Growing a baby is hard work for your body and it goes through massive changes throughout pregnancy. Many of these symptoms or changes will disappear once you have given birth but there are some areas that take longer to heal or change completely. It is important to note that everyone is different and your recovery will depend on your pregnancy and birth experience. Here is how your body may change after childbirth.
It is vital to look after your pelvic floor muscles, whether you had a vaginal birth or cesarean birth. Your pelvic organs, including your uterus, bladder and bowel are all supported by the pelvic floor muscles. The increased strain put on these muscles during pregnancy and birth can damage or stretch them. This may cause bladder leakage when you cough, sneeze or laugh.
You should focus on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles in the months after giving birth. A physiotherapist will be able to give you relevant pelvic floor exercises post-pregnancy. Your medical professional such a Dr Kelvin Larwood will be able to recommend a suitable physiotherapist for your post-pregnancy care.
It is a commonality that breasts grow during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Although your breasts don’t contain muscle, they are attached via ligaments to the muscles of your chest wall. These ligaments stretch during pregnancy and won’t tighten again. This means that your breasts may never be the same shape as they were pre-pregnancy, even when you stop breastfeeding. Therefore it is important to support your breasts with a comfortable, well-fitted bra.
Your body may widen during pregnancy to make room for your growing baby. Your ribs along with your hips will often expand and widen to make an easier passageway for your baby to exit the birth canal. Weight loss often occurs gradually after birth and it can take several months to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. Change doesn’t happen overnight but healthy eating and gentle exercise can assist with weight loss.
Due to an increase in oestrogen hair can sometimes become thicker during pregnancy. Once you’ve given birth and your oestrogen levels return to normal your hair should begin to normalise. Hair loss is normal in the months following birth, however, it will start to regrow which can result in postpartum bangs or flyaways.
Weight gain and hormones can lead to an increase in shoe size during pregnancy. Extra weight can flatten your foot arch, which might increase your shoe size. The hormone relaxin helps to relax the ligaments and bones in your pelvis to prepare you for childbirth. It relaxes all of your joints and ligaments, which can cause your feet to flatten and increase in size.
Many pregnant women and new mothers tend to consider how their bodies will change post-pregnancy. It is important to note that postpartum bodies differ for every woman. Your recovery will depend on your personal pregnancy and birth experience. There are many ways that your body may change during this time including your pelvic floor, breasts, hair and shoe size. If you would like to discuss what to expect in the weeks after giving birth, you may like to schedule an appointment with Dr Kelvin Larwood.