It’s taken me a while to really feel confident and comfortable with my body changes after pregnancy.
However, I feel differently now about my after baby body. It isn’t ‘perfect’ but it did a good job. It gave my two babies a safe and healthy environment to be conceived and grow.
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How My Body Changed After Pregnancy
I knew of the obvious changes on what to expect after birth such as stretch marks and weight gain. Although there were some body changes (more here) during pregnancy that no-one warned me of! (I’m talking about you: swollen feet!).
During my first pregnancy, I ate so well, and I exercised when I could, and the result of that was that I didn’t put on much weight. Losing weight after pregnancy #1 was fairly quick as a result.
Second time around, I wasn’t quite as well behaved. I knew it would be my last pregnancy and I embraced my growing waistline and went more than a little overboard on the chocolate. And cake. And all the sweet things.
I’d remembered how “easy” losing weight after giving birth was last time. Of course, I quickly found this wasn’t the case – and in fact nearly three years on from giving birth to baby #2, I’m only now at the weight I was before he was conceived. (and that is still over weight).
My post baby body might weigh the same, but it certainly doesn’t look or feel the same. Some of those pregnancy body changes decided they would stick around.
Here are some of them – and how I’m getting used to my post pregnancy body all these years on:
1. My Stomach after Pregnancy
There are a couple of changes that happened to my post pregnancy belly. Neither being stretch marks as it happens! That said, I do have stretch marks on my hips, legs and arms from my teen years – so I have my share.
The first way my post pregnancy stomach is different is the size of it – well, the size and shape. During pregnancy, I carried both babies really high and could feel my ribs expanding a lot. I remember acid reflux being bad in both pregnancies because everything was just so squashed!
After giving birth, and the baby weight loss after birth, I expected to “deflate” more than I did. But now, my ribs still stick out high up – I’ve even had a chiropractor standing on the table above me trying to push them back down.
For a long time, I hated this – I felt like I looked pregnant still months after giving birth. This affected my self-confidence a lot and I hated my tummy after pregnancy for it. These days I’m much more accepting of it and as I lose more weight I’m finding it is changing a little for the better.
2. Skin Changes after Pregnancy
My second pregnancy had similarities with my first but also some big differences. One side effect I really suffered from was itchy skin. I was tested a couple of times for obstetric cholestasis but thankfully didn’t have that condition.
But my stomach and legs were so itchy, particularly at night – I’m guessing it was just an effect of the hormonal changes in pregnancy.
The result is that my post pregnancy tummy has some small scars and whilst they’re not too noticeable to others, they’re a reminder to me.
I’ve embraced them as being a reminder of a happy pregnancy – they’re fading over time, but they might never go away fully.
I’ve been using DermaScar Silicone gel on a scar on my chest in recent months to lighten and flatten it and I’ve started to use it on some of the darker scars on my tummy too.
If the DermaScar gel does help them, as it has my chest scar, then I’ll be delighted. If the scars never fade, that’s ok with me too.
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Related: DermaScar review
DermaScar helps to improve the long-term appearance of scars (everything from stretch marks to acne scars) and helps to lighten and flatten them. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have started to use it in the early days. You can find out more about DermaScar here.
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3. Changes to My Period after Pregnancy
I never liked periods much – well, does anyone? But seriously, when you’re trying to conceive, every period that comes along is like a dagger to your heart.
I had always had painful periods before pregnancy and my mum had shared with me that after having her babies, her period pain vanished for good.
I was full of hope of the same benefit – but no, my post pregnancy period returned just the same as before. On the bright side, at least my hormones after pregnancy had seemed to go back to normal so all good. Well, except periods are still annoying.
4. Post Pregnancy Hair Loss
One of the best physical changes in pregnancy for me was my hair situation. I’m talking head hair.
Seriously, I’ve never had such thick and glossy hair – my normal hair is fine and lank (in my opinion). Of course, at 4 months post partum, the hormones did their annoying changing thing and the hair started to shed.
Oh, how sad!
You might know that six months after giving birth to my second baby, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just as my hair had started to get back to normal, chemo had other plans and the whole lot went! Darn it – at that point I wished I hadn’t complained as much about my hair.
I had thought that the effects of pregnancy on the body were weird until I underwent chemo.
Two years post chemo, my hair is sloooowly getting back to normal and I’m a lot more grateful for it than I was before. (But I do still complain about it!).
5. Exercise after Pregnancy
One thing I do regret at times is not exercising more during my last pregnancy. You know I mentioned about how much extra I ate, well I did twice as much sitting on my bum and doing nothing too.
This was partly due to awful pelvic pain I developed very early on – some days, I couldn’t even stand for long, let alone walk. I wasn’t expecting the pelvic pain to be one of my body changes in early pregnancy as it had developed much later during my first pregnancy.
However, I wish I’d tried to do more, even if it meant lifting weights while sitting.
How My Body is Different Now
My body has been through the wringer after two pregnancies, cancer and chemo. It’s only now that I’m starting to slowly get back into exercise. I know I would have recovered from these events much quicker though had I been fitter and stronger earlier on.
But, you know, what’s the point in wallowing in regrets. What’s done is done and my body after pregnancy isn’t all that bad.
Yes, I have some permanent body changes after pregnancy, but I am learning to embrace them and accept them as the new me. It’s taken some time for sure.
Some things I cannot change and some I can. It doesn’t mean I will!
Have you embraced your body after birth or are there any things you would change if you could?
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