The Truth About Your Post-Pregnancy Body
What You (Don't) Want to Know!
"Bleeding, stretch marks, someone else's breasts for sure, baby fat that just won't go away... Will I ever get my regular body back?"
Having a new baby is great, right? Having a post pregnancy body is not that great!
For example, if it hadn't hurt so much, you'd wonder if you really did give birth since you still look pregnant!
And how do you feel about those wet circles on your t-shirt since you forgot to put nursing pads in your bra?
The most common advice I read for new moms worried about the appearance of their post-pregnancy body is to be proud since it delivered a baby. To me that's about as helpful as telling an exhausted new mom to sleep when her baby sleeps. Not very helpful at all! (If you need efficient sleep tips for new moms, read this article.)
The first time you give birth, you might be a bit shocked over about how much your body has changed and how it looks directly after giving birth. It is hard to know what to expect and what is normal.
I think knowing is always better.
Remember, with a bit of effort and with the help of time, your body will return to a more normal state to a large extent, probably within a year.
Don't despair! Instead, read all about your post baby body below.
What To Expect About Your Post Pregnancy Body
Belly Still Looks PregnantI had heard so many mothers say that your belly looks awful after giving birth. But I still didn't realize that it would look this bad!
Our oldest son kept asking if he could squeeze my very soft belly.
Trust me, for a few weeks or so, you will continue to look pregnant. It is very normal!
Your uterus contracts slowly during six weeks and your stomach muscles are so stretched they aren't really there.
Your belly will improve, and a bit faster if you breastfeed, since this helps the uterus to contract faster. But even if you don't breastfeed, after six weeks or so, your uterus will be its original before-pregnancy size.
But your belly will not get back to normal without some exercise. The muscles are simply too stretched.
Crunches help, my friends or if you want to get serious, get yourself a good exercise program for a flatter stomach, like this one. (Opens in new window) Unfortunately, exercising those muscles is really the only way to get this part of your post-pregnancy body to look like before. (Believe me, I've tried cheating; it doesn't work!)
But wait until you have stopped bleeding, your body has to heal before you start exercising.
Stretch Marks Are Hard To Get Rid OfDid you get stretch marks (striae) during your pregnancy? Most women do. They can appear on your belly, your breasts or thighs and buttocks. If your mother got them, chances are you will too.
The good news is they fade over time. The bad news is they don't go away completely. Stretch marks creams are available for you to try, or if you are desperate, you can get rid of them with plastic surgery.
But wait at least a year or so before considering any drastic solutions (surgery) to see how much of the stretch marks disappear naturally. This wait may save you some money.
If you don't feel like just sitting around waiting for improvement, you can give time a little bit of help. Don't expect miracles, but I know one stretch mark cream that can actually make a difference. It is called TriLASTIN-SR.
You can buy TriLASTIN-SR from EC Research Corp., which has a 60-day money back guarantee.
If you recognize the name, it might be because the cream was featured on the Tyra Banks show some time ago, because this stretch mark cream actually works for most of the users. It is also affordable compared to some other famous brands.
Linea Nigra Disappears
What about the linea nigra - the brown line some pregnant women get on their belly during pregnancy?
Well, here is the good news - the line will disappear completely!
The bad news? Nope, no bad news here!
Did you know the old wives tale - that a short linea nigra, only to the navel, means a girl and a long one means a boy. Was it like that for you?
Mine stopped at the navel whether or not I was carrying a girl or a boy.
Anyway, the linea nigra will disappear from your post-pregnancy body within a few months. If you breastfeed, it may take just a little bit longer.
Your Breasts Will ChangeOne of the biggest changes you might notice with your post-pregnancy body is your breasts.
Your breasts change during pregnancy and from breastfeeding. Most expecting mothers get bigger breasts while pregnant and then even bigger breasts while breastfeeding.
Your breasts will not be bigger, but longer - and flatter.
They might get some of their original, before-pregnancy breast shape back after a while, but not all.
Actually, for many women, the breast change is the worst part of having a post-pregnancy body, because the change is so big. You'll find a long discussion on the post pregnancy breasts here.
What should you do about it?
Wear a good bra and do pushups to strengthen the muscles.
And - hmm - get used to it! At least it should motivate you to buy really beautiful, expensive bras, right?
Or, of course, plastic surgery is an option if the shape makes you very miserable. But don't do anything until well after you have stopped breastfeeding and you are completely sure that you will not want to have any more children. At least not for long. To learn more about options for breast augmentation after pregnancy, click here.
If you breastfeed, your breasts may also be sore for a while and may leak. Here are tips on what to do when leaking breast milk. Not nice, but at least it should stop hurting within a few weeks. If it continues to hurt or if your nipples start bleeding, consult a lactation expert quickly. Your baby might be suckling in the wrong way.
Your Private Parts Will Recover
Before giving birth the first time, a very dear and very honest friend asked me:
"Has anyone told you that you will resemble a baboon "down there" after giving birth?"
No, no one had informed me of this not-so-nice fact about my post pregnancy body.
To be honest, I didn't check.
But it sure felt like she was right!
No matter how many stitches, if any, you had giving birth, you will be sore!
But if you don't get any infections, the soreness should fade away within a week or so. Actually if you had wounds that were too small to be stitched, you can be sore for a longer period, while they heal.
And then there's the other issue.
A baby's head actually came out that way, which means that the muscles and tissue were really stretched as much as possible. To get the muscle tone back, these muscles need to be exercised just as any muscles. They need to be exercised not only for your own (and your spouse's) pleasure, but also to prevent urine leakage. Actually, urine leakage is a very common problem for women post pregnancy, but few talk about it.
It should go away gradually as your body heals, but if you continue to have such problems, don't hesitate to talk to a doctor. Quite simple surgery can help you get rid of this condition.
Squeeze as often as you can!
I heard somewhere that three orgasms per day will do the job for you. It must have been an impatient man who came up with that idea! Even if it would work (please tell me if you try it), who would feel like it and have the energy to try it just after giving birth???
Post-Partum Bleeding ContinuesIf you haven't noticed it already, I can tell you that you will continue to bleed after giving birth for at least one month, probably more. The bleeding may stop faster the second time you give birth, but don't count on it. Eight weeks of bleeding is normal. But of course, quite soon, the bleeding should not be red any more, but rather brownish and not very abundant.
It doesn't matter if you gave birth or had a caesarean, you will bleed anyway. The blood comes from the wound where your placenta was attached to the uterus.
If you're at all worried, talk to a health care provider.
Skin Goes DryMany women have a very healthy complexion during pregnancy. Bad news - your skin will go back to normal after giving birth. Also, if you breastfeed, your skin and hair might become very dry for a while.
Good news, if you suffered from skin pigmentation changes during pregnancy (sometimes called ""the mask of pregnancy" or chloasma or melasma), these changes will often fade away after giving birth.
And if they don't disappear to your satisfaction or fast enough, creams can help. One cream that consistently get great reviews is Meladerm by Civant Skincare. This product can actually give nice results even in just a few weeks, which is good, especially since the company has a 30-day repayment guarantee.
If you have a very sensitive skin, talk to a dermatologist before using any skin lightening products. Also remember that you should not use such products while breastfeeding.
But when you don't breastfeed anymore, Meladerm is scientifically proven to help.
Weight Loss May ComeYour post-pregnancy body is likely to be bigger than before.
The body stores fat during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding.
If you do breastfeed, you might lose some of that weight quite easily. Some women even become very skinny during breastfeeding.
As your baby grows, you actually need some 500 - 800 extra calories per day to produce the milk.
The problem is that you will be so incredibly hungry! If you had difficulties eating during the last part of your pregnancy, these problems will be gone now! You will be starving!
So if you do want to lose some weight, you really have to think through what you eat. It is very easy to stuff your poor post pregnancy body with lots of unhealthy snacks when you have so little time and are so hungry!
Of course, if you don't breastfeed, you'll have work a bit harder. But on the other hand, you won't be so hungry! To learn more about losing weight while breastfeeding, read this article.
Stronger ArmsThe one part of your post pregnancy body that really should improve naturally is your arms. Or at least your left arm if you are right handed...
You will carry your baby a lot, and will get stronger and stronger. With nice biceps developing.
Love Life May SufferWas sex the first thing you thought of after giving birth? Or after studying you post pregnancy body in the mirror? I guess not!
For many it even seems a bit scary to have sex the first time after giving birth, considering how sore you are, that you might have a lot of stitches, that you are bleeding and so on. Not to mention being exhausted and having a new baby in your arms around the clock.
But, if you do want to give it a try, remember to use a condom if you are still bleeding to prevent infections (and new babies...). Breastfeeding can be effective as birth control, but you need to breastfeed exclusively and on demand. And it is not 100% safe.
Also use lubricants! Lots of it. Your mucous membranes are fragile, maybe a bit torn and are often very dry due to hormones.
Without lubricants I can almost guarantee you that your first try will be a really bad experience. So unnecessary!
And if you are curious on when other moms started to have sex after childbirth, check out this poll.
Well, this was the truth about your post pregnancy body. Some things change, some stay the same. Almost everything can be fixed with some effort and with the help of time.
If you want to share something regarding your post pregnancy body, write a comment below. Further down the page you'll find a lot of discussions on the post-natal body going on already.
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Some Moms' Thoughts After Their Post Pregnancy Body
Curious on other moms' situation? Click below to see some stories shared by other moms.Destroyed By My Post Pregnancy Body!
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