Your Postpartum Body: What to Expect & What to Do
We are often so focused on our pregnancy and the impending birth that we forget about our postpartum body.
It may take some time for your belly to disappear. Do not expect to leave the hospital in your pre pregnancy clothes.
Every woman’s weight loss journey is different. Genetics, body type and how much weight you gained during pregnancy, are all determining factors in how fast or slowly you might loose the weight.
TIP: Begin pelvic floor exercises immediately; walking whilst pushing the stroller, wearing a belly belt and breastfeeding will all help to engage the stomach muscles. Be patient as it could take some time for the excess belly weight to shift.
Swollen fingers and ankles
This is a condition called Edema, which is caused by an increase in blood and other bodily fluids during pregnancy.
Edema will not disappear immediately post birth. Expect for the condition to slowly improve and disappear over a 2-week period. Some women may even find the condition lasts for a while longer. Should this be the case it is recommended to visit your health care provider.
TIP: Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet rich in potassium to help speed up the process i.e. Fruit and vegetables.
Throughout your pregnancy you will have experienced a steady increase in your breast size. Some women will increase up to 3 cups sizes.
Immediately post birth you will notice another sudden surge in breast growth. This is the milk and colostrum coming in.
Be prepared as this can be uncomfortable and some times painful.
TIP: Invest in a good supportive seamless bra. Seamless bras will provide stretch and will not restrict your fluctuating breasts like a cupped sized bra will. A seamless bra will provide the wearer with comfort and support during a time when it is much needed.
Your nipples will become sore and in some cases cracked once baby starts to breastfeed.
TIPS: Invest in some cotton washable nursing pads. The nursing pads will provide your sore nipples with that much needed comfort will feel cool and will allow the skin to breath.
Disposable nursing pads are less friendly as the skin (nipple) is unable to breath and the nipple sits in a warm moist environment. This type of environment can breed infections such as thrush, which is very unpleasant.
During pregnancy you may have noticed that your hair is thick and full. This is because we loose very little hair during pregnancy.
Postpartum you will notice that large amount of hair will start to fall out. Up to 100 strands a day. Do not despair, this is normal, but will only last for a few weeks as your hair returns to its normal state pre pregnancy.
TIP: Continue to brush, wash and condition your hair as per normal. The hair loss will eventually stop.
This is very normal for women who have vaginal births.
During birth tearing can occur which is very painful, and does take time to heal.
TIPS: Avoid sex for up to a 4-week period until the vagina is completely healed. (Some women may even need longer) Use cool packs to help ease the pain and wear pads to protect your underwear from bleeding and discharge.
A few women will experience constipation during pregnancy. This condition can continue on post birth and may take a few weeks to correct its self.
Some women may even experience hemorrhoids, which can be caused by constipation or childbirth. Hemorrhoids are painful and inhibit your ability to pass.
TIPS: Eat a diet high in fiber and drink plenty of water. This will help to keep the stools soft, making it easier to go.
Weight loss is a personal journey and will take some women longer than others to loss the weight.
TIPS: Wear loose fitting non-restrictive clothing to start with. Be realistic and avoid the temptation to try on pregnancy clothes too soon.
Engage in regular exercise to help tone the body and encourage weight loss.