Why Health is a Vital Concern for New Parent

When a new baby is born, parents commonly report a huge change in their mindset. Instinctively, the child becomes the focus of all their energy, and other matters (such as the parents’ own sleep patterns, workout routines and general health) are put on the back burner. The human body is a marvelous and wise work of art; it lets us know when it is time to pull back and when to go full steam ahead. Still, new parents should be aware of the following health issues that may affect them:

When a Good Night’s Sleep is Elusive This issue affects mothers and fathers in different ways. The book The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child's First Four Years, notes: “One 2013 study of 21 mother-father pairs enjoying their first infant experience found that fathers actually got less sleep than mothers and experienced more confirmed sleepiness, as measured using wrist trackers.” Mothers, it seems, have more time to make up for lost sleep during the day (when they are on maternity leave, for instance). However, although they sleep more hours, their sleep quality is less, because of the baby’s feeding schedule.

New parents should aim to make sleep a priority, by enlisting the help of friends and family. If required, A can also consider hiring a midwife to help with care, even for a few hours during the day. A lack of rest can exacerbate postpartum depression, which in turn can impede the mother’s ability to bond with her child. It is vital to ensure mum receives quality health care (both physical and mental), since both her and her baby’s well-being can be jeopardised by a failure to do so.

Movement is Life When every waking moment is spent tending to a new baby or toddler, it can be difficult for parents to find time to work out, yet research abounds regarding the negative effects of the sedentary lifestyle. In the UK, over 20 million people are classified as physically inactive, which significantly increases their risk of cardiovascular disease. Failing to exercise also contributes to obesity and Type II diabetes. Parents should aim to find exercise at least three times a week, to keep these illnesses at bay.

Mental Health Risks Postpartum depression in mothers is far from being the only mental health concern faced by new parents. Increased pressure to be ‘super mom’ and ‘super dad’ are contributing to the development of mental conditions, including anxiety and depression. Parents should be aware of the signs of mental illness, seeking treatment when necessary.

While welcoming children into the home can be a great source of joy, it is important to be aware of how this big change can affect parental health. Preventive measures should be adopted to enable parents to stay in optimal physical and mental health.

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