10 Things No One Tells You About A Postpartum Body
No matter how great your intentions are for keeping fit during pregnancy, your body will look and feel like a Mac Truck drove through your abdomen after birth. But fear not, it’s really supposed to look like that. A pregnant body gains on average 30 pounds during a healthy 9-month gestation. That weight accounts for increased blood supply, amniotic fluid, bigger boobs, placenta, and a uterus the size of a basketball, and of course, that sweet baby. A pregnant body also carries an average of 5 – 10 pounds of extra fat stores meant to supply healthy breastfeeding. There is also the fact that ligaments stretch and thin, muscles and organs are shoved around, and hip bones expand. By the time Junior arrives, you can kiss your once sweet tight ass goodbye. The end result? A squishy body. It takes at least 6 weeks for a healthy woman to heal enough to begin serious workouts and dieting. But honestly, with all the late nights, spit-up, screaming and crying involved with a brand new baby, a workout may not be the first thing on your radar. Perhaps bathing alone or eating a meal while it is still hot will register higher on your priority list.
2) Stretch Marks Are Not A Badge of Honor
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the sentiment here is to be proud that my body was capable of producing a life and that the resulting scars, which are indeed ugly, should be seen as a beautiful testament to my womanliness. I call bullshit. The fact that nearly everyone who has seen my scars has uttered the same stupid “badge of honor” line to me tells me that either my scars make them feel uncomfortable or that they assume I am so insecure with my body that I require external validation. Stretch marks fade. Let’s hope stupid does too.
3) Boobs That Once Defied Gravity Are Now Migrating South
After nine solid months of tenderness, your postpartum breasts fill with milk meant to nourish and your brand new babe. Unfortunately, when those same breasts are emptied they look something like deflated balloons. It’s just how boobs work. Push-up bra’s, pectoral exercises, and sometimes just losing some weight and getting healthy can help to alleviate the southern migration, but never again are you likely to have those glorious pre-pregnancy ta-ta’s.
4) Your Hair Falls Out
To be totally honest, this one floored me. After the birth of both of my children, my hair fell out in a weird balding halo around my face. As a woman’s postpartum body begins the hormonal shift from pregnant to not pregnant all of the perks of pregnancy like glowing skin and thick lustrous hair is traded in for dull skin tone and dry falling out hair. All that hair that otherwise would have been naturally shed at a genetically predetermined pace was held onto during pregnancy thanks to the hormone called progesterone. But when the hormones change then hair – all 9 months of it – comes falling out in clumps and in a short and somewhat embarrassing time frame.
5) Thin, Weirdly Wrinkled Old Lady Skin
Just like the hair falling out skin takes a hit during the postpartum period by becoming dry and lose. By getting as much rest as possible, staying hydrated, and eating a well-balanced diet that promotes healing, your skin will tighten back up in almost no time. But for a short period of time it really is kind of lose and squishy and weird.
6) Motherhood Is Back Breaking Work
During pregnancy your back gets quite a workout thanks to the heavy load it has to support on the front end. This weight shift in addition to loosened tendons means that the abdominal muscles have a tendency to become weak. When the abdominal muscles are weak they cannot support the back. You see how this works? One side helps the other. When the front is weak that back muscles have too much work to do and so the natural consequence is back pain. The best advice I ever received was to do pelvic tilts, gentle yoga, and practice excellent posture until my abs were strong enough to support longer duration workouts with more weight.
7) Hips Love Mom Pants
You have hips now. Get over it. Your jeans will never fit the same way again. But guess what? Hips are sexy. Ask around. True story. Just don’t wear mom pants. Just because you’re a mom now does mean that you have to give up.