Building Nutrient Reserves with Diet

One of the classic medical textbooks on obstetrics, an imposing volume titled Williams Obstetrics (McGraw-Hill, 2001), devotes only three of more than sixteen hundred pages to the postpartum period. This makes sense in light of the fact that the average obstetrician (OB) does not participate much in postpartum care. For an uncomplicated birth, the OB shows up as the baby is emerging and zooms off as soon as he or she knows all is well.

Even if the OB were available to answer questions about how to eat during the postpartum months, he or she might not have much information to offer you. In those three pages on postpartum care in Williams Obstetrics, the only dietary advice the authors give is that women who have just given birth need not observe any dietary restrictions, and that they should eat an "appetizing general diet." Some women might find fried chicken, soda pop, and doughnuts to be the most appetizing foods around, but we know that these foods do not give a new mother's body the nutritional support it needs – and that nutrients drawn from her already depleted stores will be needed to process those foods, leaving her with an even greater deficit. Women need more specific information about how to nourish their bodies during postpartum recovery and breastfeeding. Advice on the ideal diet during pregnancy is easy to find in the average bookstore. It is much harder to find the facts on what to eat postpartum.

When you are engaged in baby care, putting nutritional advice into practice can be a formidable challenge. Some mothers give up on food preparation completely during the first months of their babies' lives, subsisting on takeout or ready-made packaged meals that do not meet their nutritional needs. However, it is important to eat nourishing, nutrient-replenishing foods during the pregnancy-recovery period to give yourself the best opportunity to avoid long-term nutrient deficiencies that may cause serious disease later on in life.


More on: Postpartum

excerpted from:

From A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health by Dean Raffelock, Robert Rountree, and Virginia Hopkins with Melissa Block. Copyright ฉ 2002 by Dr. Dean Raffelock. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.

Pregnancy Day by Day

Tell us your due date to receive our daily newsletter and find out what is happening in this day of your pregnancy!

Already a member? Log-in here

Name of the Day

Quick Polls

Q: What's the ideal spacing between children?


Less than 2 years


2-4 years


4 years or more


It doesn't matter.

1658 Total votes cast.


Create Your Baby Registry with Target
Do you have everything you need to care for your new bundle of joy? Create your Target baby registry today!

6 Tips to Help Your Marriage Survive a New Baby
When the going gets tough, follow these tips to help your marriage during the stressful newborn months.

Where Should Newborns Sleep? Comparing Bassinets, Cradles & More
Where will your bundle of joy sleep when she comes home? Get shopping and safety tips for choosing a bassinet, play yard, or other crib alternative that will fit in your bedroom, per AAP guidelines.

Top 100 Baby Names of 2015
Want to see which baby girl names and boy names are hot in the U.S. right now? Check out these lists from the S.S.A., and click on the names to see their meanings!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

© 2000-2015  Sandbox Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved.