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Giving birth is one of the most transformative experiences a woman can have — but the postpartum period isn’t always so easy to navigate.
As many as 20% of new moms may experience postpartum depression, which can range from mild “baby blues” to serious mood swings, thoughts of harm and even suicidal tendencies.
Dr. Cluny Lefevre, a board-certified family practice physician at Fem Strong Health in New York City, shared with Fox News Digital these five tips to help new mothers heal and enjoy a healthy relationship with their child.
1. Embrace creative expression
“At this time in your life, it is likely that your mind is racing and [you’re] thinking about all of the things you must do to support your newborn,” said Lefevre, who has extensive experience in women’s health and hormonal health.
She recommends carving out at least 30 minutes daily for other outlets to give the mind the opportunity to relax.
Activities such as painting, writing or playing a musical instrument can serve as a great relaxation tool, she said.
2. Develop mindful eating habits
“New moms tend to make sure they feed their infant and take great time and consideration in when, how and where this will be done — but they may forget that they also need proper nutrition to heal their body and support their strength to care for the baby,” said Lefevre.
Busy moms often follow a “grab-and-go” routine for their own meals, but this can leave them short of important nutrients, warned Lefevre.
The doctor suggested practicing “mindful eating” sessions, in which a mom will take 10 to 15 minutes to eat a meal.
“Know what you are eating, take the time to savor and enjoy each bite, and connect with your body and mind,” she said.
“This will both relax you and keep you strong.”
3. Practice ‘grounding’
To stay in touch with nature, Lefevre suggests that new moms go outside — especially first thing in the morning.
“Don’t stare at the sun,” she said — but bask in it.
“If possible, do this barefoot in the grass.”
The grounding effect with nature is relaxing, while the sun resets the circadian rhythm.
This will also reduce stress hormones and improve your mood, the doctor noted.
4. Start engaging your body
After childbirth, a woman’s body is in a “state of repair,” Lefevre said.
“You are doing a lot of running around, bending in awkward positions and holding your baby until your arms cramp,” she said.
The doctor recommends doing a 15-minute stretching and light strengthening program, ideally twice per day while the baby is resting.
“Do some dancing for cardio, simple stretching exercises to get those ligaments and tendons lubricated, and lightweight training to reawaken those muscles,” she suggested.
5. Keep a gratitude journal
“Use your mind and remember happy, successful or uplifting moments, then write them in a journal,” said Lefevre. “This can be digital or paper, based on your preference.”
For the maximum benefit, she said to add a journal entry at least once a day.
“If you can’t find the energy to write one day, then re-read your passages from earlier,” Lefevre suggested.
“This will lighten your mood, relax your mind, release positive hormones and generally make you feel better.”
To read more pieces in Fox News Digital’s “Be Well” series, click here.