Advice Column, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

How your body changes post pregnancy

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  • Category Advice Column, Pregnancy, Pregnancy & Baby, Recently

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, discusses how your body changes after pregnancy and how to care for your post-pregnancy self. From conception to delivery, a woman’s body undergoes incredible transformations to nurture and support the growing life within. However, the journey doesn’t end with childbirth.

“While there is ample information about the stages of pregnancy, the postpartum phase is sometimes neglected,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. “Understanding how the body changes postpartum and giving your body the time it needs to replenish nutrients, balance hormones, and recover muscles will greatly influence your early days as a new mom.”

  1. Weight Fluctuations and Body Image

One of the most noticeable changes after pregnancy is the weight loss associated with giving birth. The baby, placentaamniotic fluid, and excess water retention contribute to a significant drop on the scale. However, this initial weight loss is often followed by a period of weight fluctuation and sometimes even weight gain, especially in the first few months.

Give yourself grace and patience during this period. Try to maintain a balanced diet and exercise when your healthcare provider gives you the green light. Avoid crash diets or extreme workouts, as they can be detrimental to both your physical and emotional well-being.

  1. Changes in Breast Size and Shape

Your breast size increases during pregnancy, and you might become tender or sore. After childbirth, when milk production begins, they can become even more engorged. This change is natural and necessary to provide nourishment for your baby.

Once breastfeeding ends, you may notice a decrease in breast size, and the skin may not regain its pre-pregnancy elasticity entirely. It’s common for women to experience sagging or a loss of fullness. Wearing supportive bras and practising chest exercises can help maintain breast health and appearance.

  1. Skin Changes

While some women experience a radiant pregnancy glow, others may develop skin conditions such as melasma (darkening of the skin), acne, or stretch marks. Stretch marks are prevalent on the abdomen, breasts, and thighs due to the skin stretching as the baby grows.

Using moisturisers, staying hydrated, and practising good skincare can help alleviate some skin concerns. Over time, many of these changes tend to fade or improve.

  1. Pelvic Floor and Abdominal Muscles

As your body prepares for delivery, the abdominal muscles separate to make room for the growing baby – a condition known as diastasis recti. The pelvic floor, which supports your uterus, bladder, and rectum, can also weaken during pregnancy and childbirth.

Engaging in post-pregnancy exercises like Kegels can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapy may be necessary for more severe cases. Core-strengthening exercises can also help in the recovery of separated abdominal muscles.

  1. Hair Changes

Some women experience thicker, shinier hair during pregnancy due to increased blood circulation and hormone levels. However, post-pregnancy hormonal shifts may lead to hair loss or changes in hair texture.

Hair loss, often referred to as postpartum shedding, can be distressing for some women. Fortunately, it is usually temporary and resolves on its own.

  1. Emotional and Psychological Changes

While physical changes are often the most visible, the emotional and psychological changes accompanying motherhood are equally significant. Transitioning to motherhood can bring about many emotions, including joy, love, anxiety, and even inadequacy.

It’s essential to prioritise your mental health during the post-pregnancy period. Seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist can be immensely beneficial. Remember that asking for help and taking breaks is okay when needed. Embrace the emotional changes as part of motherhood’s beautiful and challenging journey.

  1. Menstrual Changes

It’s common for some women who breastfeed to experience delayed or irregular menstrual cycles, as breastfeeding can suppress ovulation. Once you stop breastfeeding or reduce nursing frequency, your menstrual cycle resumes its usual rhythm.

Other women may experience heavier or more painful periods post-pregnancy. These changes are often temporary and should be discussed with your healthcare provider if they persist or become problematic.

  1. Changes in Libido

Many new mothers find that they have a reduced interest in sexual activity during the postpartum period. It’s important to communicate openly with your partner about your needs and feelings regarding intimacy.

Remember that these changes are temporary, and your sexual desire may gradually return as you adjust to your new role as a parent. Prioritising self-care and finding moments of intimacy with your partner can help maintain a healthy connection.

  1. Sleep Disruption

Lack of sleep can profoundly impact physical and emotional well-being, exacerbating feelings of fatigue, irritability, and stress.

To mitigate sleep disruption, consider enlisting the help of a partner or family member to share nighttime caregiving responsibilities. Establishing a regular sleep schedule for your baby may also help them sleep better and provide you with more peaceful nights.


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One Comment

  • Robynn Paul March 27, 2024 at 6:20 am

    All very true. I wish I’d known this with my first. I actually find kegals very helpful. Leading up to birth and post delivery.


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