During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes in order to accommodate the fetus that is developing inside you. This includes externally visible changes such as increased weight and enlarged breasts, as well as internal changes such as the creation of the placenta for providing your baby with the nutrition that is required. Suffice to say that your body isn’t magical which means that it isn’t going to magically go back to the way it was before you got pregnant. This means that, after giving birth, you can expect your body to look and feel a little different.
What’s it going to be like?
Here is some information about the postpartum body that you’ll find helpful to figure out how to work your way around the new you.
Weight gain is natural during pregnancy. It occurs due to all the changes your body is going through. This weight stays postpartum if it isn’t worked on. While pregnant, in the second trimester you can start exercising (with extra caution and without pushing yourself). However, a lot of women do not do this which leads to flabbiness in the arms and other areas. In addition to flab, the joints are also weak due to excess hormones, which makes it difficult to carry your baby around. To avoid this, make sure you take care of your body during and after your pregnancy.
Due to excess hormone production and blood circulation, fingers, toes, ankles, and wrists tend to swell up. This swelling will go down naturally as the body expels the excess fluids in its natural course.
3. Hair Loss:
Hair growth follows a particular pattern which includes a rest period during which the hair falls. While you are pregnant, the hormone production affects this cycle, due to which hair does not go into that period. Once you have given birth and hormonal patterns start returning to normal and stabilizing, the hair cycle resumes. To make up for the extended period of minimal hair fall, the hair that was supposed to fall during pregnancy now starts falling. You may feel like you’re losing excess amounts of hair, but don’t worry! It’s the right amount of hair and it’s normal.
The uterus does not ‘deflate’ or decrease in size immediately after childbirth. During pregnancy, the uterus grows to a great size to accommodate the fetus. It remains at this size at childbirth and starts decreasing there on out. It takes about two weeks for the uterus to return to its normal size. However, do remember that you would have gained weight during pregnancy, so if your tummy does still seem bigger than pre-pregnancy, it might have something to do with that.
Very important - Keep in mind that you’ve just pushed a tiny human out of a pretty small opening in your body. It’s only natural that you’re going to feel sore and tender down there for a while. Generally, it takes about 6 weeks for the vaginal area to heal completely, but you may still feel some discomfort down there, especially when having sex. It will take time to get accustomed to it once again, but it’s normal, so don’t fret! You will experience a discharge of blood and uterine lining for a few days post childbirth; this is the body expelling all the stuff that was formed for the care of the fetus, which is no longer required.
6. Upset Tummies:
Chances that are that you might still face any incontinence or constipation that you faced while pregnant. Developing haemorrhoids is common during pregnancy which may make bowel movements painful. It is also easy to catch a urinary tract infection at this point which also makes bowel movements and urination painful. Eat a lot of fibre-rich foods and get yourself checked by a doctor.
7. Stretch Marks:
Due to all the expansion that your body has gone through, it tends to develop stretch marks. The best way to make sure you don’t have stretch marks is to prevent them. You can do this by making sure your skin is hydrated and moisturized during pregnancy. Massaging your skin with oil or lotion can help make it supple and therefore, not get stretch marks. More often than not, stretch marks are inescapable, but that’s ok! We all get them. They may never go away completely, but they do fade, and you can aid that process by taking care of your skin.
These are only a few of the experiences you might face postpartum, with regard to your body. Just remember to stay healthy for you and your baby, by eating right, drinking lots of water, and keeping your body healthy and fit through exercise.