Google+ Authentic Parenting: What To Expect From Your Post-Partum Body

Friday, October 1, 2010

What To Expect From Your Post-Partum Body

A likeronie once asked me what she can expect her body to be like after her pregnancy. It is true that there is not a lot written about our post partum bods, except occasionly a hint.

Now, everybody is different and some changes may occur for some women that might not happen for others. Moreover, these changes can happen at different times for different women, some have bodily changes during pregnancy that others notice only after giving birth, but here goes.

"10 Days Postpartum" - Bethography - melting mama
Generally, the nipple turns darker in the beginning of pregnancy, this darkening gradually diminishes after birth.
Most women get bigger breasts somewhere during pregnancy or after birth (for me, it was only a couple days post partum).

Immediately after birth, the decrease in your waist will seem phenomenal, but you will probably retain a somewhat larger belly than pre-pregnancy. I'm unsure if you can ever get a perfect pre-pregnancy belly again (and the question remains if this is even nescessary), I never went hardcore on postpartum re-education.
The tension of your abdominal muscles decrease as your muscles stretch over your growing belly, so after giving birth, your belly might feel loose and flappy. If you remain active during pregnancy and do some mild excersice after giving birth, your muscles will gradually become firm again. Don't attempt sit ups, if you are really anxious to get those muscles firing the correct way again, try to find some milder excercises that will put you back in shape.
Some women get a darker line from the navel to the pubic bone, this also dissapears gradually over the year after you gave birth.

Personnally, I gained 5 cm on my hips the second week of pregnancy and they never went away (even though I am now below my prepregnancy weight). So hips can broaden and this may be permanent or temporary

Overall body
If you retained a lot of fluid during pregnancy, you will loose this excess during the week(s) that follow the birth and will gradually become less bloated (I retained a lot and shed it in about 4 days... I had to pee all the time)
Some women get stretch marks, they can be big, small, cover entire parts of the body and can occur at any time during or after pregnancy. Once they're there, there is little to be done, prevention is the best option. I have to say that the occurence of stretch marks heavily depends on genetics, so preventative measures are not foolproof. (I got stretch marks on my breasts and hips and two small ones on the lower abdomen)

Your feet may well be the same after giving birth as they were before your pregnancy, but for some, they grow in size, or in flattness of the arch.

A lot of peoplpe say that once a woman has given birth, she obtains a certain matureness in her face that she did not have before. For me, that was certainly true, in the form of wrinkles... and something I can't quite put my finger on, maybe less roundness in the cheeks?

This is what I can come up with right now. How has your body changed after pregnancy? Leave it in the comments below, or if you're really inspired, you can send me a guest post via email mamapoekie {at} yahoo {dot} com



  1. Agree with the comment about face. I don't know if it's sleep deprivation or.... well, I don't know. Sometimes I think I screamed so much in labour my face will always have the memory.

    Why does our culture get so obsessed with the virginal look?

    In one culture I'm told that there is a curse "May your breasts remain pert".

    Don't forget, too, the impact on your blood supply system. Varicose veins and other circulation issues can continue post birth.

    And.... well, I hate to mention it, but bums are effected, too..... piles and episiotomies and slackness.... In the UK they recommend pelvic floor exercises for the rest of your life; although I have heard a theory that it's better to do regular squats.

    Just like pregnancy changes everything from your toes to your hair, being a mum is a total body transformation. In a very real sense, your body is co-owned. Sometimes I visualise it as the body aura growing, the rainbow spectrum of colours that surrounds us enveloping our baby, till they are released in a slow, gentle way. And even then, we still need reconnection regularly. If we don't have that opportunity to recharge, to meld with our source aura, there can be a brittle nature caused by the harsh forcible snapping of the aura cloud... Well, that's an analogy. Do you identify with it?

  2. I struggle with my new body even though i am proud of what it has achieved .

    I gave birth to my second 11 weeks ago and i am about three sizes bigger , its depressing , my boobs are HUGE 18G , my face has suffered from pigmentation and my freckles are darker from hormonal change .

    Although all these things tend to bring me down it only takes a glimps of my boys to forget about it and see what all this change was for and i wouldnt change it for the world .

  3. My breasts were smaller after I stopped breastfeeding my first. Still busy with bf my second. Hope that I will get the smaller boobies back!

  4. Anon1: yes I think there's much truth in what you say. I don't think there is a need to look exactly like you did before, and I surely don't think we should rush to go back to 'normal' or 'acceptable'. I think nature has it's reasons to put this process upon us, and I think it is - for many women - a way to come to accept their very nature

    Anon2: Don't you worry about this... Yes, you might not look the same as before, but this will all change, and you might come to love yourself and your body more than you did before, just because of it

  5. I was extremely sick during my pregnancy, so I only gained 23 punds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I was back to my pre-preggo weight within 8 weeks of giving birth and now weigh less...BUT my body is absolutely not the same. Some days I am ok with this and others...well lets just say there are tears!

    My breasts are bigger for sure, my rib cage is wider, and ten months later I still have a roundness to my stomach despitethe weight being gone.

    I must admit I'm not very motivated to work-out those muscles to tighten my tummy despite it bothering me at times...

    In many ways though I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I housed a baby for 9 months and gave birth naturally, that's pretty awesome!I'm not sure I would want to look like I never did that!

    I struggle with my body the most when I start comparing it to other mama's who look like they have never had a baby. I am trying to focus instead on learning how to dress my "new" body attractively. (Which is hard when you are trying to find clothes that work well when you are nursing)

  6. Katy, I hear you on the attractive nursing clothes. I even wrote a post about it a while back. I find it more important, like you, to make the best of what's there. Feeling uncomfertable and ill fitted in your clothes can drive a girl to despair


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