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Your Body After Delivery

It’s easy to see all the things that happen to your body when you’re pregnant, but after delivery, it’s almost shocking to see the sorts of things that you’re dealing with now. Have no fear, however, many of the changes will simply fade on their own with a bit of time and others will require some work, but after a few months, you’ll be right back where you were or close enough to count, anyhow.

No matter how you deliver, you’ll have some swelling to deal with. Vaginal deliveries will include swelling of the region and cesarean deliveries will cause your uterus to swell around the incision and at the surgery line as well. The IV fluids necessary after a surgical delivery will increase your swelling as well. Part of your swelling is inflamed tissue, but the majority of the swelling in your face, hands, feet, legs and everywhere else is water, blood and other fluids left over from the pregnancy.

As you experience many trips to the bathroom and severe night sweats your body will remove these fluids within a week or two. Hop on the scale each morning to watch your weight drop hugely every day. Your uterus is still enlarged and that is the last bit of swelling to go down. It can take a full six weeks for your uterus to return to a normal size and that means it takes that long for other things to shrink as well.

Your Tummy
After delivery, you’ll have a bit of a challenge remembering what your tummy used to look like. But try pulling on a pair of pants from prepregnancy and you’ll remember quickly enough. Your tummy after pregnancy is a bit of a mess. You might have red stretchmarks that will eventually fade to silver and you might have a bit of a Jello effect going on from all the loose skin.

Your skin and muscles have been stretched considerably during pregnancy and it can take months for these to return to normal. Wait at least six weeks before even attempting to pull on your old fat pants and don’t be surprised if your tummy is still too big. Your swollen uterus will make your belly pouch awhile longer and your now loose abdominal muscles will need some love and attention to get them back into proper position.

If you gained a bit of extra weight it might also be stored on your tummy making it that much tougher to get back into your normal shape. You can tame the tummy in a few ways. Use a healthy diet and cardio exercise after six weeks or so to lose weight all over your body. Do Pilates, yoga or other abdominal exercises to start working those muscles back into place. Soon you’ll be pleased to see your body returning to a place you’ve missed for a while.

Your Breasts
Your bust line goes through some rather impressive changes after delivery. Your breasts grew during pregnancy and when your milk “comes in” a few days after delivery, they will grow again. They will eventually likely settle down to a larger-than-normal size while you breastfeed. But if you don’t breastfeed or when you wean, you might notice your breasts actually deflating. The swelling and growth your breasts have done over the previous year have stretched the skin a bit and when the tissue returns to normal, the skin might not follow suit giving your breasts a very different appearance than they had previously. This is normal and can not be avoided by skipping breastfeeding. You might be able to minimize some damage by wearing a supportive bra throughout the day and adopting the French tradition of a sleeping bra at night.

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