Your body’s post-partum health

Being a new mom means riding the emotional roller coaster of postpartum hormones, dealing with sleep deprivation, adjusting to your changing body, and recovering from childbirth – all while caring for your newborn. Don’t despair, it took 9 months to grow a baby inside you; it will take a few months for your hormones and body to return to normal.

What will my post-baby body look like?
One of the most shocking things about your post-baby body is that it looks much the same as when you were admitted to hospital. Your belly will still be large. However, as your uterus shrinks back to its normal size you should see a noticeable improvement every week. Some other weird body phenomena:

  • You will bleed for up to 6 weeks, tapering off after the second week.
  • Plummeting oestrogen levels can trigger the ‘baby blues’. It’s normal to feel emotional or overwhelmed in the early weeks.
  • You may have sore and leaky breasts while your milk production stabilises.
  • Some women have stretch marks, which usually fade with time. You can moisturise the area with PURITY® & Elizabeth Anne’s Mama Stretchmark Cream.

Many simple things like correct posture or a salon pedicure can improve your body image and lift your spirits. You can even paint your toenails yourself – you’ll be able to reach them at last!

What are the signs that I should see the doctor?
If all goes well, you will need to go for your 6-week checkup where your doctor will check that you are healing and recovering as normal. If, however, you experience any of these symptoms, go to the doctor earlier:

  • Vaginal bleeding becomes heavier after 2 weeks have passed.
  • A warm, red painful area develops on a breast, which can be a sign of a blocked milk duct (mastitis).
  • You experience overwhelming sadness or resentment towards the baby that doesn’t start to improve after the first 2 weeks, which is a worrying sign of post-partum depression.
  • Redness or increased pain round an incision site – either a C-section or episiotomy cut.
  • Painful urination, or urine that’s cloudy or blood-tinged.

How can I lose the baby weight?
Don’t diet straight away. You need nutritious food to repair your body, produce milk, and provide energy to care for your baby and yourself. Eat healthy balanced meals with lots of vegetables and fruit, and drink plenty of water. Your diet should look much like the pregnancy eating plan we suggested in Nutrition and Weight During Pregnancy. Avoid junk food, especially if you are breastfeeding – excess sugar and caffeine could keep your baby awake and jittery for hours past their bedtime!

After you have fully recovered from the birth, you can begin to cut down slightly on portion sizes, while continuing to eat as healthily as possible and being a healthy role model for your child.

When can I start exercising?
If you feel fine after a week, take a daily 10 minute stroll, gradually increasing the time as you feel stronger. Leave more strenuous exercise until after your 6 week checkup, when your doctor gives the go-ahead.

Once you’re able to start exercising properly again, combine your exercise with some bonding time with baby. Do squats and lunges while walking up and down the passage at midnight, holding a crying baby. Once your little one is bigger and can hold their head up, lie on the floor and sit them on your lap. Do tummy crunches and kiss those chubby cheeks every time you sit up.