When Will I Be Back to Normal
Over the course of nine months the body goes through amazing changes in preparation for childbirth and once the birth is over, everything immediately goes back to normal, right? Well, not exactly. There are two parts to that answer. The first part is that getting back to your pre-pregnancy self takes time and the second part is that some of the physiological changes the body underwent like stretch marks, do not always go back to the way they were.
Many women feel pressure to bounce back to their pre-pregnancy self immediately after giving birth but the truth is that it takes time and on average can take anywhere from a few months to a year. However, the most important thing to remember is that every woman is different and although some women may find that they get back to normal in six or seven months, others may take a year or longer and that’s alright.
Keep expectations of yourself realistic, don’t judge yourself too harshly and don’t push too hard. With that in mind however, here are a few tips to help make that post-pregnancy transition a little bit smoother.
It may sound counter-intuitive but the single best thing women can do for themselves especially the first few weeks following childbirth is to make sure that they get enough rest. It may sound simple but this piece of advice is probably one of the hardest things to do because of the demands and responsibilities that new mothers usually face. However, it is absolutely vital that women rest to give their body the time it needs to heal. Pregnancy and childbirth puts the body under a huge amount of physical trauma. In preparation for pregnancy, the blood vessels expand, the pelvic muscles soften and reshape, the body gains added weight and the back muscles are put under additional strain for a full 9 months so it is only natural to let the body recover from all of this.
Healthy eating in the post-partum period is extremely important particularly for women that are breast-feeding. This means eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and getting enough protein, dairy and carbohydrates into your daily diet. A healthy diet will allow new mothers to keep up their energy levels and feel better. For those that are breastfeeding, a healthy diet is also the best way to ensure that the baby is getting all the nutrients it needs.
Most women try to lose their pregnancy weight as soon as possible but as mentioned above this can take some time and it should not be rushed. Immediately after the delivery women will naturally shed a few pounds as the uterus starts to get smaller and excess fluid leaves the body.
High impact sports or activities are not recommended in the first few weeks following labour. Instead for those women that want to start engaging in light exercise permission should first be sought from the doctor and following that, activities like going for short walks in the park or a swim are good ways to get the body moving again. The general rule of thumb is that women should only start exercising when they feel ready to do so and not before.
Take some time for yourself
It is important for new mothers to take time for themselves. That doesn’t mean daily trips to the shopping mall! but it does mean taking at least 20 or 30 minutes each day to do something that you find relaxing. Read a chapter of your favorite novel, watch an episode of your favorite TV show or treat yourself to a bubble bath. Taking a few minutes for yourself is a great way to re-charge your batteries, give yourself small breaks and will help keep the baby blues away.
There is no such thing as the perfect amount of time it takes for women to get back to normal and expectations should not be set too high or be too unrealistic. The same way all women have a different experience being pregnant is the same way that all women will have a different post-pregnancy experience. With that in mind, some of the things mentioned above—rest, a healthy diet, taking time for yourself and moderate exercise—may help make the postpartum transition smoother.
Physicians and Midwives is a unique collaborative practice you won’t find anywhere else. We have 5 offices for your convenience all across Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, North Arlington, Mt. Vernon, Kingstowne, and Woodbridge. If you would like to be listened to, as well as cared for, then look no further.