If you look at every magazine aimed at women, especially mothers, you’ll see headlines about dieting, exercise and snapping back immediately after giving birth. The celebrity culture is mostly to blame for this, as we are constantly bombarded by the latest pregnant celeb who can instantly seem to snap back into those skinny jeans. This constant pressure on women to look like they did before pregnancy within the first week of giving birth is becoming an alarming issue for women in a vulnerable position.
The thing is, pregnancy changes your body. It doesn’t just house and carry a baby, it stretches out to accommodate the growth of a new person. The muscles change shape and slack, you add fat from your face to your feet as you gain extra pints of blood and more fluid than you probably anticipated. Some of the changes that happen to our bodies is not always welcome, and some women choose pregnancy as the time in their lives to kick back on the diet and exercise and let go a little. There are some changes that are reversible with these post pregnancy workout ideas, and exercise is so important to keep your health in general. However, the expectation to ‘snap back’ as if you haven’t just grown and pushed out a fully functioning human being can contribute to postnatal depression.
The expectations we put upon ourselves can cause so much stress, and while the magazines are screaming at you to lose the baby weight and tighten the muscles, there are other things going on with your body that you may not have even anticipated. You see, pregnancy is a magnificent time in a woman’s life, magnificent, and life-changing for more reasons than just a baby. Your whole body responds differently once you’ve had a child, and there are a lot of things about your new post-pregnancy body that people will not tell you about. We’ve put together some of the truths you will face once your baby is born, and not all of them are pretty. The good news? Your post-pregnancy body can be brought back to normality – but you have to give yourself one thing. TIME. It takes almost ten months to get your body to a complete change before birth, and it will take some time to get back to normal. It isn’t unusual for you to need a year or more to change your shape again. So, while you wait, check out some of these post-baby body facts that you could relate to!
Squeeze And Release
You may have heard your midwife or healthcare provider explain the importance of exercising your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy in preparation for labour, but did you know that your bladder could fail after birth? Regardless of the way you baby is born, pregnancy and childbirth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and cause some damage to the nerves that control the bladder. Incontinence is not unusual – especially in new mothers who try out the new trampoline! Exercising your muscles throughout pregnancy and immediately after the birth is important to keep those internal muscles tight and secure.
A Hairy Situation
As a woman, you’ll already be aware of how your hair grows and sheds in cycles. During pregnancy, your hair won’t shed anywhere near as much as usual, which is why it feels thicker and healthier during those months. Once the pregnancy hormones leave your body, the cycle of shedding and growing restarts, which means you may notice your hair coming out in handfuls for a while. It can be disconcerting to see your hair falling out in the shower after baby is born, but these hacks here can tell you how to promote healthy hair growth. The bright side? The extra hair you may have sprouted on your bump or face during pregnancy will also shed, as that fine hair was caused by hormone changes, too.
During pregnancy, it’s not unusual for your feet to change their shape. Sure, you’ll notice a huge difference when it comes to water retention, but that’s not what we mean. Your feet can go up by a size or two permanently after a baby is born, and it’s not unusual for that to be alarming for some! Feet are not a place you imagine are going to change when carrying a child, so for some it’s a surprising change and one that takes some getting used to.
Okay, so everyone knows that your body gains weight during pregnancy and your stomach becomes a bump full of baby, fluid and placenta. However, this isn’t the only change. You could potentially gain a couple of cup sizes on your bra and as your pelvis softens ready for labour, sometimes the width of your hips stays wider. You could get right down to your pre-pregnancy weight and find that your overall body shape has shifted. A lot of women find a confidence in these changes, knowing that they are down to their own ability to have carried and nourished a baby through to birth.
No Skin Off Your Nose
During pregnancy, it’s pretty common for your skin type to shift to something oilier. Acne and spots are common during the time you are pregnant, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself struggling to get rid of the spots once the baby has come along. There are some skin changes, such as pregnancy melasma, that stay for good. Check out this article about pregnancy melasma and what you can do about it.
Our bodies are remarkable, and the changes that you go through when carrying a baby can be alarming when you first go through them. What is important here is understanding that these changes are not always permanent, and you can regain the body you once had with time and patience. Pressure on yourself when you are in a vulnerable state of mind and lacking body confidence is not welcome, so you should be confident that your body has nourished your baby and spend your time cuddling your precious new bundle; not worrying about your new look.