. The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms of traditional depression.
- Don’t be overenthusiastic about losing weight and fitting back into your pre-pregnancy clothes.
By Naaznin Husein, Nutrition expert
Simple and quick exercises for mums and soon-to-be Mums to try at home
When you have kids it can feel impossible to get to the gym. So, consider adding simple exercises such as slow/fast run, squats, side leg raises, planking, crunches and more to your daily routine to get a workout in the time you have. Before that, mums can perform warm-up exercises, to get everyone limber up and ready. This includes high knees or booty kicks, pretend jump roping or jumping jacks.
For soon-to-be mums, Husein suggests regular moderate exercises during pregnancy improves health, boosts mood and reduces excess weight gain, back pain, fatigue and make delivery easy. Swimming, brisk walking, yoga, stationary cycling, low impact aerobics are good ways to get fit during pregnancy. Pelvic tilts and Kegel exercises are beneficial in preparing for labour.
For mums, she suggests sticking with an exercise routine as squeezing in a workout can be a struggle. There are practical ways to incorporate exercise in your day by taking a brisk walk up the street while getting supplies, or exercise on a bike or treadmill workout while the child sleeps.
Mother’s day is celebrated with a lot of pomp and fancy, however, we tend to ignore or neglect the health of a mother and soon to-be-mothers.