Physical changes following delivery
During the 9 months of pregnancy some serious hormonal and physical changes stake place in the female body. As a result of these, certain internal organs shift from their original places, the skin stretches on the growing belly and breasts, and by the time of giving birth, some joints loosen.
After giving birth, the womb starts to slowly shrink back into its original size. This process might be accompanied by bleeding.
If episiotomy was necessary during delivery, your perineum might hurt while it is healing. The wound it left behind can be treated with herbal creams and taking sitting baths.
After delivery, you might temporarily experience incontinence, as the muscles responsible for keeping urine in have loosened as a result of the hormonal changes and the stretching during labor. Intimate gymnastics – which are recommended to practice regularly during pregnancy – can speed up the regenerating process and help cease incontinence.
Hormonal changes might cause digestive problems, such as bloating and constipation. The solution is changing your diet in a way that it contains more fibrous food items, whole grain pastries, vegetable and fruit.
Right after delivery your breasts only produce foremilk first, which changes into normal breast milk in a few days, the process accelerated by uterine contractions and breastfeeding of the baby. However, the transition might cause a strained sensation, sensitivity, and in some cases pain in the breast. Even if it feels bad at first, these unpleasant sensations will go away if you breastfeed your baby as often as you can.
If your breasts still feel full after the baby is sated, you should express the excess milk manually. It is important to get rid of the stagnating amount, as your breasts constantly produce new milk and the strain put on your body might result in a painful inflammation.
The extra weight gained during pregnancy will slowly start to melt away right after delivery and during the period you breastfeed your baby. Your skin will regain its elasticity and your previous silhouette returns.
You can speed up your weight loss by avoiding extra calorie intake, and taking up exercises again when you do not have to breastfeed the baby so often during the day anymore. This way, the results will be clearly visible 8-9 months after delivery.
Toned muscles regenerated by regular exercise make your skin and connective tissues tauter, but if you are not blessed with a naturally toned figure, you will have to put in some extra work to regain your shape.
During the first months of breastfeeding, fluid retention is high, hormonal effects are strong on your body and dieting is not recommended. Doing too much exercise might also decrease milk production, so this is the time when you have to be patient and take it slowly. However, if you keep breastfeeding long enough (for a year at least), these effects will turn around and your body will burn calories faster, resulting in a visible weight loss. The explanation of this phenomenon is the fact that during pregnancy, the body stores its reserves in the form of fat on the belly, thighs and upper arms. As the extra fat is there as a result of pregnancy hormones, it is breastfeeding that can bring back your previous hormonal balance and make it all go away, but only if you follow a healthy diet. Breastfeeding abstracts nutrients from your body causing you to feel hungrier: keep in mind that the right solution is not eating more but consuming food that is rich in vitamins and minerals. If you follow this principle, you will not be suffering from hunger all the time.
Healthy eating habits are also important because the components of your meals appear in your milk, thus if you eat processed food items that contain preservatives, too much salt, sugar and fat, it will have an effect on your child’s body as well. This is also the reason that going on a diet is not recommended while you are breastfeeding, because it might deprive your milk of important nutrients.
Although it heavily depends on physique and age, it can be stated that women generally get back into their usual shape in 1-1,5 year after giving birth in case this was their first pregnancy, and 1,5-2 years if they have already had more children.