Most of us loved being pregnant and we loved our pregnant bodies. But some women may find it hard to accept the new bodies they’re left with afterwards. They may wish to lose some weight or to tone up their body. Others may just want to stay as healthy and fit as they possibly can.
It’s important to remember that your body just grew an entire human being for the last 9 months. Your stomach grew much bigger than it normally is so that it can make space for your baby. Your entire body changed completely to accommodate the life growing inside of you. Your body did this to bring a brand-new person into this world. You did some of the most amazing jobs in the entire world.
You’re perfect just the way you are. You don’t have to feel flawed or pressured into changing a thing about your beautiful new postpartum body. Be proud of your body and what incredible thing it just achieved. You are beautiful just the way you are.
Why you should take it slow
– Weak core and pelvic floor
During pregnancy, your core muscles will stretch much further than they normally are, this will cause them to be weaker than usual. Your pelvis will also be weaker than usual as it has been carrying the weight of your baby for a big part of your pregnancy.
– Vaginal tears and episiotomies
Vaginal tears and episiotomies comes in different degrees, some are very slight and some are very deep. Most will agree that they’re very uncomfortable though. They’re a part of your body’s healing process.
– Caesarean section
If you had a caesarean section, you just had major abdominal surgery. What’s more is you’re taking care of a baby right after having a major abdominal surgery. That’s quite a wound that needs enough time to heal as it should, so it won’t cause you complications in the future.
– A wound in your womb
After birth, you have a very big wound in your womb. That womb is where the placenta used to be. This is an incredibly vulnerable wound and needs enough time to heal. This is also a big part of why no sexual intercourse is recommended in the first 6 weeks, as this big wound is very susceptible to infections.
– Hormonal changes
There are a lot of hormonal changes going on after giving birth. Estrogen and progesterone suddenly decrease, oxytocin and prolactin drastically increase, all of this can lead to what is referred to as the baby blues. This is a very overwhelming time for almost all mothers. Taking it slow is really important.
– Sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is probably one of the hardest parts of becoming a parent. New babies wake a lot, which is normal and healthy, but exhausting for parents. They feed a lot, and they need you 24/7. When you’re used to sleeping 7+ hours straight through the night and suddenly you’re having to wake up every 2-3 hours or stay awake for cluster feeding multiples hours at a time, it will be hard. Your body needs time to rest, to heal, and to adjust to your new lifestyle as a mother.
– Establishing breastfeeding
If you’re not quite informed and prepared for breastfeeding, and you don’t have the right kind of support, you may feel overwhelmed with it all. Babies feed often, they also go through periods of cluster feeding
when going through growth spurts
, but also to establish your milk supply. This is normal but can be overwhelming for a new mother. You, your body and your baby need time to figure out breastfeeding and establish the needed supply for your baby.
How to lose weight after pregnancy
If you’re breastfeeding, your body will burn more calories than it usually does. If you’re following a healthy diet and lifestyle, you may lose some, most or even all of your pregnancy weight while doing absolutely nothing at all. Breastfeeding may help some women lose weight, but it’s important to remember that this is not a guarantee, some women may not lose any weight because of breastfeeding itself, especially if you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning.
– A healthy and balanced diet
I’m not talking about an actual diet, just eating healthier overall. Start off by swapping out all the unhealthy carbohydrates for healthier ones, such as switching out white bread, rice and pasta for wholewheat ones. Try to eat as little sweets, sugary drinks, fatty and processed foods as possible. Forget about those frequent unhealthy fast foods too. Drink plenty of water and make sure you’re eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and proteins every day. If you feel like you need more help with a specific diet or guidelines, it may be a good idea for you to contact a registered dietician to tailor a healthy and balanced diet, especially for you.
– Stay hydrated
Did you know that we sometimes tend to think we’re hungry and start snacking when in fact, we’re actually just thirsty? Drinking enough fluids and staying hydrated may help you snack less which of course will lead to reduced weight gain. When we don’t drink enough fluids, our bodies tend to retain water, making us look bloated and weigh more than we actually do. Adequate fluid intake is not just about your weight, but it’s extremely important for your milk supply and your overall health too.
This is a hard one for most of us, isn’t it? Not just the actual exercise but staying motivated to keep going and finding the time with a new baby, other kids and responsibilities while already being so tired and overwhelmed. Exercise is an excellent way to lose weight and tone your overall body. Exercise is also very important for both your mental and physical health.
You should wait for medical clearance from your midwife or doctor before starting exercise. You will usually receive medical around 6 weeks postpartum for vaginal births and 12 weeks postpartum for caesarean births.
Once you do start exercising, you should start with core and pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen your core and pelvic floor to prevent any damage. Starting with the wrong type of exercise or exercising to hard can cause injury.
Once you have some strength and restoration back in your core and pelvic floor muscles, you can start with some more light to moderate exercise. Remember to listen to your body and take a step back when you feel it’s needed.
– Get enough rest
This may seem like a very obvious one, but it’s actually one of the most important recommendations of them all. For our bodies to do the healing it needs to do, we need to rest as much as possible. The more you’re able to rest, the quicker your healing will be. Not to mention that sleep will be quite scares with a newborn in the house, so it’s even more important to get the rest you need, whenever you can. The house and chores can wait, take as much time as you need for you and your baby.
– Self acceptance
You’ll have to remember that your body just grew an entire little baby, it grew and changed completely to be able to accommodate this new life that you were carrying. Your body may never be exactly what it was before, and that’s okay too. Aim for a mentally and physically healthy mind and body, the rest will fall into place.
Remember to be kind to yourself. You just grew a whole human being, talk about being a superwoman. You’re perfect just the way you are, and you will get where you want to be with just a little bit of patience and a whole lot of self-care and self-love.
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