Body Changes After Birth

Every mom experiences different changes and emotional reactions to giving birth. The emotions can range from depressed, disappointed, exhausted and bruised to emotionally and physically content, happy and alert. Some moms are in pain after a caesarean delivery while others feel sore because of a tear in the perineum (the area between the back passage and vagina).

The important thing to remember is that giving birth is a huge emotional and physical task and in the case of caesarean, it also involves major surgery. You should take things slow so you can rest and recover.

Body Changes After Birth and How to Deal with the Changes

Here we listed the most common body changes after birth:

1. Hair Loss

Some moms worry when after giving birth they start to lose hair but this is completely normal. In many cases the hair thickened during pregnancy and this excess will shed after birth. The increased thickness during pregnancy is due to high estrogen levels that increase the hair’s growing phase but after you give birth the estrogen levels drop so you start to shed hair more often. Usually it won’t take more than about a year for your hair growth and shedding rate to go back to normal. The same is also true of excess body or facial hair you grew during pregnancy.

2. Skin Changes

It is common for your skin to change after birth due to fatigue, stress and hormonal changes. In some cases this means your clear skin will begin to develop breakouts for a few months after pregnancy and in other cases moms who had severe acne during pregnancy experience clear skin.

Moms with chloasma (darkened skin patches on the forehead, cheeks, nose or lips) should notice it fading several months after giving birth. As long as you protect yourself, it should go away eventually. Although stretch marks won’t disappear, they will fade over time.

3. Bloody Discharge

This is one of the most worrying body changes after birth. All new moms experience some bloody discharge after pregnancy and this is true whether you had a caesarean or delivered vaginally. This discharge is known as lochia and will be read in the beginning. Eventually it will become brown and then yellowish-white. In the first ten days or so it will act similar to a heavy period and it may keep going for six weeks in much smaller quantities. To keep the lochia light, focus on resting.

4. Afterpains

After giving birth, your uterus needs to shrink back down to its normal size as well as find its normal position and during this contracting process, you may experience afterpains. These feel similar to mild labor contractions and are more frequent during breastfeeding. That is because you release oxytocin while breastfeeding and this hormone encourages your uterus to contract. It may also lead to increased or redder blood loss.

5. Breast Changes

After you give birth, you should expect your breasts to be soft because they only have a small amount of colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk that is rich and creamy as well as full of antibodies. It helps protect your newborn from infections. Within a few days, however, your breasts will start making milk and can feel tender, swollen and hot.

In the beginning your nipples will be sensitive so the first 10 seconds of feeding can be uncomfortable but this usually gets better after about five days. If it doesn’t, talk to a midwife about proper latching for breastfeeding.

6. Loose Belly

Some new moms are surprised that their belly doesn’t instantly go back to how it was before their pregnancy. In reality, some women will still look pregnant for several months after they give birth. The belly fat is harder to get rid of and can take nine months or more. It is especially challenging because hormones will lead to the “pregnant pouch” including sometimes after pregnancy. You can always try exercising to help, but be sure to wait until you are recovered. Click here for more ways to reduce pregnancy belly. 

7. Loose Vagina

It is completely natural for you to feel a bit looser in the vaginal area. That is because the rectum, bladder and uterus all tend to drop a bit after labor, creating this sensation, most of the time this will resolve itself in a few weeks. You can try using Kegel exercises to speed up the recovery process but you should avoid straining other muscles. Some new moms will need special exercises or physical therapy to feel “normal” in this area again.

8. Urine and Bowel Changes

Some moms experience incontinence for a brief amount of time and if you are one of them simply go to the bathroom more often and do Kegel exercise. Eventually the incontinence will pass as your bladder muscles grow stronger.

Certain moms will also have hemorrhoids, uncomfortable bowel movements or constipation. This is because the delivery process can sometimes slow down food moving through your intestines. If this happens, change your diet, get plenty of rest and take pain medication. Never strain when having a bowel movement. Instead drink liquids and eat prunes and bran.

Watch the following video for a mother sharing information on body changes after birth and how you can deal with the changes:

How Long Does It Take for Your Body to Go Back to Normal?

Right after birth you will quickly drop a few pounds from excess water and more weight loss will happen when your blood circulation goes back to normal and so does your uterus size. After that, the weight loss becomes slower.

The excess weight is hard to lose because it is a natural way to store energy for breastfeeding. Although it can be demotivating to still have some flab or wrinkles on your tummy, you can help with this. Start exercising your tummy and pelvic floor muscles (gently) when you feel ready. This can decrease the chances of getting back pain and help you bounce back into shape sooner.

Remember that it took nine months to gain the weight so it is normal to take that long to lose it. With regular exercise and a healthy diet, you should be able to lose the excess weight.

Exercise Tips: How to Lose After-Pregnancy Weight Fast Using Home Exercises