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How does my body change after having a baby?

We all expect our body to change during pregnancy. Many women find comfort in their growing tummy and boobs but after the baby is born, we think we should just "bounce back" into our pre-pregnancy bodies. But does this really happen? Rachel Leman looks into the most common body changes that happen after having a baby.

May 27th • 
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We all expect our body to change during pregnancy. Many women find comfort in their growing tummy and boobs as a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Sometimes, though, after the baby is born we think we should just “bounce back” into our pre-pregnancy bodies. For a small few this comes without even trying, but for many the realisation that our bodies still appear 6 months pregnant and feel sore for many weeks after the birth come as a serious disappointment we are usually underprepared for both physically and mentally!

There are many changes that happen to a woman’s body pre- and post-pregnancy, both internally and externally.

Pelvic floor

Growing and carrying a baby for 9 months comes as a heavy load to your pelvic floor. It is not uncommon for women to come along to training and when asked about pelvic floor they respond “all good, I had a caesar”.

Here’s the thing: yes, pelvic floor certainly comes under more intense load/strain during a vaginal birth (that goes without saying). However, all pelvic floors no matter the birth have endured the weight of your baby moving around for the term of the pregnancy. This can have an impact on its strength and function post-birth.

No matter how your birth went, it’s always a good idea to seek an assessment from a women’s health physio postnatally so they can help you regain strength and function.

Boobs

Yes boobs, boobs, boobs, postnatally! For some women who dream of having larger boobs, this can be a dream come true. For others though, super-sized milk boobs can seem very difficult to “manage”, especially if you want to start moving and exercising again! Sometimes you can’t even go for a walk comfortably.

One thing you can do to make yourself more comfortable is to feed or express before you plan to exercise. This will lighten the load at least for some of the session. Another tip is to “double bra” – that is to wear your sports bra and then another crop over the top during physical activity. The most important thing is that you are as comfortable as you can be.

The big boobs is one thing, but after all is said and done and the milkbar is closed, you may actually end up with a set of flat, saggy pancakes! Personally, I prefer this as they stay where I put them now and there is also the option of a pushup bra or padding if you feel you need it.

Body shape

Yes, we know we are growing a baby and our tummy will grow and stretch and stretch and stretch, but it will go back to how it was… Wont’ it?

The answer is maybe, a very big maybe. This is something that depends entirely on the person. People that are blessed with more collagen may find that things repair and return to pre-baby status, others may not. Whatever your scenario, be proud that your tummy has been a home to your little person and helped them to thrive – and that’s super cool.

Have you noticed that your shoes are feeling tighter? Your feet might be wider or even a little longer. It is common for mums to not only increase their bra size but also their shoe size!!! The reason for this is the hormone relaxin. It not only loosens the ligaments around the pelvis but also loosens the ligaments in your feet, which can cause the foot bones to spread due to the laxity of the ligaments.

You can be stronger and fitter than ever before

There is absolutely no reason why you can’t become stronger and fitter than ever before after becoming a mum. With the right guidance and plenty of patience on your part, you might just surprise yourself. It is important to take some time to understand the changes that have happened within your body and a qualified Body Beyond Baby affiliate can help you to do this. They will meet you exactly where you are in your return to exercise journey and help you to strengthen your postnatal body from the inside out and support you in achieving your goals.

Rachel Leman is the Owner/Operator of Miss Motivator in Port Macquarie, NSW. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.

You can also find her on Instagram.

If you are a new mum returning to exercise and are not sure where to start check out our FREE Safe Return to Exercise for New Mums program to learn all you need to know.

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