Having a baby is a massive change for many women, and the changes don’t end with the delivery! Kicking your sex life into ‘underdrive’, the hormones of parenthood and the stress of looking after a new arrival take their toll on our bodies and minds.
But, what actually happens to your body post-birth?
7 Things That Happen to Your Body After Birth
You’ve made it through the toughest nine months of your life. After hours of labor, you and your new bundle of joy have finally made it out into the world as a family. Now comes the next phase of your new life together as a new mom and dad.
Life post-partum can be difficult. You’ve got a newborn and a new life ahead of you as a new family. But no matter how well you adjust, it will take some time. And while you’ll feel many of the same changes as everyone else does, you’ll experience some unique ones too.
You’ll Need A Lot More Sleep
You’ve likely been getting only a few hours of (hopefully) restful sleep each night. And while that’s not terrible, you’ll now need to improve your sleep to get the most out of yourself and your new little one. Which may mean going to bed earlier than you’re used to. It might feel impossible to get the amount of sleep your body craves. But there’s a reason it’s craving it. Looking after a baby is hard work. That means your body is getting tired much quicker than it used to. And you’re probably still healing from giving birth in the first place.
You’ll Eat, Eat, And Eat Some More
You may have been a nervous eater before you got pregnant. But now, you’ll likely be ravenous. That’s because your body needs all the extra energy it can get to deal with looking after a new life. And if you’re breastfeeding, you need that extra energy to make milk. You’ll likely find yourself eating finger foods, like crackers or granola bars. And you may even find yourself eating out of boredom.
Your Moods Will Swing Wildly
As a new parent, you’ll spend a lot of time feeling overwhelmed, running on fumes. And you’ll be carrying around a whole lot of new responsibilities with no time to yourself. But you may also feel super happy and excited to be caring for your baby. So it will often feel like you’re a pendulum swinging between extremes. But, of course, it takes time for your hormones to come back down to earth, so these mood swings are normal. But if you feel like your moods aren’t normal, you should have an honest discussion with your Doctor.
Your Skin, Hair, And Nails Will Change
With all those hormones still running riot in your body, you’ll see changes to your hair, skin, and nails. And it can take up to a year for them to feel like they used to as the hormones reduce. As a result, skin can feel sensitive or dry. Your hair could be brittle, and you may even experience hair loss. And you might feel changes in the strength and density of your nails.
You’ll Feel Overwhelmed At Times
You’ll likely feel overwhelmed by your new life as a parent. You’ll find yourself huddling together with your partner to talk things through. You’ll be pulled in many different directions, whether it’s work, friends, or just your baby’s needs. And you’re likely to feel tired to your bones. Especially when your baby finally sleeps. You may even experience some Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. If that’s the case, get support from a professional.
You Might Experience Weight Loss Or Gain
Like many new parents, you’re likely to lose some weight. You may lose 10 or 15 pounds or more. This is because you’ll shed the retained fluids from carrying a child for nine months. You may also feel like you want to eat less than you used to. That’s because your body is telling you that you need to store less food. You may swing the other way, though, and gain weight as you eat to keep your energy up. Both are normal and should be treated with kindness. If you’re worried, though, visit your Doctor.
You’ll Find Going To The Toilet Takes A Lot More Time
You’ve likely been sitting on the pot for a while now. You probably need to go more often than you used to. And you might be dissatisfied with how often you go or feel embarrassed by your body. If you had a natural birth, your body would still be healing. So going to the bathroom might take 10 minutes, and you’ll be armed with cold pads, wet wipes, and water spray bottles.
How To Look After Yourself Post-Partum
Fortunately, there are things you can do to take care of yourself and your post-partum body. Begin by reading up on how to look after yourself after delivery. Then, you’ll learn how to get back into your routine, what to expect physically and emotionally, and how to make the changes in your life as smooth as possible.
Here are some great tips to help you maintain your pampering habits and keep your body and mind feeling great.
Check-In With Your Doctor
One of the most important things you can do to maintain your post-partum body is to check in with your Doctor. Depending on when you had your baby and your health before you had a baby, your Doctor may have given you some extra advice to help you look after your new body.
If you’re not sure who you should see, ask your family doctor or a specialist in women’s health. Suppose you’re having difficulty coping with the physical changes of parenthood, or you’re experiencing a mental health issue like post-partum depression. In that case, you should also talk to your Doctor about taking care of yourself.
If your Doctor has told you to keep yourself well hydrated, you know to drink plenty of water. But there are so many other benefits to keeping yourself hydrated, too. When you’re well-hydrated, your body can flush toxins out of your system, including any extra hormones. And, of course, water is essential to digestion. It helps your body get rid of any excess gas or bloating, and it makes sure you have enough nutrients to stay healthy.
Try Some Pampering
When you’re feeling a little down and don’t know what to do. Or, when you just need a break, take yourself out for pampering. Do something you enjoy with the people you love, or go to a relaxing salon service with a glass of wine. Whatever you choose, it’s essential to give yourself some self-care. This is especially important after having a baby, as you may be feeling extra drained, overstretched, and just worn out from parenthood.
Pamper Your Skin
When you’re feeling a little overstressed, or just need a break from a full schedule, take a moment to pamper your skin. This could mean a simple shower, a foot soak, a face mask, or a massage. Good skincare is especially important for new mums. It can help reduce redness, moisturize dry skin, and reduce the chance of the post-partum related condition post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It can also help improve skin texture, including reducing wrinkles and acne.
Take Care Of Your Hair And Nails
Pampering your hair can give your head a rest, while manicured nails are a great way to relax your hands. And after what we know about what happens to your hair and nails post-partum, they will thank you for some TLC. There are many multivitamins you can take specifically designed to boost your hair and nails.
If your post-pregnancy hair loss is extreme, you may be considering reaching for something stronger to help. Men can be prescribed a medication to help, but it comes with risks and side effects of finasteride that shouldn’t be overlooked. The same goes for women. And if your hair loss is down to post-partum, then sit tight before going to extremes. It’ll likely go back to normal.
Wear Breathable Fabrics
When you’re feeling a little tender or just a bit self-conscious, give your body a break by wearing breathable fabrics. Breathable fabrics won’t stick to your body and make you hot and sticky. These clothes can be found at most stores, and they’re especially helpful when it’s hot outside, as they won’t make you feel like you’re overheating.
Eat Nutritious Foods
It might feel completely impossible, but make sure you eat foods that give your body everything it needs. This is especially important after having a baby, as you may be feeling extra drained, overstretched, and just worn out from parenthood. Eating nutritious foods can help you feel more energized. Also, if you don’t have the time for home-cooked food, plenty of healthy ready-made food can be delivered to your doorstep.
Get A Massage
This is a great way to relax, get your blood flowing, and move your muscles again. Massages have many benefits, especially after giving birth. As well as helping you feel relaxed, it can help relieve pain and reduce swelling. In addition, maternity massages are beneficial for new mums, as they can help ease stress, promote relaxation, and ease tension.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Many new mums feel overwhelmed when they first have a baby, making it seem too much to handle. So when you’re feeling a little overstretched, or just need a break from a full schedule, ask for help. This doesn’t have to mean forking out for a nanny or, even worse, asking your family for more money. There are many ways to get help looking after your baby, and it could be as simple as asking a friend to help you out for a few hours a week.