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4 Nutritional Goals Postpartum

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

This article is tailored to the Postpartum Recovery Period but can also be applied to your health whatever stage your life is at. There are some general healthy eating habits and goals we all should be mindful of. In this article we will be focused on the following four.

4 Main Nutrition Goals

  1. Healing and recovery (postpartum or inflammation in general)

  2. Consuming adequate energy and nutrients

  3. Bowel health

  4. Staying well-hydrated

Healing and recovery

Our body's immune system responds to damage and harm with inflammation. This is needed in recovery but too much can impair healing. Foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties are listed below.

  • Healthy Fats (olive oil, flax oil, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados)

  • Dark Green Vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach)

  • Fruits (berries, grapes, apples)

Some to avoid because they cause more inflammation

  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, pastries)

  • Deep fried food

  • Meat high in saturated fat or highly processed meat (sausages, salami, deli meat, burgers)

  • Drinks with added sugars (soda, sports drinks, some juices)

Consuming adequate energy and nutrients

Specifically speaking to the breast feeding population you need an additional 500 calories per day to help with breast milk production and getting enough nutrients for your own body because it is getting essentially drained by your baby. Not getting enough calories can also inhibit milk production.

Even if you're not breastfeeding and you find that you are snacking and not eating well balanced meals several times a day you may have some obstacles and solutions.

Some obstacles in feeling energized are…

  • Not getting enough sleep

  • Not having time to go grocery shopping

  • Feeling like there is no time to cook

  • Using food as comfort, emotional eating or stress eating

A couple solutions for not getting to the grocery store: use a food delivery service i.e. green chef, hello fresh, blue apron or others. Local grocery stores since the pandemic have been more flexible with ordering online and doing store pick up or delivery through apps like InstaCart.

No time to cook? Try a time when you have a day to plan with other people who can watch the kids or help in the kitchen. Batch cooking for the week can make it easier to be successful with having things premade, frozen, or cut up and ready to serve later on with help of the microwave or stove top.

Take vegetables, for instance, out of the plastic bags and pre-cut into ready to eat portions for assembly in a salad or snack with hummus or nut butter. Whatever helps in getting food in your mouth the quickest way will help that are healthy.

Bowel health

Bowel health can influence your mood and your overall health.

Signs your bowels are working optimally.

  • Having a normal sensation to empty the bowels.

  • Emptying the bowels between 3x per day and 3x a week without strain or pain.

  • Well-formed stools ideally tube like in shape and not cracked or pebbly. Pebbly means you're dehydrated.

  • Somewhat consistent in shape,size, odor, color and frequency.

If you have bowel issues you want to get it handled especially as soon as possible to not cause more issues with the pelvic floor. Bearing down to go #2 can cause pelvic floor issues.

You want food high in fiber and to consume 30-35g of fiber/day to help with constipation.

Food high in Fiber

  • Root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, beets)

  • Fruits (banana, apples, berries)

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale)

  • Legumes (lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas)

  • Avocados

  • Unprocessed grain( quinoa, oatmeal, bran)

  • Almonds

  • Seeds (chia, sunflowers)

  • Dark Chocolate (70-95%)

If high fiber foods make things worse, consult with your doctor or nutritionist. They may recommend probiotics, magnesium or gentle laxatives.

Being Well-Hydrated

How much water is enough? The easy way to tell is to look at the color of your pee. If it is dark in color you are dehydrated. The recommended amount for women is 91 fluid oz or 2.7 liters per day in total fluid intake which can come from a variety of foods also. Some foods high in water content are soup, watermelon, celery, cucumber, rice, and smoothies.

For new moms you will need an additional 23-27 fluid oz or 1.1 liters daily on top of the usual amount to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps with fatigue and milk production. Not being well hydrated can cause drowsiness, constipation, headaches among other things.

Signs you are dehydrated

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Dry skin and lips

  • Poor cognition

  • Moodiness

  • Constipation

  • Dark urine or infrequent urination

If you find it hard to stay hydrated here are some tips. Have a big water bottle on hand at all times. Have a cup placed on your bathroom sink to remind yourself to drink a full cup first thing in the morning or every time you go to the restroom. If you are breastfeeding, drink a glass each time you breastfeed.

If you hate the taste of plain water try adding a pinch of lemon, lime, orange or watermelon or getting a soda stream for carbonation or flavored no sugar carbonation beverages like La Croix or Perrier.

These four foundational health skills are a great base for overall long term health and happiness. Once you’ve established these goals first then you can dive more into your unique goals with a trainer, dietician or nutritionist. They can help you identify roadblocks and come up with a plan to be consistent.

If you are interested in working with a postpartum specialist please reach out to me at

I hope you enjoyed the article and found it helpful.

Best to you on your health journey,

Jessa Freeman

- Postnatal Recovery - personal trainer - pilates classes - prenatal classes

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