There is no denying that your body undergoes tremendous changes during pregnancy – seen from your hair to your toenails! These changes even continue after your child’s birth. In most instances, the postpartum changes seen in a new mother is both physical & emotional. It is unique to each woman as it varies based on her hormonal/stress level and her way of accepting the new change, which can be daunting for few!
Though your newborn is your top priority, self-care should continue even after delivery. As only a healthy and un-stressful mom can better take care of her baby and adjust with the new budding family. One of the best ways to know to handle all this is to be well informed in advance about the changes (both physical and mental). In this article, we shall throw light on the common body changes.
S0, what are the 10 common post-delivery body changes & how can you combat them?
By now you must have heard a lot of stories/read online about post-delivery changes that a new mother undergoes, some scary some next to non-existent. Nonetheless, there are few common physical changes that most women undergo post-delivery and below we have enumerated the 10 most common ones.
1. Afterbirth pain or belly cramps:
Pain which begins shortly after delivery feels like menstrual cramps and last for 2-3 days. These contractions help your uterus to shrink and also to detach placenta.
- Pain relieving medicine.
- By around 6 weeks, your uterus contracts to its pre-baby state. This helps to flatten your tummy, as well.
2. Vaginal changes:
Vaginal muscles become lax, stretched and may tear due to intense stretching of pelvic floor muscles during labor.
- Should resolve in a few weeks, and kegel exercise helps in speedy recovery.
- Practice Sitz bath or sit in hot water.
- Sit on a pillow.
3. Bleeding or vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge or lochia is when the body gets rid of blood and sloughed-off tissue from the lining of the uterus. Initially, it’s heavy, bright red, but over time, the flow gets less and lighter in color.
- Should resolve in 4-6 weeks.
- Use sanitary pad.
4. Breast changes
Few days after delivery, owing to milk production certain structural changes such as:
- Increase in breast size
- Lopsided breast
- Hard and tender breast
- Sagging breast
- Sore and Cracked Nipples
- Stretch Marks On Breasts
- Breastfeed your baby.
- For engorged breast express a small amount of milk or warm towels on your breasts to help milk flow
- Put cold packs on your achy breasts.
- Wear nursing pads in your bra for the leaky breast.
- Firm, supportive bra if you’re not planning to breastfeed.
- For painful nipple, talk to your nurse to check whether a baby is latching onto your nipple in the right way
- For cracked nipple massage some breast milk onto your nipples and air dry.
5. Body weight:
Post-delivery, you lose around 5-6 kg, including baby weight, placenta, and amniotic fluid. The first week after delivery, you’ll lose additional weight as you shed retained fluids — but the fat stored during pregnancy won’t disappear on its own.
Weight reduction is possible, but it takes time!!
- Concentrate on a healthy diet like more plant food, low-fat dairy products, restrict sweet
- Be mobile, include physical activity in your daily routine.
- Breastfeeding helps you to burn calories
6. Post-baby belly:
- You are not alone! If you are wondering, “Why do I still look pregnant after delivery?”. It is a common issue all new mothers face.
- Your uterus may take weeks to months to return to pre-pregnant state. Moreover, as the abdominal muscles get stretched out during pregnancy, it takes time for it to un-stretch.
- Belly binding to compress the stretched abdominal muscle.
- Regular exercise to tone tummy muscle.
- Breastfeeding to burn fat.
Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen varicose veins around the anus that may bleed, itch or hurt during or after bowel movements. These are common during and after pregnancy due to the stress of growing uterus on your pelvis as well as labor pressure.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat food rich in fiber like fruits, vegetables
- Sit in a warm water.
- Avoid standing or sitting a long time to reduce pressure on the rectal area.
- Do not strain much when you have natures call.
Post-delivery, bowel movements may be hard as your uterus may push against intestine during later stages of pregnancy.
- Have plenty of fluid and fiber-rich food.
- Stool softeners.
- Exercise such as walking.
9. Skin changes
- Darkened patches of skin on your lips, nose, cheeks, forehead or neck (melasma).
- A dark line from your belly button to your pubic bone.
- Stretch marks on your belly, hips, and bottom.
- Use creams or lotions on your skin.
- Discoloration will begin to fade in the months after giving birth.
- Stretch marks will gradually become lighter in color, but they won’t disappear entirely.
Hair grows thicker and fuller during pregnancy. Post-delivery hair loss occurs, which usually stops within 6 months and should regain fullness within a year.
- Eat lot of fruits and vegetables rich in iron, vitamin & zinc
- Be gentle with your hair. Do scalp massaging and apply hair pack to support hair growth
So, these were the few common body changes that you can expect after your delivery. Now that you know better, do better. Speak to your doctor or someone experienced and find solutions to each one of them beforehand and tackle them head on!