Pregnancy takes its toll on the body. Changes in hormone levels combined with breastfeeding, giving birth and the general demands of raising children all have a massive impact.
When it comes to getting back your pre-pregnancy body, it’s always important to be realistic. While some celebrity moms bounce back straight away, they often have large support teams behind them, state-of-the-art training schedules, and as much time off work as they need.
However, slimming down at lightning speed isn’t possible according to many experts. In fact, attempting it could result in problems. Diets that don’t contain enough calories or nutrients can leave mothers feeling exhausted.
The worst thing that you can do, experts say, is to try too hard, too soon. After pregnancy, the body needs some time to recover and normalize – a challenge when you are struggling to sleep.
Fortunately, there are ways to get your body back after pregnancy. Check them out below.
Looking after a child for the first time is always a challenge. Nothing can really prepare you for it. You just need to go ahead and do it, figuring it out along the way.
During those first few months, don’t be afraid to accept help. Let other people offer support. Make sure that you have at least some time to yourself during the week that you can put towards things that support your wellbeing, such as exercise and preparing healthy food.
If you are struggling to sleep, ask parents or relatives for assistance in looking after the child for a couple of days a week. In the early stages, people around you will be willing to share the load with you. This way, you can take time out to recharge and focus on things that support your wellbeing.
Lose Weight Slowly
While celebrities such as Serena Williams, Kim K, and Beyoncé all lost weight rapidly following the birth of their children, that’s not the story for most women. They were primarily successful because of their personal trainers, chefs and nutrition coaches. However, you’re not necessarily in the same position.
The trick here is to lose weight slowly. Don’t force it. Instead, aim to eat whole plant foods at every meal. Doing this will help you naturally lose any excess weight. Don’t bother counting calories. Instead, rely on your body’s own feedback mechanisms to tell you when you’re full or not.
Usually, you can lose a couple of pounds before your first postpartum doctor’s visit, six to eight weeks after giving birth. Over the following year, you may then be able to shed the additional ten to fifteen pounds of baby weight you gained.
Breastfeed To Burn Calories
Your body devotes a lot of energy to milk production. For that reason, breastfeeding is an excellent way to burn calories.
Breast milk is nature’s ideal food for your baby. It contains all of the nutrients that they need while lowering their risk of developing health conditions in the future. It also cuts your chances of developing breast cancer, a condition that is becoming far more common among women.
If you are a nursing mom, make sure that you eat plenty of healthy foods throughout the day. These will support milk production while also keeping your calorie intake reasonable. Producing breast milk usually requires more calories to produce than you consume, so over the course of several months, you should find yourself losing weight.
Do Post-Pregnancy Workouts
Pregnancy can take its toll on certain muscles in the abdominal region and pelvic floor. The pressure of a growing baby can damage tissues and lead to dysfunction. In fact, it is actually impossible to train the abdominal muscles during pregnancy because they are so stretched.
To counteract this, focus on building muscles in your torso. Do core strength training, either by getting instructions online or hiring a personal trainer. If you do enough of these exercises, you should be able to bring your muscles back together.
You’ll need to do modified sit-ups for the first few weeks. Do not perform sit-ups if you had a C-section until your doctor says it’s safe.
Restore Lost Volume
After breastfeeding, you may notice that your breasts have lost volume compared to before. If you find this distressing and don’t plan on having any more children in the future, you can now get breast implant procedures that restore their original appearance.
Some women also combine implants with other cosmetic procedures, such as tummy tucks and scar removal. This way, they can repair damage from pregnancy that lifestyle modifications alone cannot cure.
Rub Retinol Creams Into Your Belly
Stretch marks are par for the course when it comes to pregnancy. But applying retinol creams can help. These minimize the appearance of stretch marks and can prevent permanent scarring.
Retinoids work by changing how the skin rejuvenates itself. While you will likely still develop pink or purple lines in the abdominal region, retinoids can prevent long-term stretch marks from remaining.
Just be aware that you need to start applying retinoids to your abdomen quickly. If you wait until stretch marks turn pale or white, it may be too late.
Keep Your Sex Life Going
While the vagina stretches a little during childbirth, it will eventually spring back into place. This means that you’re free to resume sexual intercourse, following your doctor’s approval, of course.
If you’re currently nursing, you may notice that you have less lubrication than usual. That’s because your body creates less estrogen during this time. However, you can replace any natural lubricant with over-the-counter products if you feel uncomfortable.
Accept Your New Life
With a concerted effort, you should be able to get close to your pre-pregnancy body. However, it’s also important to accept that life never stays the same, and things always change.
Many women go through emotional ups and downs after pregnancy. The change in hormones and their bodies can make things challenging. The pressure of keeping a tiny person alive is perhaps the main thing. It can be overwhelming.
Practice the art of letting go. Just because your body has changed slightly, it doesn’t mean that life has to be any less enjoyable. Unless you’ve sustained a serious injury during birth, you’re free to go on living how you did before.
Use Exercises To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
After you give birth, it’s common to have protracted bladder leakage. This results from having to bear down for a long period during labor, or because of forceps- or vacuum-assisted childbirth.
The key to reversing this is to use pelvic floor exercises. These strengthen your muscles so that you can regain bladder control quickly. If leakage is bothering you significantly, then you can hire a pelvic health therapist who can guide you through some of the techniques you can use to return the area to regular function.
When To Go To The Doctor
While some body changes are expected after pregnancy, you still need to be wary. Putting strain on major joints by jumping or running is not a good idea for the first six weeks. If you get straight back into exercise, you risk serious injury.
Pay close attention to warning signs that might indicate more severe health issues. Watch for excessive bleeding, as this may indicate the rupture of an artery in the womb. Keep an eye out for pelvic or abdominal pain, and go to the doctor if you notice shortness of breath (including after mild exercise).
Remember, pregnancy isn’t without risks. Modern medicine can deal with most issues that women face, so always remain in regular contact with your physician.