It is fair to say that there is so much information available to women during their pregnancy. From books and magazines to blogs and podcasts, so many openly talk about what happens to their body during pregnancy and are happy to advise others on what they can expect. Of course, this can make the whole pregnancy journey slightly less stressful and all pregnant women will know that they aren’t alone in the changes they’re experiencing.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the same for post pregnancy. It definitely isn’t as common for people to open up about the phases they went through after pregnancy and what happened to their body once they had given birth. On top of this, the vast majority of what women do see about postpartum bodies is from celebrities and they provide unrealistic expectations of what your body should look like once you’ve had a baby.
As you may expect, this can be incredibly isolating for women and cause them to question everything they’re experiencing during what should be some of the most amazing weeks/months of their life. So, to help anyone who is in the last trimester of pregnancy and wondering what to expect or anyone who has just given birth and is wondering whether what they’re experiencing is normal, we have looked into the phases the vast majority of women go through after pregnancy.
This covers the first few weeks after giving birth to your new baby.
It goes without saying that giving birth is an incredibly rewarding yet undeniably overwhelming experience. Of course, how smoothly your birth went, in general, will impact how you’re feeling in the ‘first phase’ but there are definitely a few similarities that almost all women will experience in the first few weeks after giving birth;
● You may still look pregnant after giving birth
It doesn’t matter whether you had a straightforward vaginal birth or a more complicated cesarean delivery, it is highly likely that you will still look pregnant after giving birth. People tend to assume that once your baby is no longer in your stomach, it will automatically spring back to what it was before pregnancy and this simply isn’t the case. In fact, you can expect to still look pregnant for the first couple of weeks sometimes.
● Your body may ache – often all over
You may expect this, however, it can last longer than women assume. Not only will you experience after birth, abdominal and general pains from the delivery itself, but you may also have aches and pains elsewhere too. From back pain to neck pain, often women will suffer in this regard for the first few weeks post pregnancy. Don’t ignore these aches and pains, you may require some additional support in this regard.
● You may not be able to do as much as you hoped
Tiredness is completely normal in this first phase and it isn’t always due to lack of sleep. You may have lost blood during labour, you may not be eating the best foods and you may be trying to do too much independently, which can all make your body tired. It is fair to say that rest is absolutely crucial during the first few weeks as your body recovers. Remember to take some time for yourself too.
This covers the first couple of months after having your little one.
Once you have started to adjust to life as a new mum, you may be waiting for your 6-week postnatal check and for a medical professional to tell you that everything is “back to normal”. Yet, in this second phase, your body will still be changing and again, there are a few things that many women will experience during the next couple of months postpartum;
● Your joints and ligaments may be more supple
During pregnancy, your body will produce hormones that make your joints and ligaments more flexible. You can expect these hormones to still affect your body for months after giving birth and this is always advised to follow a post natal exercise program rather than jumping straight back into the high-impact workouts you used to enjoy. It is important to slowly start building your strength back up.
● You may gain a little bit of weight
Often, women lose around ten pounds straight away after giving birth and maybe a little more within the first week too. However, some then struggle to lose any weight after this time and it isn’t uncommon for women to even gain some weight. Weight gain can be due to a number of different reasons, but it usually comes down to your lifestyle. Try to focus on eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising to your own ability. Remember, breastfeeding can affect your weight too, but if you’re worried in this regard, speak to a medical professional.
● Your pelvic floor muscles and abdominal muscles may be weak
Many women still struggle with weakness in their muscles, especially their pelvic floor and abdominals, months after giving birth. The problems you’re facing with your core muscles or your pelvic floor won’t go away on their own, so if you’re not doing targeted exercises, they simply won’t improve. There are lots of simple gentle exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home, so make these part of your day-to-day routine.
This covers the rest of the first year of being a new parent.
All women should remember that their postpartum body is on its own timeline. Everything from your genetics to the type of birth you had will impact your post pregnancy journey. Of course, what you experienced in the first two phases will also affect the third phase, so this is slightly more difficult to generalise.
There is no denying that postpartum bodies in this third stage are as diverse as they were prior to pregnancy and it is important not to compare yourself to others during this time. Try to focus on ensuring that you’re fit and healthy and that you’re looking after yourself. Remember, your postnatal body will always be different from your prenatal one, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be back to the size or weight that you were before, even a year after pregnancy.
Many women find that it takes them somewhere between six to eighteen months to start to feel like themselves again, whatever this may be. Recovering both physically and emotionally does take time, so don’t ever feel as though you have to rush this because others who have had babies did so quicker than you. This is your journey and it is okay to take your time.
All in all, it is highly likely that if you’ve just had a baby, you will be able to relate to a lot of the information mentioned above and you aren’t alone in what you’re experiencing and feeling. Whilst it may take nine months to grow your beautiful baby inside you, it takes considerably longer to rebuild your body after giving birth and this is completely normal.
Assuming that your body will spring back a week, a month or even a year postpartum will only lead to disappointment and you’re much better off thinking realistically about what the future holds for your post pregnancy body.
If you’re at the stage where you’d like to find a post natal exercise program, please visit the Healthy Post Natal Body website today. We can assure you that we are the perfect people to contact if you’re wanting to get your health back and feel fitter and stronger than you’ve ever been. Our team has been helping women both during and after their pregnancy for many years now and you really will be in safe hands with us.
Here at HPNB, we provide affordable all-inclusive memberships to mums who are experiencing any issues with their bodies postpartum or who are wanting to get back into exercise again after having a baby. With a HPNB membership, not only will you receive monthly home exercise routines that are specifically tailored to your individual needs, but you will also have access to a number of informative forums too.
You can connect with other women who are on similar post pregnancy journeys to you and also learn from expert fully-qualified personal trainers who can provide you with the answers you’re looking for in relation to post natal exercise. We really do believe that postpartum health should be for everyone and for this reason, our team will go above and beyond to help as many women as they possibly can.
If you would like to speak to a member of our team about postnatal exercise programs in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We will happily provide you with any additional information that you require.
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