Body After Baby: What To Expect After You Deliver

I am so excited to be guest posting today on Carrots ”˜N’ Cake for Tina. My name is Tamara and I am a wife to a firefighter, mommy to an almost two year old with another on the way in few weeks, and a personal trainer/yoga instructor. I started my blog The Workout Mama last year and was looking for a way to record family memories and to share fitness and health tips with other women.

Kim Bawden Photography Maternity Session I think most women wonder when they get pregnant what is going to happen to their body after they have a baby. What will it feel like and most importantly what will it look like. I can only speak from my own experience and every women and each pregnancy is so different. With both of my pregnancies I exercised consistently, took my prenatal vitamins, and ate nutrient rich foods. I can only show you my results from my first pregnancy because baby #2 has not been born yet but I will be posting before and after pics on my blog when she arrives. You can follow me on bloglovin, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Having a healthy and active lifestyle will help you not only with labor but also with your recovery.

Here are just a few things that a new mom can expect after delivery. This is just a tiny bit of the information you can find on my Losing The Baby Weight Series on The Workout Mama (just click the link and scroll down to find all the posts). Because I had an unmedicated vaginal delivery I had my friend Jess Temple, another fit mama, share her C-Section tips.

VAGINAL DELIVERY

1) You will still look pregnant. My stomach did not magically deflate. After pushing out my 6 pound baby and delivering the placenta I imagined that there would be nothing left to make me look pregnant. I laugh at myself now. My uterus had been growing a person for the last 9 months, so naturally it was going to remain swollen even after delivery. I am sharing this next picture so other first time mama’s can know what to expect. Belly Before & After Delivery2) Take the laxatives when they are offered and order prunes with every meal while you are still in hospital. It will make going to the bathroom slightly easier. Do not wipe yourself with toilet paper. There will be a wash bottle in the bathroom that you can fill with warm water to rinse yourself. The wash bottle is amazing!

3) Take a Sitz Bath multiple times during the day. A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. There are also special devices that fit into toilet bowls. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body.

4) If you have tearing, hemorrhoids or stitches resist the urge to look at them and instead see #3. Also stock up on the gauze panties for when you leave the hospital. Ask for extra’s so you can take them home with you. Along with the granny panties provided by the hospital I used several witch hazel pads topped with medicated foam and ointment to soothe my stitched skin and hemorrhoids. All of this and more will be provided to you by the hospital.

5) Ice packs, chilled witch hazel pads, sitz baths, and wash bottles are all wonderful ways to ease the discomfort after a vaginal delivery. I used all of these natural remedies and highly recommend them.

C-SECTION

1) You may experience cramping throughout your shoulders and chest.

2) Shivering is a common reaction to the epidurals and medication.

3) Be prepared to stay in bed for a few hours up to a day after your c-section. You will need lots of rest.

4) Stay on top of your pain medications. That being said getting out of bed for the first time will feel like a major workout.

5) Because of your incision you won’t be able to wear anything low rise for a few weeks. Stock up on granny panties.

HELPFUL ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS

Regardless of if you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section here are a few tips that will help you in your recovery…

1) Get up and start walking ASAP. It will hurt and it will not be comfortable at first but each day you will be able to go a little further. Walking is great because it is a low impact exercise and helps the body flush out toxins and hormones that your body no longer needs now that you are not pregnant.

2) Go easy on yourself. You just had a baby. No need to do all the cleaning, cooking, and diaper changes so be sure to ask for help from friends and family.

3) Listen to your body and your doctor. Experts at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist say it is ok to gradually resume exercise if you were physically active until giving birth as long as you did not have any complications or conditions that make exercise dangerous. Any new mom will tell that the first six weeks are an adventure. You are learning your new normal. As soon as you feel ready to get back to exercise and have been cleared by your doctor the faster you will recovery.

4) Many women still look 6 months pregnant after delivery, myself included. The uterus is still swollen and it takes about 6 weeks after delivery for it to return to its normal position. It is totally normal to not feel like yourself after you have had a baby. I promise with time and effort you can and will regain control over your midsection. As hard as it is, try to only weigh yourself no more than once a week or even once a month.

2-8 Months Postpartum 5) Postpartum night sweating is no joke. I had crazy night sweats which left me waking up drenched and having to change my pi’s. I heard this is super common and the way the body regulates all the hormone changes and rids itself of excess fluid. Keep extra pajamas nearby so you can make it easy to get changed during the night if needed.

6) If there was one product that I would recommend for new moms it would be the Belly Bandit Original post-pregnancy tummy wrap. After I delivered my son I wore the Original Belly Bandit and it was worth every penny. The Belly Bandit offers support for your low back, reduces swelling, and boosts a new moms confidence in her post baby body. I wore it all the time except for showering until I was 4 weeks postpartum and for the next 2 weeks only wore it at night. I only recommend wearing this for the first 6-8 weeks after delivery because you don’t want your abdominal muscles to become dependent on the additional support.

Want to see what other products I have in my hospital bag for when the baby is born? Check out My Hospital Bag Must Haves.

I hope I was able to make you feel a little more prepared about what you can expect after you deliver your baby. Our bodies are truly amazing! To all you new moms out there or soon to be moms enjoy every minute! I know everyone says it but it really does go by fast.

Thanks again Tina for letting me share with your readers! It was so much fun!

xoxo, Tamara

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49 Comments

    1. Hi Tamara,

      Great to read your recap about what to expect after you deliver your baby. I wanted to reach out and see if you have ever tried Physique 57, a barre-based workout that combined cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery to create a sculpted physique. Would love to get your feedback on our latest video, Cardio Sculpt. Email me at natasha@physique57.com with your address and we can further connect.

      Best,
      Natasha Attal
      Digital Marketing Manager
      Physique 57
      @Tamara @ The Workout Mama:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am not yet trying to get pregnant but I have thought about what would happen afterwards and it terrifies me. I had no idea you would still look pregnant after giving birth either. But seeing how you got your rockin body back in 8 months gives me some hope!

  2. Wow, you looked absolutely phenomenal one week postpartum with your first. I am 25 weeks along with baby #1 and have been working out 4 or 5 times a week (strength training 3-4 and elliptical 2-3 x per week, plus walks and hikes). I feel awesome without aches or pains, but still quite anxious for that post-pregnancy recovery period. Do you mind if I ask how much you gained during your pregnancies? I have already gained almost 23 lbs… doctor is not concerned and I have been eating healthy and tracking so hopefully it’s just the way my body does this thing but it is hard not getting down on yourself.

    1. @Claire: Thanks Claire. Congrats on your upcoming arrival! Everyone is so different with how much weight they gain during pregnancy. That being said I gained 20 pounds with Caden and 24 pounds with Maisie. Keep up all your hard work! It is going to help you so much during your recovery after your baby is born.

  3. Hi Tamara,

    I love this post. I’m not a mom yet, but hope that is in my future in the next year or so, so I’m always reading other bloggers thoughts on the process. I’m a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, so how my body feels and moves during and after pregnancy is really important. I’ll definitely check out your blog for more on this.

    Best,
    Ashley

  4. I just had my baby girl 4 months ago, and I agree so much with these! She was my first so I didn’t know a lot ha! Too bad I didn’t read this post before I had her 😉 I follow your blog, and loved all of your pregnancy updates 🙂

  5. This was a fantastic read!!!!! I really wish I would have had this after my first pregnancy. I had to have an emergency C-section and I swear by the belly band, it helped so much and hospital undies are the best and definitely asked for extra to take home.

  6. Great post! I am at the end of my first trimester (first baby) and trying to stay active. It’s easier now that I feel better and have energy!

    Also, Congrats Tina!!!! I saw the instagram photo of your cute little bundle of joy on the sidebar. Looking forward to reading about your birth experience 🙂

  7. Thank you for actually sharing some information I have not read before. I see so many random blog posts and articles about “What nobody told you” but it always has information people have told me! Haha I’ve never heard of Sitz baths, not wiping, rinse bottles, etc. I’m a sponge for information like this (even though I’m nowhere near being pregnant) so it is refreshing to finally have some new information.

  8. These are all very accurate for sure! I would say to stock up on witch hazel along with the sitz baths. Motherlove herbs makes a spray product that is like a sitz bath in case you can’t take baths all the time.

  9. Every blog post like this makes me a little nervous about having children one day. This one is pretty informative though and not too scary. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  10. You nailed it! I remember being very surprised by how I looked after I got home from the hospital with my first. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I bounced back in less than a year, with a little hard work!

  11. Thank you! This was such a great post since I am due in 13 days myself with my first! Thank you so much for this info!!! I did get a belly wrap I have packed in my hospital bag!

  12. Thanks for sharing Tamara! Just to put my 2 cents- I had an unexpected c-section & something to consider is having some gas x or tums on hand. I experienced some painful gas bubbles, due to the surgery. Gas X was a savior!!

  13. Great, great information! I’m expecting twins in November and I’m not going to lie, I’m concerned about what my body will look like post-pregnancy, so you’ve given great tips for me to consider. And it sounds like the bottom line is, don’t be hard on yourself and give it time.

    1. @Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat: Congrats Holly! Yes be nice to yourself and just remember it takes time :). My girlfriend had twins last year and she looks great. She made sure to lotion her entire body every day and went on lots of walks while she was pregnant. I know being active is harder when you have multiple babies inside but the walking worked great for her. Good luck!

  14. Great post! I’m so glad you mentioned a swollen uterus, because I get so annoyed when people talk about the post-baby chub on otherwise thin women (think Kate Middleton). It’s not chub, it’s an organ!! YMMV. Anyhow like you, I kept in great shape when I had my son and it helped me bounce back quickly, even with an unplanned C-section.

    And congrats to Tina and Mal!!

  15. @Tamara – Wow these are great tips, I’ll book mark this page, hopefully I will need the info in the future!
    @Tina, I am so impressed that you have lined up all these posts and guests posts, you are awesome! I saw a picture of your sweet little baby on Instagram, sooo adorable – Congrats!!! XO, Pam

  16. Thank you for telling it like it is!!! I don’t have kids yet but I now feel so much more prepared for what to expect with my body and more importantly how to keep going when your body has gone through such an amazing and tremendous experience! Thank you for your realism! So appreciated!

  17. I am so excited to read this. As a dance teacher and group fitness instructor, I rely on my body every day to do its thing! I have been very worried about what will happen post-baby, but you made me see today that if I keep working whilst preggo, and stick to “time mending all things” I will be able to define a new normal after. This came at the perfect time, can’t wait to check out your blog.

  18. Ugh, those postpartum night sweats, YUCK! This is gross, but I used to lay out a t-shirt, when i got up with the baby, I would take of my wet shirt and hang it to dry and put on the other shirt. And I would rotate between the two shirts all night. If one didn’t dry fast enough, I would go shirtless for the next “round.”

    Another c-section tip, you will still bleed postpartum, even though they “suck” a lot of the nasty out. You too will need giant pads and undies!

  19. I want to start by saying that this post is great; as a woman who is currently trying to get pregnant, I’m always happy to receive as much information as possible, especially the nitty gritty details that we usually keep to ourselves. I was a little disappointed, though, by some of the rhetoric here, as we currently live in a society where women are pushed to look fitter and thinner faster, even after having a child. In an article about one’s body after birth, shouldn’t healing be privileged? Aren’t there other physical facets to consider above how one looks? Is this perhaps some of the harmful rhetoric that tells new moms they have to make a remarkable and quick turnaround? Is how we look really more important than how we feel? (From the article: “What will it feel like and MOST IMPORTANTLY what will it look like,” emphasis my own.) I’m not here to criticize, but rather to ask if this is really the best way to frame a conversation about women’s bodies–especially because bloggers, and women bloggers, play an important role in, (and have a responsibility to), reshaping our country’s dialogue.

  20. Love this post! I didn’t research postpartum recovery at all while I was pregnant, so everything was a total surprise and I was constantly on Google trying to find out if symptoms were normal or if I was dying. (Everything was normal 😉 1 year postpartum and I finally feel “normal” again (though I still don’t have abs like yours!). Wrote a post about my post partum recovery here:

    http://thejonijourney.blogspot.com/2014/06/1-year-postpartum-weight-loss-recovery.html

  21. I think it is a bit silly to post such vain photos of a postpartum physique. Most women do NOT look like this in the year after childbirth. I had my surprise 3rd child at 42 and would be crying if this is how I thought I was supposed to look. Luckily I know breastfeeding makes me pack extra pounds on, and a horrible winter kept me inactive outside postpartum despite doing barre 5 times/ week. I did a bootcamp until 7 months and a barre class until 9months, and I still am nowhere close to my body last year. I am feeding a small human, so my focus is to exercise and eat well without compromising my milk supply.

    1. @Shera: thank you!! My thoughts exactly. Great tips but I would say the VAST majority of women do NOT look like this post partum even if they are active.

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