By Thrive Wellness Reno Registered Dietitian Laura Oberg, RDN, RYT, MFA
As a person’s lifestyle changes throughout the perinatal period, which accounts for pregnancy through one year postpartum, they may experience disruptions in how they nourish their body. New parents may be faced with harmful societal pressure for their bodies to appear a certain way, confusing misinformation around perinatal fad diets, and difficulty fueling their bodies amid the demands of new parenthood. Perinatal nutrition guidance that encourages intuitive eating can help a person free themself from rigid food rules, savor the experience of eating, and adjust to the nutritional needs of their new lifestyle.
FIVE WAYS NUTRITION SUPPORT AND INTUITIVE EATING CAN PROMOTE PERINATAL HEALTH
As an individual becomes accustomed to the obligations of new parenthood, perinatal body changes, and possibly shifting eating preferences, nutrition guidance can help them develop and reinforce a strong and healthy relationship with food and their body.
Dietitians can help those in the perinatal stage:
1. Overcome unrealistic postpartum expectations and pressure around body appearance.
Implementing intuitive eating principles with counseling from a dietitian can empower a person to reject any societal expectations to regain their pre-pregnancy body and instead explore how and what foods fuel their new lifestyle, while also creating space for self-acceptance.
2. Disregard perinatal food fads.
Caregivers can become caught up in eating trends that require restriction and promise to make them “better parents,” such as clean eating, detox cleanses, or other limiting approaches to eating. Endorsed by diet culture and commonly promoted by social media, these detrimental narratives around perinatal diets can lead to unfair and unhealthy comparisons. Individuals can avoid the fallout of fad diets altogether by gaining insight into the practice of intuitive eating from dietitians. Instead of relying on definitive food rules, a new parent can learn to listen to their body’s natural cues on when, what, and how to nourish it by integrating intuitive eating principles.
3. Integrate self-care into their lives.
Nourishing one’s body is a form of self-care which may become more difficult to practice as parents focus on caring for their children. Nutrition guidance can teach individuals to implement self-care by fueling their bodies effectively and mindfully enjoying the experience of eating.
4. Improve their mood by eating adequately.
Just as emotional regulation skills suffer with lack of sleep, possessing a positive perspective can be challenging when one is inadequately nourished. A basic biological need, food allows the brain to function optimally. By eating according to one’s hunger and fullness cues, a person can prepare themselves for appropriate emotional responses and brighten their overall outlook.
5. Ensure they’re nourished adequately for breastfeeding if that’s their chosen feeding method.
If a birthing parent chooses to breastfeed, they need appropriate nourishment so they can feed their baby effectively. A dietitian can provide guidance around intuitively fueling one’s body for nursing, which can be a physically demanding endeavor.
By meeting one’s nutritional needs, a parent can support their overall well-being — body and mind. When caregivers prioritize their own health, they’re more likely to face each day of parenting with full cups that brim with gratitude and strength.
PERINATAL NUTRITION SUPPORT AT THRIVE WELLNESS
To help caregivers feel energized, balanced, and resilient in their roles, Thrive Wellness offers perinatal health services that include mental, behavioral, and physical health support. For parents seeking to gain more insight into nourishing their bodies, we provide individualized nutritional counseling that emphasizes intuitive eating, while offering clients creative ways to integrate nutritional self-care into their daily lives. To learn more about our perinatal health services, reach out.
While all Thrive Wellness locations offer interdisciplinary clinical teams who collaborate to treat eating disorders, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), and additional mental and behavioral health conditions, programs and services may vary by location.
About the Author
Thrive Wellness Reno Registered Dietitian Laura Oberg, RDN, RYT, MFA
With a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from Brigham Young University and having graduated from the Sodexo Dietetic Internship program in New York with honors, Laura Oberg built her career as a dietitian upon strong foundations. Early in her career, she provided critical care and pediatric nutrition services at both Jamaica Hospital in Queens, New York and St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York. Later, her journey brought her to Intermountain Medical Center in Utah where she joined a nutrition support team with an exclusive concentration on parental and enteral nutrition (also known as tube feeding) for severely malnourished patients and those unable to obtain nutrition via traditional means. Along the way, Laura also spent time working as a care technician at a residential center for eating disorder recovery, where her passion for promoting holistic eating disorder healing grew stronger.
At Thrive Wellness Reno, Laura works with clients struggling with a variety of eating and feeding disorders. She finds the relationship each individual has with food and their body to be fascinating and encourages the concept of intuitive eating. As a registered yoga instructor, she also integrates mindful movement into her approach as she feels the mind-body connection that it offers can be extremely effective. She believes that together, nutrition and movement therapies can provide connection with and integration of the self.
Additionally, Laura has a master’s degree in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City with a focus on visual effects resulting from racism and generational trauma. She is captivated by artistic expressions of all kinds. When she’s not busy changing lives, she enjoys spending time at the lake, reading, playing with her kids, and taking road trips to her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.