What To Expect Postpartum : 7 Ways Your Body Changes After Having A Baby

August 6, 2019

From postpartum swelling to belly pouch, your body after a baby is going to be different. 

 

UPPER BODY

 

Many expectant mothers do not stick to a regular upper body workout during pregnancy, leading to weakness. Additionally, your body produces the hormone RELAXIN in larger amounts during pregnancy, and this can weaken the joints afterwards. As a results out of shape arms are ill equipped to lift a baby from the car seat to the crib to the pram or changing table without your shoulders hurting and feeling weak.

 

Toning and strengthening the arms, back and shoulder muscles can also help to relieve strain on the wrists. The best time to start is during pregnancy.

 

SWOLLEN FINGERS AND ANKLES 

 

During pregnancy your body produces roughly 50% more blood and other fluids than normal to accommodate your growing baby. Hormonal fluctuations can also  contribute to odema in the hands, face, ankles, neck and other extremities. It can take several weeks  for all of the extra fluids to leave your body.

 

Choose foods that are rich in potassium, such as fruit and vegetables, which helps counteract the water retaining effects of sodium (salt)

Also try drinking more than the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, especially if you are nursing. 

 

BREASTS

 

Immediately after delivery, the breasts become larger as they fill first with colostrum and then with milk; most will stay that size for a few weeks. 

Breastfeeding mothers will experience enlarged breasts for as long as they nurse exclusively. The whole process, including being pregnant, causes most  women's breast tissue to stretch, whether they are breastfeeding or not. 

 

Once pregnancy and nursing ends, most women will lose breast volume, retain stretch marks and experience some breast sagging. Sometimes the nipples can also look displaced.

 

Most women accept the changes in their breasts as a rite of passage to motherhood. Some may want to do exercises to firm up the chest walls behind the breasts 'lifting' them a bit.

 

BELLY

 

Your belly undergoes more changes during pregnancy than any other body part. Depending on your age, genetics and the amount of weight you gain, this can cause stretch marks and excess flabbiness or a pouch postpartum.

 

It can take as long as six weeks for the uterus to revert back to ts old size., which will decrease the size of your belly. Since the abdominal skin has been stretched and pulled, it may never again be as taut as it once was. Additionally, some women will be left with stretch marks.

 

Keeping the core muscles (abdominal's and the back) strong during pregnancy help the abs recover faster. As for the extra pouch, most experts recommend abdominal exercise that is targeted to help women get the results they want.

 

THIGHS AND BUM

 

During pregnancy, very often a women's activity and nutrition levels go down. These factors mean you gain weight. This extra fat then gets distributed to places where women often put on weight; the bum, hip and thighs.

 

Even if you continue to have a healthy eating and exercise routine, pregnancy alone may determine where you put on extra pounds.

 

It can take up to a year to loose the weight fully gained during pregnancy. To shed those additional pounds gradually, a mix of exercise and well balanced nutrition is key. Low calorie, high fibre foods, such as vegetables, promotes a feeling  of fullness, making it easier to eat less. As for exercise, try movements that work and engage various muscle groups at the same time. 

 

VAGINAL REGION

 

Women who had a vaginal delivery often experience tearing of the perineum (the area between the vaginal opening and anus) or had an episiotomy (a surgical incision through the perineum), both of which need at least six weeks to heal.

 

Incontinence, or the inability to stop urine from leaking, is also a common complaint. Some women also experience painful intercourse or pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the bladder, uterus or rectum falls out of its normal position, straining the pelvic floor muscles.

 

By tightening and then releasing the muscles surrounding the vagina, kegels strengthen the pelvic  floor. This helps controls bladder function and stabilises the pelvic area.

 

In cases of painful intercourse, relaxation is key. If you've had an incision or tear in the perineum, you may be unconsciously flexing your pelvic floor, which can cause sex to hurt. To help prevent a tear in the perineum, daily massage of the area in the final weeks of pregnancy. Postpartum, a daily massage will help a scar become more pliant.

 

FEET

 

When you are expecting, your extra weight, shifting centre of gravity and swelling can often increase your foot size (usually by half the size) sometimes permanently.

 

During pregnancy, there is a slight tilt of the body forward. This is because nature wants to  compensate, the forefoot spreads and the arch flattens, causing the foot size to increase. Additionally, the extra weight of pregnancy puts pressure on the veins in the legs, causing your feet to swell.

 

Be fitted for an orthotic (a device worn inside the shoe size that can help correct posture) and, for the best results, do so early in your pregnancy. Post pregnancy, an orthotic can help prevent further damage. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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