After nine months of pregnancy, your body has gone through an incredible transformation. But what kind of changes will you see in the mirror after birth? Here are ten very normal things you’ll notice happening to your body after baby is born.
1. Your breasts get even bigger
Right after delivery, your breasts start prepping for milk production, but you probably won’t notice any drastic physical changes until around day two or three, when your milk officially comes in. This is when your breasts will suddenly turn into rock-hard mounds. Great for baby, but pretty uncomfortable for you. You’ll find your breasts are incredibly tender, which isn’t easy when you’re trying to get the hang of breastfeeding. Ice packs can help ease the discomfort, and also breastfeeding or pumping will alleviate the pressure. Some good nipple cream will also be handy for tender nipples.
2. Your c-section scar will require some care
If you had a caesarean section, you might be surprised at how raw your incision looks at first. It can take some time to get used to, but rest assured, the wound heals very quickly and over time, the skin does smooth down and the scar fades. In these early days, it’s worth applying a scar-minimising silicone gel like Dermascar, which contains important vitamins E and C, to help accelerate the healing process. Dermascar lightens and flattens scars, and can even relieve the itching that often accompanies a c-section wound.
3. Your pelvic floor feels very different
Your pelvic floor has been through the wringer with pregnancy and labour, so you might find it’s harder to control your bladder in these early post-birth days. Regular pelvic floor exercises will get things back into shape. Just go slow, and talk to your doctor before you do anything high-energy like running or strenuous exercise.
4. You might have stitches
If you had a vaginal delivery, you may have received perineal stitches, which can get in the way a bit when you’re using the bathroom, but are generally pretty unnoticeable. Most perineal stitches are dissolvable now, so all you need to do is keep them clean with soap and water and watch for any signs of infection, such as inflammation or irritation.
5. Your belly is loose
Ignore the retouched photos on social media – most women’s stomach’s don’t snap back into perfect shape after birth. Honestly, it takes a long time for your uterus to contract and your stomach to come down from pregnancy, and even when it is back to its old self, you might notice some loose skin and stretch marks. A bit of gentle exercise can help tone your core and get you feeling strong again.
6. You could be constipated
After delivery, your bowels will pretty much call a strike for a few days. Totally normal, but very uncomfortable. Your nurse might offer you a laxative, and it also helps to drink lots of water. Eventually the cogs will start turning again and you’ll feel better. (PS. Don’t worry about bursting your stitches when you do eventually ‘go.’ Your stitches will hold tight, we promise).
7. Your weight will drop
All those kilos you inevitably gained during pregnancy will start to slip off in the weeks and months after birth. During that first week after birth, you’re pretty much assured to lose 4-5 kilos straight away, what with the baby, blood and amniotic fluid. Breastfeeding is also known to chew up 300-500 calories a day. As for the rest of the weight, it can take time. It took nine months to gain after all, so give yourself at least that amount of time to get it off again.
8. You’ll get some after-birth pains
This is just your uterus contracting. It feels kind of like mild period pain, and it comes and goes. It’s thought that breastfeeding can help accelerate the uterus contractions, but even if you’re bottle-feeding, these after birth pains usually subside around six weeks after birth.
9.Your hair could start to thin
Your hair may have become thicker and fuller during pregnancy, but once the baby is born, you may start to shed this additional hair as your hormones return to their normal levels. Normally the shedding stops about three or four months after the birth. Just maintain a healthy diet and go easy on your hair during this delicate transition phase.
10. Your emotions are all over the place
With all the hormonal changes happening in your body after birth, it’s no wonder you feel on-top-of-the-world one minute, and down-in-the-dumps the next. You and your body are going through a radical change, so give yourself permission to feel a little off-kilter. Usually your emotions will even out by Day Ten, but many many women go on to struggle with things like post-natal depression, so just check in on yourself and contact your doctor if the negative feelings persist.
(This is a sponsored post for Dermascar)