No. But it’s going to be ok, I promise. As a mother of two, before my first pregnancy, I wondered, “will I ever fit back in my jeans again?” Spoiler: I did, eventually. But I had no idea what other changes my body would go through during and after pregnancy. In some ways found my body changed forever, and some of them were more surprising than others. However, no matter the changes, it is all worth it to have that little bundle in my arms. To help you get to grips with what is going on with your body right now, I’ve created a quick list of some of the changes you might find happen to you after pregnancy. Warning. Some of them are permanent.
Remember, we are all different. You might find some of these apply to you, but not others, while your friend has an entirely different journey. And that’s ok. We’re all moms together.
3 Ways your body may never be the same again
Even though you can’t stop staring at those two baby-blues looking up at you, perhaps deep inside, you’re wondering: will I ever be the same again? Here are three ways your body may be changed forever.
Ever heard the saying: “gain a child, lose a tooth”? Well, unfortunately, there’s some truth to this one. The hormonal changes during pregnancy, increased blood flow, and acid from morning sickness can leave an impact on your teeth. While this doesn’t usually result in tooth loss nowadays, it can lead to decay, and that means you need to schedule those prenatal and postpartum dentist visits as soon as you can to keep those teeth healthy.
Diastasis recti abdominis
Also known as abdominal separation. As your body makes way for your little one, those abdominal muscles spread apart, which can be pretty painful. Up to 60% of all women experience diastasis recti, and for some, these changes are going to last. If you notice that your abs aren’t quite what they used to be or have that post-pregnancy pooch, then it might be time to consult a doctor and try specific exercises to strengthen those stomach muscles gently. In rare cases, diastasis recti may require surgical intervention, so if in doubt, check with a doctor.
Skin color and marks
From the linea nigra to pregnancy mask, you might have noticed changes to your skin’s color and tone during those magical nine months. And some of these are here to stay. At least for a little while yet. These changes are usually the result of an increase in estrogen in the body and can last beyond the pregnancy, sometimes permanently. Add this to those newly acquired stretch marks, and you might feel like your body is no longer yours. DON’T. You earned those tiger stripes, baby, wear them with pride. While these changes take some getting used to, soon they won’t be as visible and become a part of who you are
Temporary changes after pregnancy
Even though the effects don’t last forever, for between a few months to a couple of years (yes, years) after pregnancy, you might experience some of the following.
Hair loss and regrowth
Ah, pregnancy, the days of luscious hair that would make a Disney Princess envious. Roll on month 3 after pregnancy and you may be feeling a lot less Cinderella and a whole lot more wicked witch. Postpartum hair loss is a natural occurrence as the hormone levels change. The good news? Despite what the amount of hair in the drain suggests, you won’t lose it all (just up to a third) and it will grow back, just give it time. That said if you believe your hair loss is exceptional and is causing alopecia, please consult a dermatologist.
Weight loss and gain
Trouble losing weight after having a baby or perhaps, you’ve lost way too much. After birth, usually, you’ll find you’ve lost around 13 lbs. (5.9 kgs.). This is a combination of baby, placenta, and some water weight. After the initial healing period, you can expect to lose around 1 lb. a week (0.5 kg). What’s essential to remember here is not to rush your weight loss. Take it gently, your body has gone through a lot and it’s time to cut yourself a little slack. Whether you feel your weight loss isn’t enough or is too much, if you feel it’s abnormal, then it’s time to get in touch with a healthcare professional.
Perhaps before baby, you were pencil-thin or alternatively had curves in all the right places, but afterward, you’ve found yourself looking a bit less like ‘you.’ This is normal. During pregnancy, our body changes. Our hips widen, our breasts grow, and we find a little extra weight in places it wasn’t before. Over time, our bodies will go back to normal, but it takes just that time. So for the meanwhile, enjoy your new body, you should be proud of yourself Mama.
Remember those last months of pregnancy where you were almost afraid to laugh or sneeze in case an accident happened (me too!), well, I hate to tell you, but this can continue on to the postpartum period. It might be tough, but it’s essential you take the time to do those Kegel exercises. These will help you with bladder control and getting your body back to feeling like it’s yours again.
Got the baby brain? Keep putting stuff down and not remember where on earth you put it? No, you’re not losing your mind. You’re just a new mama. A study by Leiden University found that after pregnancy decreases in the brain’s grey matter helps a mother to better recognize the needs of her little one. This is because they are able to respond more efficiently to social cues and recognize needs more quickly. Like a mother superpower. But the downside – a little natural forgetfulness.
Accepting your new self
Yes, change is scary, and sometimes the adventure of motherhood can be too. But it will be ok. All that’s left to do is be the best mama you can be because being anyone else is taken. And that all starts by accepting who you are and your new role and body. These are our top tips for putting your well-being in the first place to take care of everything else.
Getting your mind in the right place is an essential for a new mom. I know right now everything seems to be going so fast, I mean, just yesterday, you were in the hospital, right? But, taking a little me-time can mean a lot of a new mama. Catching your breath can help you cope with the changes around you and help prevent postpartum depression and loneliness. You need some time for yourself too.
Bodily changes can be hard to accept, but that’s just what you have to do. Getting back to the old, you will take time, but someday, you will start to feel like yourself again, not just mom. You need to concentrate on gentle exercises that get your body moving and keeping your nutrition in check. After all, healthy mommy, healthy baby.
Us moms, we worry about everything. From is our little one warm enough to did I leave the cooker on? (you probably didn’t but just go check anyway). And after you have your little bundle of joy, it can seem there’s little time for you. To help adapt to your new life as a mom, take a little time out of your day to look out for your soul. This can mean anything from a 5-minute meditation to 20 minutes drawing to reading a book, whatever you enjoy. Doing a small self-care activity refreshes your soul and prepares you for the challenges you’ll face as a momma.
And most of all, Mama, give yourself time. Whether you’re a first time mom, a first time mom of two, a first time mom of three, and so forth, this is the first time you’ve done this. There’s no rule book, just love yourself and your kids the best you can.