The Need to Replenish
The energy demands of caring for a newborn can further drain and deplete the mother’s nutrient reserves, especially if she is breastfeeding and is sleep deprived. If she has hemorrhaged or lost a great deal of blood while birthing her baby, the need for replenishing the nutritional components of blood is even more critical. If a mother does not replenish key nutrients, she might experience light-headedness and throbbing headaches along with extreme fatigue and depression. Then there is the stress of integrating the intense needs of a new baby into her lifestyle while tending to her mate and perhaps other children.
All of these responsibilities that women have taken for granted for years demand high quality nutrients. Why? Every physiologic process in the human body depends upon the nutrients we get from the foods we consume. The most important time for mothers to consciously replenish postpartum nutrient reserves is from one to 24 months postpartum. The failure to do this often sets the stage for chronic health problems that may last for decades.
There was a time when most women throughout the globe would be given their placenta in some edible form to consume directly postpartum, much like dogs and cats instinctively eat their own placenta today. Why? The placenta contains very concentrated amounts of the nutrients and hormones that the mother has lost through giving birth. The fact that eating one’s placenta is now largely culturally distasteful further supports the need to consume the appropriate nutrients and nourishing foods that each woman needs to rebuild and replenish her donated nutrient reserves.
The conventional wisdom these days is for doctors to recommend that moms stay on their prenatal vitamin for up to a year postpartum. While this underscores a growing awareness for the need for nutritional replenishment after childbirth, and is certainly better than no vitamin at all, the fact is that the nutritional needs of the postpartum woman are vastly different from the needs of a pregnant woman.
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