So you delivered a baby. While this means you have a beautiful little person to love and care for, it also means your body went through an ordeal. Whether you delivered vaginal or c section, with or without drugs, it takes time for your body to recover. Your post baby body may not be what you expected.
While I am a big proponent of working out throughout pregnancy, I am also a proponent of giving your body time to recover following delivery. Your body completed no small task, so it needs time to restore itself.
In the days following delivery, your mind many swing back and forth between two opposing thoughts. I know mine did. On the one hand, you can't believe that a few days ago your belly was big enough to carry this baby on the inside. On the other hand, you feel like it's taking forever for your stomach to go down. Between lack of sleep, adapting to caring for a new baby, and unhappiness about your body, your time post delivery can be rough. So what are you to do?
First, give yourself a break. While you should definitely be caring for your post baby body, this doesn't mean jumping back into workouts and dieting. It does mean taking it easy, getting sleep when you can, and allowing your body to heal. The only real exercise I would advocate during the first few weeks post delivery are kegels and walking, once you feel up to it.
Even those of us who worked out daily during pregnancy need time for our muscles to recover. In the days following delivery, I was shocked at how heavy my 3 year old seemed when I picked him up. My ab and back muscles were worn out. Even my arm muscles had strained as I pulled my legs back for delivery. Just now at 1.5 weeks post delivery is picking him up starting to feel easier again.
Here are my stats regarding my pregnant and post pregnant body. By then end of my pregnancy I weighed in at 155 lbs. My pre-pregnancy weight was 120 lbs, giving me a 35 lbs weight gain. This is me on Sunday, May 15, 2016, three days after I delivered.
Yup, still looks like there's a baby in there. In fact, Tyler informed me that now we have 2 Hailey's, one on the outside and one still in my belly.... Way to boost my self esteem Tyler, lol. Straightening this out may take some time...
Since delivery, I haven't done much as far as exercise goes. I've walked around a bit and done kegels, when I remember. As far as abs go, I bought a belly bandit, but I've only used it twice so far. I don't know if it has helped my abs, but I do appreciate the back support it provides. As far as stretch marks go, yes, I collected some of those. Here's a close up of the belly.
I have been testing out the It Works Stretch Mark Cream. I don't know if it actually works yet, but it does feel great going on.
So here is the belly progress about a week after the first picture and 10 days total postpartum.
Wanna see that in a side by side? Here you go:
I am currently at 136 lbs which is about 19 lbs less than my pregnancy weight and 16 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. So progress is being made even without exercise. Of course, a lot of that was baby, placenta, fluids, etc..
At this point the only thing is I'm really doing is eating relatively healthy. You know whole grains, fruits and veggies. But I have allowed myself treats as well. My body did a lot of work and my taste buds are reaping the rewards. Soon it will be back to a slightly more strict regimen.
One thing I will note, is I am also exclusively breastfeeding. This does help the uterus contract faster and this in turn reduces belly size. I definitely support it as a way to speed up your body's return to its pre-baby shape. Plus it's a super cost effective way to feed your baby. It's also a lot of work, so there are pluses and minuses. For us, the convenience and health benefits for both mom and baby make this the right choice for our family. I breastfed T for a full year, and I intend to do the same with Hailey.
So that's where I am at right now. Once I start working out again, I will report what I am doing as well as my progress.
In the meantime, tune in Friday for a Memorial Day craft project and next Tuesday when we discuss diastasis recti.