How New Moms Should Treat Their Bodies After Being Pregnant

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Source: The delivery of the precious bundle of joy is almost always the highlight of any pregnancy; seeing the face of your labour of love (no pun intended) for the first time and all the pain just simply melts away. However, right after that is the moment when most mothers dread; the moment when you are dictated by culture (in Malaysia at least) to go on a post-delivery confinement ‘programme’ consisting of bland food, minimal contact with the fan or air-conditioner, minimal physical movement, being cooped-up in hot rooms which would give spas a run of their money and getting all wrapped up in all sorts of bandages and cloths. Some even go to the extent of relinquishing showers or baths for days at a time just because culture frowns upon it. The list is endless and should I have the time and funds to do so, a detailed research of the confinement practices of each cultural group in Malaysia would see me coming up with a book that would equal the thickness of a dictionary. Now, I have no qualms about mums choosing to abide to all these practices. In fact, some of them may even bring out the best in the early motherhood experience. However, the one thing that is almost always prevalent till today is the urgent needs of mums who have just delivered to get back to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight, and this is almost always accomplished by going on dietary restrictions. Traditional midwives or ‘confinement ladies’ have their own ’10 Commandments’ that all new mothers should abide to. And the one that is always sitting pretty at the top of the list is food restrictions. Some simply go on a diet of watery rice porridge, with a sprinkling of fried anchovies and ginger; some do not even touch fruits or vegetab... ... middle of paper ... ...l be much leaner in time. However, the bottom line is that, exercise is crucial. Many more issues may be debated on the confinement practices of the women of Malaysia. However, the issues of proper food and water intake as well as exercise are highlighted in order to promote awareness of what is right for any new mums. After all, there is no harm in making the right choice; only the pleasure of being able to enjoy your newborn to the fullest. Dr. Ayu Akida is a Public Health specialist. Her area of interest is family health, especially women's health and infectious diseases. Find out more about her at The Team (Columnist) page. Reference Lovelady, C 2011, ‘Balancing exercise and food intake with lactation to promote post-partum weight loss’, The Proceedings Of The Nutrition Society, 70, 2, pp. 181-184, MEDLINE with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 October 2013.

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