2011 20/04

Your postpartum body

In the 40 weeks from conception to birth, your child-carrying body goes through an amazing amount of changes.  Some good — hello, thick luscious hair! — and some not so good — damn you, stretch marks! There are books upon books dedicated to this topic.  But what about after the baby is born?

Your postpartum body is definitely not a rubber band.  Even if you can fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans when you get home from the hospital (I hate you by the way), your body is still going to go through a lot of changes now that baby is out of your belly and in your arms.

1. Stretch Marks

Oh those pesky stretch marks!  The battle signs of motherhood.  Some of us have more of those visible battle signs than others, but there are very few moms out there who escape pregnancy without a single stretch mark.  While eliminating stretch marks altogether is pretty much impossible, you can help minimize their appearance with a Retin-A cream.

2. C-Section Scar

If your baby was born via C-Section (as two of mine were), your battle scars include a lovely surgical scar across your lower abdomen.  Thankfully most C-sections these days leave you a horizontal scar along your bikini line, making it easier to hide than those vertical incision scars.  While you can’t eliminate the scar completely (whether it was horizontal or vertical), like stretch marks you can minimize it’s appearance with different creams.  Try Mederma, an over-the-counter cream, or (my favorite) C-Mama Healing Salve from Earth Mama Angel Baby.

3. Hair

During pregnancy, those high estrogen levels often extends your hair’s growing phase, causing less to fall out during those 9 months.  After you give birth, those estrogen levels take a nose dive and you’re cleaning out that shower drain at record rates! Don’t worry, all that hair loss does not mean that you’re going to go bald!  The shedding will taper off and return to normal in no time!

4. Body Hair

Some pregnant women notice an increased amount of body hair (especially facial hair) while others can get away with not shaving their legs at all for 9 months!  This pregnancy I fell more on the end of not having to shave.  It was fabulous!  I’m not sure if it was because I was pregnant with a boy this time around or what, but my legs stayed smooth for months!  Of course, now I’m back in the real world and shaving every few days.  If you happened to fall on the end of being one step away from a full-on beard, you’ll be happy to know that the hair growth and that dark hair will taper off soon, too!

5. Nails

Just like your body hair, your nail growth is going to return to it’s pre-pregnancy state soon, too.  However, you may also notice that your nails are a little more brittle and your cuticles a little more dry since having baby.  This could be due to a few factors — you’re not consuming as much water, hormone changes, and/or your washing your hands a thousand times a day now!

6.  Vericose Veins

If you were plagued with these during pregnancy, I’m so sorry!  I was lucky enough to escape them.  Unfortunately, those pesky little guys are not going to completely disappear post-partum.  They might get smaller but they’ll still be there.  Talk to your doctor about treatments to help eliminate them.

7. Skin

Eucerin Daily Skin Balance Skin-Fortifying Body LotionThis is one of my most frustrating post-partum battles.  I loved how hydrated and healthy my skin was during pregnancy.  Now, post-partum, my skin is dry all the time!  I miss that “pregnancy glow”!  The change in my skin was a result of changing hormones and changing diet.  While I was pregnant I drank a ton of water!  Now, not so much.  If I’m drinking something…I’m opting for something with caffeine.  The change in hormones and the dramatic decline of water intake has left my skin pretty dry.

To combat my dry skin these days, I’ve been lathering up with Eucerin’s Daily Skin Balance Skin-Fortifying Body Lotion and I’ve actually been able to tell a difference!  I’m really hoping to get my skin in “Summer condition” so I’m not this dry, scaly monster running around in a few months!  I lather up in the morning and before bed and I keep a small tube of the Hand Cream in the diaper bag to reapply throughout the day!!! Eventually I’ll be switching over to the Everyday Protection SPF 15 Body Lotion, once this Michigan weather decides to play nice and act like Spring instead of Winter!

I also need to up my water intake!

8.  Raccoon Eyes

I love it when people say, “Wow! You’re looking good!” after hearing I just had a baby.  It’s so nice of them to lie to my face.  Really, I’m ok with the lie.  I need the lie.  Because when I look at myself in the mirror and I’m startled by the raccoon staring back at me…I need the lie!

This dramatic decrease in the amount of sleep you’ll be getting will take it’s tole on you.  And the dark circles around your eyes will be the obvious sign.  Of course there are a ton of products out there that you can use to rid yourself of or cover up those dark circles.  It’s just a matter of finding one that actually works.  That’s where I’m at right now…I’m on the quest to find that perfect product.  Hopefully before it breaks my bank or before my kids are all sleeping through the night consistently.

9.  Muffin Top

Unless you’re one of those sub-human woman who’s body bounces right back into her size 4 jeans after having a baby (did I mention I hate you?), then you’ll have some extra baggage around that mid-section for a little while.  I’ve heard that women who have a C-section have a little harder time getting rid of that extra flab around the belly because of the surgery.  But I think people are just telling me that to make me feel better.

Your two friends here — exercise and tummy control clothing!  Check out apparel from Spanx and Yummie Tummie.

10. The girls

Regardless if you breastfeed or bottle feed, you’re bound to notice some changes in “the girls” after having your baby.  Yes, I’m talking breasts.  Boobs.  Tatas.  Whatever, they’re not going to be quite the same.  Pregnancy has probably caused you some sagging in that department and, like everything else on your body, they aren’t going to just bounce back.  Unless you’re looking to go under the knife, you’ll want to check out some exercises to tighten up your pectoral muscles to help bring the girls back up to par.  And you’ll want to make a trip to your local department store for a new bra fitting!

There you have it.  The unfair reality that, even after you carried that baby for nine months and somehow managed to get that baby out of you, the battle to reclaim your body is far from over!  Good luck!  And please pass on any secrets you may have!

*You should know…this post is done in part of a campaign with Eucerin.  I received complimentary products from Eucerin in hopes that I would share my thoughts about Eucerin here.  All opinions stated here are my own.  If you’d like to try Eucerin for yourself, visit Eucerin.com to find the right product for you!

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  • I loved this post! It was honest and fun, which is definitely a good thing because I’m scared sh*tless of what getting pregnant will do to the body I’ve become very comfortable in lol.

  • Thanks Lin! Hopefully I didn’t scare you though! I will say, in complete honestly, my little ones were worth every stretch mark! And I have a lot!!! Stretch marks that is, not kids!

    And I completely understand about being comfortable in your body and not wanting to really sacrifice that. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep having kids after my first baby because I was working hard to get my pre-baby body back and didn’t want to start all over again. Honestly, your body will never be the same after having kids. But that doesn’t mean that it will be worse or even better…it will just be different.

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