So what does happen to your body in the weeks, months and even years after having a baby? Here’s a few areas not everyone will tell you about…
Pregnancy is a big deal for your boobs! For some women, nipple sensitivity is one of the first signs of pregnancy and this can continue throughout the 9 months.
But the most interesting thing about boobs and babies, is that you could end up with rather different breasts to the ones you started with. It’s not true for everyone, but pregancy and milk production will invariably mean your boobs grow much bigger, at least to begin with.
However, post baby they can shrink right down and many women report having smaller breasts for good after becoming a mum.
If you breastfeed, you might lose a little bit of shape and volume and it is a reality that feeding does affect the way your boobs look – but it’s totally and utterly worth it. Buy good, supportive nursing bras and enjoy the journey!
No, not that sort, the sort that leave you asking ‘when will my tummy go back to normal?’
Well, you’ll have to wait at least a couple of weeks, if not more for the initial bump to go down but following that, it’s unrealistic to expect your tummy to be perfectly flat (if that’s what you’re after) for quite a while and it mght not ever look exactly the way it used to. Your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and these need time to knit back together and strengthen again. It’s a good idea to have the separation checked by a post natal trainer or similar and only do recommended exercises. With a good diet and tailored plan you can work on your stomach’s fitness, no problem. You might have stretch marks or slightly creped, or even lose skin on the area, but eventally, most mums we know wouldn’t change these signs of growing their baby for the world.
Pelvic floor problems
There’s no getting away from it, birth does affect the down belows (funny that huh?) and inparticular the pelvic floor. The impact will of course differ from woman to woman but know this, your bits will feel different for a good few weeks after birth. You’ll feel looser and any heavy lifting, running, jumping (just don’t!) may mean you experience a pressure, or a feeling of something pushing down on your pelvic floor and that’s because it is understandably weaker.
As the weeks go on you may notice that you leak urine and feel uncomfortable in the area with any bearing down action. This should lessen over time and you should make your pelvic floor exercises a priority.
If you are still experiencing problems months after birth, see your GP or a specialist women’s health physio, both of whom can examine the strength of your pelvic floor and advise you on how to improve it. Incontinence after birth is not something to just be accepted and is always something to seek advice and help for.
Who knew that pregnancy makes your hair go so weird? It’s not one of the usual gems of wisdom that’s passed down, but it does happen.
Many women enjoy a glorious mane while pregnant but it’s not actually any thicker, or growing any faster, it’s just that you’re not losing hair as regularly as you might normally. It’s all down to the oestrogen in your body, which prolongs the growth cycle of your hair meaning there’s less hair in the ‘resting state’, the period just before it usually falls out.
Following the birth of your baby, this will all go back to normal and the hair that didn’t fall before will do now, along with the normal amount. This can lead to ever so slightly thinner patches of hair for some (not all) and ‘tufts’ of hair around the front or sides of the hairline. Don’t worry, it will all return to normal eventually and this is all part of the wonderful journey of motherhood.
As your body gets ready to push out a mini human, certain hormones set to work on limbering and loosening you up for the big event. Your ligaments soften in order that your pelvis can widen to deliver the baby. But the relaxin hormone that is at work can mean that your joints are loose for weeks and months after having baby. This can lead to aches and pains you can’t quite understand as well as trips and falls. It’s really important to take it easy on your joints post baby. Steer clear of high impact exercise for at least 6 weeks (and that’s the very minimum and we recommend you are thoroughly checked by a women’s health specialist first). If your joints are unsteady and you have pain see your GP as well as a post natal fitness specialist who can help you to work out in a way that will help build strength and stability.
Heamorriods – your new forever ‘friend’
During your pregnancy, especially first pregnancies, you might have experienced a horror movie moment when you realised you have hemorrhoids. Yep, all that weight bearing down on your bum, plus the delights of constipation take the their toll. And if you’ve never had a ‘pile’ before it’s quite a shock, epsecially if they bleed. Hello, Motherhood, how lovely to meet you!
Thing is, once you’ve ‘popped’ you might not stop. You’ll treat those lumps with cream and think they’ve gone away, but be prepared, be very prepared…for many years after.
Your body won’t just ‘bounce back’ (sorry)
Many mums-to-be might be on the receiving end of well meaning comments from friends and relatives who will say ‘ooh you’ll snap back into shape’ and while we know there’s love behind those comments, they’re not always helpful. Snapping back into shape is an unrealistic expectation and is unlikely to happen for most women. Nobody says: ‘It will be quite a while before your body is back to normal’ but they should!
The post baby body period brings slow and steady changes as your amazing body adjusts to its new job. It’s a time to enjoy and get to know your own physicality without putting yourself under pressure to return to a body that is different from the one you have now.
If you have any questions about your body after birth, get in touch and see how we can help you.