This week, I’ll be covering ‘Part III - The Second and Third Trimesters: Completing Physical Recovery’, from Dr Oscar Serrallach’s ‘The Postnatal Depletion Cure’ which includes two chapters. In this third part, the author provides us with essential information regarding nutrition and exercise to focus on.
In Chapter 9: ‘The Optimal Energy Food Plan’, the benefits of eating the ‘Sapien Way’ is mentioned (p.146-148). The word ‘Sapien’ is the Latin word which means ‘wise’. Quite fitting then that this should be seen as a ‘wise’ way of considering our nutritional needs at such an important time for our bodies and minds, and an acronym which is easy to remember (A bit like the BRAINS acronym in hypnobirthing!). The letter ‘I’ refers to ‘Individualised: Identify foods that affect your health’ and ‘E’ ‘Ecological: Being aware of where your food comes from’. This way of thinking about what we eat could be considered everyday really, not solely perinatally!
“Once you start eating more fats, it will help you with the consistency of your energy, which is like putting a slow-burning log on the fire that can sustain you for hours - as opposed to eating carbs, which is like putting on twigs that burn up immediately.” (p. 151)
Here, Dr Serrallach discusses the importance of the types of foods to consume which are energy-boosting and provides some wonderful lists of ideas for breakfast, snacks, lunches, dinners and drinks, providing information on what to avoid too! He also explains how best to cook food in order to preserve the most nutrients. A fantastic resource to revert back to time and again when needed.
In Chapter 10: ‘The Optimal Exercise Plan’, the Author mentions that: “The combination of plenty of activity, correct movement, posture, gentle exercise and stretches not only will help your postnatal body to recover its strength but will also give you more energy, improve sleep, kick-start your libido and make you feel so much better.”
This chapter explains how so intrinsically connected all parts of our bodies are and how important it is to look for balance in exercise and movement postnatally. Dr Serrallach discusses what to look out for in terms of being ready physically and emotionally, how to best avoid injury, what to do to improve your posture and so much more - we’re often hunched over a baby a lot of the time especially in those early weeks!
This is something I know about personally after having had a severe diastasis recti (abdominal wall separation) following the birth of my second baby. It’s worth mentioning here that an appointment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist should definitely be considered following your 6/8 week postnatal GP check-up to establish what exercise is safe to start doing following the birth. In some countries, like France, these appointments are provided as part of the healthcare system.
There is an overwhelmingly high amount of information on the internet nowadays with regards to nutrition and health, not only around pregnancy and the postnatal period, but in general and it can sometimes be ‘fake news’. It’s such an important time to receive the correct support that you need, and deserve, so looking into support from qualified experts near to you is hugely beneficial for your overall wellbeing, and as a result for the rest of the family!