Having a baby comes with great changes, one of the biggest being the huge transformation your body goes through during and after your pregnancy. Some of these alterations might be short-lived and others might last much longer. Everyone’s different in how their bodies handle such a transformation. But one fact remains consistent and true: your body has achieved something remarkable in carrying and delivering your baby. Learn more about what could be going on with your post-baby body in this me & my child guide.
- Understanding body changes after pregnancy
It’s normal to feel unprepared or overwhelmed by how your body changes while carrying and after having a baby. Some changes like stretch marks or extra weight may have popped up during pregnancy. Other bodily changes like swelling, bruising, and tenderness may have occurred due to you going into labour and/or your childbirth experience. If you’re concerned about whether some of these changes will be permanent, if you’re nervous about some of them coming back on their own, or if you have other questions about your post-baby body, speak to your trusted healthcare professional (HCP) for advice. Sometimes, just understanding why something is happening with your body can help you accept and adjust to such changes more easily.
- Recovery in the first 6 weeks postpartum
These are possible physical postpartum changes:
- Sore muscles and bruising from delivery.
- Cramping due to your uterus contracting back to its prepartum size.
- Vaginal bleeding, also known as ‘lochia’.
- A noticeable change in size and appearance of your breasts
Possible postpartum hormonal changes could result in:
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Mild hair loss
Please remember that your postpartum body needs time to recover from carrying and giving birth to a baby. Many of these inconvenient changes will feel less drastic and more tolerable within 6 weeks postpartum. Make sure if you have any concerns, or if these changes last longer than that timeframe, speak to your HCP.
- 6 weeks to 6 months postpartum
Between 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum, some of the initial physical changes may have eased or vanished, and some might have not. Others still may just be coming into play. If you’re breastfeeding, you might not see your monthly periods come back for quite a while. Life as a new parent may cause you to feel and look tired. You might also experience body aches from holding your baby for long periods of time regardless of whether you’re doing so seated or standing. It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit of frustration at some of the internal and visual aspects of your post-baby body. But you must remember that it took your body 9 months to form brand new life, and you’re still adjusting to your new role as a mum. Be kind to yourself and tweak your expectations when it comes to what your body should look and feel like. As mentioned before, if you require or desire further advice please seek help from a known HCP.
- Your body after your baby: 1 year in
By now, you may look and feel more like your old self again. Albeit with a few longer lasting or permanent body changes after pregnancy. Your weight may not be the same exactly, or it may be distributed across your body a little differently. If you’re experiencing chronic negative sensations or conditions that you believe may be related to your recent pregnancy or childbirth, don’t ignore them. Seeking help from your HCP on postpartum care and getting timely counsel and treatment will help you feel better and possibly help avoid future complications. And if their diagnosis reveals that you’re actually fine, going to them will have given you some peace of mind at least.
- How to be confident in your body, inside and out
Confidence has a lot to do with your mindset and attitude. Respecting and accepting the “new you”, physically and emotionally, is a major step toward feeling good in your own skin no matter the changes.
Whatever stage you’re up to postpartum, try not to compare yourself to others regardless if they’d been recently pregnant like you. Instead, pay attention to your current needs; make sure to take care of yourself by eating responsibly and by taking time to do what brings healthy pleasure to your body, whether that’s exercise or reading a book. As much as you’re able, make your physical health a top priority. Attend postnatal care and regular physiotherapy appointments if you need them.
Lastly, don’t forget that it’s okay to depend on and utilise your support network, especially if some of its members have had similar experiences. These acquaintances may be able to lighten your load so you can have the opportunity to take care of your own needs (check out our Postpartum self-care tips for ideas). Once again, your HCP can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about your post-baby body.
Me and My Child – https://www.meandmychild.co.nz/
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