What Can You Expect From Your Body After Birth
Pregnancy to motherhood is an incredible journey that causes many changes in the woman's body, and while most fade with time, some remain. Unfortunately, many first-time mamas have trouble accepting this new, altered version of themselves. We often hear new-mum clients asking about their changing breast size, belly, stretch marks, and other concerns.
In our opinion, the best way to ease the struggle of accepting the post-baby body is adequate mental preparation. Let's have an honest discussion about the various aspects of the postpartum body and how to care for and appreciate it.
What To Expect From Your Body After Birth?
Here are some temporary and permanent changes one may experience after becoming a mother.
As the name suggests, stretch marks are the result of extensive stretching of the skin. When the body grows during pregnancy, the skin pulls tight, which causes tearing of the underlying tissues and those tears appear as red or purplish indented lines on the skin's surface.
Also referred to as ‘striae distensae’, these marks develop on the belly, hip, thigh, and breast, and research shows that eight out of ten women experience them. Hence, it is one of the most common changes to occur during pregnancy. The good news is that, while they are permanent, their colour fades over time and becomes less noticeable. You can hasten the fading process with our all-natural belly oil, as well as use it during pregnancy for prevention.
It is a skin condition known colloquially as "the mask of pregnancy." It is characterised by hyperpigmented spots and patches that appear on the skin, most commonly on the face. Raised levels of oestrogen and progesterone trigger their onset during pregnancy. For some unknown reason, the skin discolouration either goes away over time or sticks around forever.
If you are one of the unlucky ones for whom it did not clear up, try staying away from the sun, use strong sunscreen, and go for all-natural postpartum care products because exposure to harmful chemicals can aggravate the condition further.
The elevated hormones strike again! Linea nigra is yet another skin condition for which hormones are responsible. It is a dark vertical line that runs down from the top of the belly to the pubic region and shows up either by the second or third trimester. It usually goes away by 12 months after birth but may persist for some.
The nipples and areola become darker during pregnancy. The darker shade is supposed to help the infant identify the breast and latch on, allowing for easier nursing. They generally revert to their pre-pregnancy appearance within a few months after birth, but for some mamas, they may remain a shade darker than the original colour.
While we don’t have a concoction that magically changes the colour of your nipples, but if you are suffering from cracked or sore nipples, try our soothing nipple balm.
It is normal to be unable to lose all of your pregnancy weight post-birth. In fact, some mamas may gain additional weight. The stress of being a new mum and sleepless nights can contribute significantly to this. Additionally, underlying health issues, such as postpartum depression, thyroiditis, diabetes, etc., can cause weight gain.
If you give birth vaginally, your vagina will stretch during the birthing process, but with time it will gradually shrink back to its pre-birth size. However, in many circumstances, vaginal laxity can be long-lasting. Fortunately, there are specific pelvic floor or Kegel exercises that can help strengthen the vaginal muscles and prevent urinary incontinence.
While caesarean mamas may not experience vaginal laxity, they will have to deal with the C-section scarring around the bikini line area. After the abdominal incision heals, you will end up with a thin horizontal line that will forever be a part of your body and a reminder of your strength.
Breast size change is an inevitable part of being a mother, whether you breastfeed or not. Your boobs will start getting big from the very first trimester. And after birth, they will swell up when the milk starts coming in. Yes, eventually they will more or less go back to their pre-pregnancy cup size. However, since the ligaments and elastin in that area have endured stretching, they may appear slightly droopy.
Wider Hips and Belly Pooch
During pregnancy, the ribs expand, and the hip bone structure changes to make the birthing process easy. For some women, the ribs and hips may not shift back and stay changed permanently.
It's natural for new mums to have a belly pooch or drooping skin on their stomachs. Weight gain, stretching, and hormones are some of the culprits for this postpartum belly bulge. Another reason can be diastasis recti, a common condition that results in partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis muscles. Rest assured, unlike the wider hips, this change isn't permanent. You can attain a mummy tummy that you're comfortable with by practising proper posture and some simple postnatal exercises.
In preparation for childbirth, the body releases the hormone relaxin, which relaxes every ligament of the body. The loose ligaments and the weight of carrying a baby for nine months can flatten the foot's arch and change the foot's structure permanently.
Many women experience "mum brain" or "mum-nesia" which manifests as forgetfulness, mental fuzziness or lack of clarity. This syndrome is caused not just by sleep deprivation but also by brain shrinkage. Studies have found less grey matter in the brains of new mums. And the purpose of this synaptic pruning is to help mums focus on their babies and not duel on other unimportant information. But fret not! The brain reverts back to its normal size after about two years.
Hair and Nail Changes
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can result in brittle and fragile nails that tend to persist even postpartum. But within a few months, they should return to their usual state. You can use our nipple balm as a cuticle cream for your nails to improve their health and appearance much faster.
One of the perks of pregnancy is getting to flaunt luscious hair, but that quickly changes after birth when the excessive hair loss kicks in, triggered by the dip in hormone levels. Unless you are suffering from postpartum thyroiditis, just like the nails, your hair loss won't be permanent and will subside within a few months.
How To Nurture Your Postpartum Body?
Rest and Recuperate
It's easier said than done when you have a baby to take care of, but it's crucial for your recovery process. Sneak in sleep whenever you can, eat well and give yourself a break when you're feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.
Rely on Nature, Not Chemicals
The postpartum body requires the utmost care. So make sure that whichever product you use is 100% natural and free of any questionable chemicals. At The Hermosa Co., we make sure that all our pregnancy and postpartum care products are handcrafted with the best ingredients that nature has to offer.
Have a Self-Care Routine
Your body has endured a transformative experience. Your skin has stretched to the max, your bones have shifted, and your cup size has changed more times than you can count. So if anyone needs some tender loving care, it's you! A little TLC in the form of a daily self-care ritual can help make you feel good in your new postpartum skin. We recommend a soothing ritual that includes exfoliating with a healing mineral-infused body polish, a relaxing bath enhanced with our postpartum sitz soak and massaging the body with a nourishing belly oil that aids in fading stretch marks.
Get Postpartum Massages
Postpartum massages are excellent for unwinding, reviving, and strengthening the entire body. Massage from skilful hands mixed with potent potions and lotions can promote physical and mental wellness after birth. So take a break from your busy "mum schedule," and book yourself a postpartum massage at our tranquil facility.
Eat Healthy, Nutritious Food
Eat nutritious foods to replenish your body's energy levels and encourage faster recovery. Consume more green veggies, fruits, and lean proteins. And don't forget to gulp down plenty of fluids. More so if you are breastfeeding.
- Take Up Postpartum Yoga or Exercises
One of the best ways to correct post-birth hormone imbalance is to take up post-natal yoga or exercises. As we have mentioned above, fluctuating hormones are one of the main causes behind many of the temporary changes, so balancing them out with simple stretches and poses will help your recovery journey a lot.
5 proven Ways to help you Fall In Love With your new body
- Do a social media cleanse. Unfollow people and influencers whose posts you are finding trigger a negative emotion or unproductive self comparison for you. Instead, follow the accounts that celebrate every post-baby body with all its divine glory.
- Explore your new body, and get to know it. Be intimate with yourself, and take plenty of pictures of your new curves and scars. By cherishing every part of yourself, you will start feeling sexy again.
- Your body has done the unimaginable! It has created a whole new life, so show gratitude by worshipping it with our gentle, herbal enriched postpartum care products.
- Positive words have the power to influence thoughts and get rid of all the negativity that often surrounds the mental space of a new mama. So write yourself a love letter filled with positive affirmations. In it, you can write down which part of your body you like the most and why. Or what makes you such a wonderful mother, and so on.
- Every postpartum journey is different, just like every pregnancy. So, don't compare yourself with other mamas. Try to embrace your unique new mum-bod and experiment with fashionable garments that exude your sense of style.
The Final Takeaway
For most expecting mamas learning about pregnancy woes and how to handle a newborn takes precedence over mentally preparing for the postpartum body changes. As a result, many feel blindsided when confronted with the realities of their new bodies. We implore every woman not to overlook any information regarding the postpartum body during the research phase.
– The Hermosa Co.