EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT HOW TO GET YOUR BODY BACK AFTER PREGNANCY.
We’ve got news for you: it’s never coming back. And you should be proud of that! After your body has grown a human being, it’s not surprising it will never quite be the same.
After giving birth, your body changes in so many ways. We’ve heard a lot about stretch marks, the “baby weight,” and breast changes, but there’s other post-baby body changes women aren’t talking a lot about.
HOW YOUR BODY CHANGES OVER THE FIRST 6 MONTHS POST-BABY
- Hair loss: During pregnancy, hair loss is minimal (hence the luscious head of hair…or maybe increased hair in “other” places you may have experienced during pregnancy). After giving birth, your body “catches up” by losing increased hair. Around 3-4 months after delivery, you might notice a sudden increase in hair loss and even experience hair thinning. Not to worry–given a few months, everything will level out.
- Stretch marks: If you got stretch marks during pregnancy (90% of women do!) you may notice these fade to a silvery-white in the months after giving birth.
- Belly: After your belly grows so rapidly during pregnancy, it’s not surprising that your skin will never completely return to it’s pre-baby tightness. Many women notice a post-baby “pouch,” especially over a Cesarean scar. If that pouch is more than just loose skin, rest assured that it can take time for the abdominal muscles to strengthen and internal organs to return to their usual position (and the uterus to return to it’s pre-pregnancy size). Some women have a separation in the abdominal muscles called a diastasis recti that may require physical therapy to diminish.
- Breasts: We’ve got some surprising news: despite common belief, it’s not breastfeeding that causes boob sag–it’s actually pregnancy! Your breasts grow and develop in a way they never did previously during pregnancy, so even if you choose not to breastfeed, expect that your post-baby breasts will be a bit different. After weaning from breastfeeding, your breasts may feel a little deflated–for most women, they’ll fill out a bit again given a few months.
- Lady parts: When you look down at your swollen vulva after giving birth (or maybe don’t look down, and just take our word for it!) you might wonder if it will ever be the same. Like most pregnancy-related swelling, things will slowly return to looking normal over the first few weeks after giving birth. Although the skin will heal quickly, the muscles may take longer to heal, and some transient incontinence of urine is possible. Vaginal dryness is common while breastfeeding, so lube up for intercourse!
Who can help with your post-baby body recovery?
Chicago Birth & Baby is all about how you feel after having a baby. It’s important your body be functional and strong as you remembered it, and while rebuilding that power can take time, it’s totally doable, especially with some professional help. Consider the following services to aid your physical recovery:
- Physical therapy with companies like Body Gears can help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor as well as aid you in learning to use your muscles most effectively when performing repetitive tasks such as carrying carseats (or even just your baby!), feeding your baby, and playing with older children.
- Postpartum massage (Pulling Down the Moon and Serenity Family Wellness) can help relax sore muscles and tired minds.
- Meal delivery with Kitchfix–look no further for healthy meals for tired new parents. Use code TCD2017 for $30 off your first order.
- Joining a gym or yoga studio (bonus if it has on-site childcare!) can help you to prioritize fitness once you get the green light from your healthcare provider.
- A postpartum doula can help to prioritize your need for self-care as well as inform you about normal postpartum recovery.
PUT TOGETHER A STYLISH, LOW-MAINTENANCE LOOK THAT WILL HELP YOU FEEL MORE CONFIDENT.
It’s easy to get caught up in long stretches of yoga pants and oversized shirts, but the way you dress is not only a reflection of who you are but can also directly impact your productivity and emotional health. Taking just a bit of time to attend to your appearance after having a baby can help you feel more like yourself and is a fantastic way to prioritize self care.
Annie Frances from Annie Styles You has put together some simple outfit ideas for both work and everyday that are comfortable for post-baby changing bodies. A one-on-one consult with Annie can assist you in making the most of your current wardrobe as well as choosing new clothes that fit your personal style and new body.
Maura Winkler, owner of Chicago Birth & Baby, is a labor & postpartum doula, RN, and IBCLC.