Post-Pregnancy Body Changes No One Tells You About.
*THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE GUEST POST*
Most of us are so preoccupied with our pregnancy that we do not give a second thought about the journey our body is about to take post birth. Popping back to our pre-pregnancy shape is not as easy as you might think and it is not realistic to think that it will happen overnight.
The truth of the matter is that your body will probably never be the same again. This is not necessarily a bad thing but a testament of childbirth and the beautiful gift of life. It is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, so learn to #lovethebodyyouarein.
It takes approx. 6-8 weeks after giving birth before the uterus returns back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Externally you are likely to be left with excess skin, the amount will be due to the your pregnancy weight gain and how big you carried.
It is unrealistic to think that this weight will just fall off. Breastfeeding will aid in weight loss. Did you know that a breastfeeding women burns up to 500 calories a day? Your belly will also appear smaller as breastfeeding helps to contract the uterus back into its normal position much quicker than if you do not breastfeed.
Breastfeeding alone will not shift all the weight. You will also need to eat well and engage in other forms of exercise to help loose the weight.
For most women a time period of 9 to 12 months is a realistic time period, for others it may take much longer and loosing your pregnancy bulge becomes part of your everyday life.
You may not expect this, but it is very common for women to experience an increase in shoe size after giving birth.
Pre birth our bodies start to prepare for labor. A hormone called relaxin is released into the body with the purpose to relax muscles and ligaments ready for the baby to be birthed. The ligaments in the foot also relax. The weight from your pregnancy weighs down on the feet, flattening the arches and in turn pushes or stretches the feet out. Presto, a bigger shoes size!
Our hair is constantly growing and falling out. As hair falls out new ones replace them, to help keep our hair healthy and full.
A woman has high estrogen levels during pregnancy and as a result her does not fall as much. Her hair will however continue to grow resulting in very thick, lush hair.
Approx. 12 weeks post birth a woman will experience dramatic levels of hair loss. This is normal and you should not be alarmed. Your estrogen levels have returned back to normal and your body is simply getting rid of all the excess hair you accumulated during pregnancy.
Excess gas is normal post birth and whilst unpleasant and embarrassing it is common.
Some women may even find that they release gas from their vagina. This occurs when gas escapes from the rectum and into the vagina.
You will be pleased to know that is shorted lived and is not permanent.
It is important to remember that birth is natural and that or bodies are designed to cope with the labor process.
Women who have vaginal births will often find it hard to sit down initially.
This can be caused by a few things-
- Stitches required to repair the perineum as tearing can occur during childbirth. It is important to keep the area clean and dry. Rinse with warm water and pat carefully to dry. Numbing creams and or tablets can be purchased to help relieve the pain.
- Hemorrhoids caused by pushing during the labor process. Hemorrhoids in most cases will go away in time. They can be treated with special hemorrhoid creams, cool packs and or soaking in a bath. Should your hemorrhoids bleed or get larger over time it is recommended to consult your health care provider.
Hemorrhoids can also make it difficult to go to the toilet. Avoid constipation and excessive pushing by eating food that is high in fiber. Also drink plenty of water, as the water will help to soften your stool.
TIP: Invest in some comfortable cotton underwear (full coverage). The cotton will allow your skin to breath and help to avoid infection. Cotton panties are also extremely comfortable too.
Labor and pregnancy can take its toll on your bladder. You may find that initially you have a loss of sensation and you may not be able to identify when you need to use the toilet.
TIP: Take regular toilet stops to ensure your bladder does not get too full, to avoid leakage. Some women may also find that laughing; sneezing and or jumping can cause small amounts of leakage.
Vaginal bleeding is a bloody discharge experienced immediately post birth and can last for several weeks.
It begins as a bright red colour and will change to a more pinkish tone in time.
TIP: Use sanitary pads as opposed to tampons. Change the pad regularly and keep the area clean to help avoid infection.
It is not recommended to have sex until approx. 4 weeks post birth. This allows time for the woman’s body to recover internally. Most women will experience a lack of sex drive after giving birth. This is mainly due to a drop in estrogen levels, a shift in your priorities and lack of sleep.
Some women will even experience a physical change in their vagina. It may become wider, looser and more open, it may also feel bruised and swollen. This for some women can be difficult. The good news is that there are procedures available to help tighten and remold the vagina back into shape if desired.
Others will experience a condition, which leaves the vaginal canal feeling dry. This condition can be very painful when having sex. It is recommended to consult your health care provider for advice and aids to improve your condition.
TIP: Talk to your partner and discuss your needs. A carrying partner will wait to you are physically and emotionally ready.
Most women will experience a sudden increase in breast size immediately post birth. This is caused by an increase in blood supply to the breast and her milk coming in. For most this will be uncomfortable as your breasts become engorged.
In time the discomfort will ease as your body learns to regulate the milk supply needed to feed your baby.
TIP: Invest in a good quality seamless nursing bra. The stretchy nature of the bra will change and conform to your body without restriction.
Nipple leakage is normal initially as the breasts overflow with milk. Some women will leak more than others, while some will simply not leak at all.
TIP: Invest in some absorbent washable cotton nursing pads. The cotton will feel super comfortable against your skin, will allow the nipple to breath and will help to avoid infections such as thrush, in and around cracked nipples.
*THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE GUEST POST*