I know that I can expect my body to change after giving birth — it’s kind of obvious to me that growing a human, gaining 30-60lbs, and then pushing a human out of my body will do that.
I’m curious about the REAL CHANGES — not just what happens on the surface (stretch marks, acne, etc.).
What changes did your body experience after giving birth throughout the first year of your child’s life?
We’ve talked about what post-partum life is like practically, and you guys were all over the post-partum period discussion… but we’ve never REALLY delved into The Body Talk.
So we want Offbeat Families readers to tell us: How did your body change after you gave birth?
We think the comments on this post are pretty enlightening… here are a few we especially love:
Fact is my body was completely changed by child birth. The reality is you must come to accept this new you or consistently struggle to get back to the old. Because no matter how much you work out,you will never be perfect (even if you were a super models before kids). Yep, my body at least, is still going to look like Freddy Krueger ripped his way out of my belly. This after children me is ME. and I’m still pretty damn sexy. — Mia
Your physical body does bounce back pretty quickly with a healthy diet and some regular exercise. I still have stretch marks and some skin sagginess, and my poor boobs will never be as perky, but I am actually in better shape after my daughter than I was before. My daughter has made me way more conscious of my diet because I want to be a good role model for her. I don’t want her to struggle with the same PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) issues that I did for years. — Jessica
My experience of post baby body – not too bad! My girls, even after b/f twice for a year+ each time are in pretty good shape (and height off the waist). My belly will never ever be the same, but really pretty happy generally. I think having a partner who tells you regularly how hot and sexy you are (and believes it) probably counts for a lot!!! As for baby weight – I gained 20kg first time, and took it all off walking up and down hills with my baby on my back. Second time not so much, but I was too exhausted to do the hill walking (see above!). — Annie
We love the comments on this post but please try to avoid disparaging your mama bodies! We think you’re beautiful.
Comments on How did your body REALLY change after giving birth?
I had a cesarean and my scar is kind of adheared to the abdomen, and is occasionally sore and itchy. My son is 18 months old, and I have been very surprised how much discomfort I have had and how long it has lasted just from the scar.
I am a little skinnier than before I was pregnant due to breastfeeding, and not really having time to work out. The exception to this is my arm muscles being bigger, and stronger. My hips are a little wider, and my abdominal muscles are a little looser, and I feel like I have to make a consious effort to “hold it in” more, and maintain posture. I think if I had a little more personal time, I would be working out more to build and tone my muscles, and this would not be an issue. Everything else is pretty much back to normal. Hair growth is back to normal, the dark line has finally faded from my belly. It’s amazing to realize how much the body can stretch, and just go back to practically the same shape as before.
Since my son was born, I have had a number of weird taste-related changes (I can’t go anywhere near eggs anymore, but love vinegar and pasta in ways I never knew I could), but other than getting CRAZY strong (I can dead-lift upwards of seventy-five pounds when I previously whined and cried over twenty), there really weren’t any major changes. After I lost my milk supply, my boobs basically went back to how they were, and other than a little extra tummy that I can mostly blame on eating basically everything in sight for the first four months of my son’s life, my shape didn’t really change at all. Emotionally, I think I made it out pretty easy in that department in that I stayed pretty level throughout pregnancy and post-partum, but I do find myself far more likely to cry or get emotional when it comes to ANYTHING having to do with babies.
I used to be a full 34 C cup and now I am barely a 32B. My upper body shrunk all around, and I actually weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy because of muscle loss and shifting weight around my body, but my pre-pregnancy clothes still wouldn’t fit because my hips are wider and my rib cage is a little rounder.
now that I’m pregnant with baby number two an allergic sneezing fit will make me pee my pants. I don’t let my bladder get overly full while I do yard work.
My breasts arn’t quite as lofty as they were, but I’m terribly fond of them. At the risk of sounding kitche, I look at their new shape and density and think “woah, these have fed my baby for 17 months…. and counting..super human.”
My stomach had some super intense stretch marks, but they’ve faded a lot. I’m unsure if I’ll get more from this pregnancy. I’m hoping my body will use the ones it has, as they’re terribly itchy.
p.s. I thought I was going to sound weird saying this, but I see a lot of others adding it so I’ll chime in.
Chasing my toddler, and constant breastfeeding has put me far below my original pre-pregnancy weight. I started my last pregnancy at 170 lbs, and started this pregnancy at 150 lbs.
I weigh 5 pounds less now than I did when I CONCEIVED my son. However, all my clothes now fit me completely differently. My pants are too tight and I fill out a shirt much differently. My hair is all dried out and broken, but my nails still look awesome.
Yup, I can totally relate with much of what has already been said. I am due my second bubba next week and this whole pregnancy has been different, so I will be interested to see how my body changes again. As of the first time round, my nipples went from pale pink to dark brown, I gained some stretch marks (my hubby calls them tiger stripes!), I have to cross my legs when I sneeze and I never really recovered from backache – but the only thing that bothered me is my belly apron. I was always curvey and I gained 50lbs in the first pregnancy, so having a ‘buddha belly’ wasn’t really an issue for me, however I now have this loose skin just above my bikini line that won’t disappear and has a tendency of hanging over my knicker line (even during this current pregnancy). I really don’t like it. This pregnancy followed pretty hot on the heels of my first, thankfully after I lost most of the baby weight from last time, but I have only gained 7lbs for the whole term. I will weigh less after she is born next week than when I started! I haven’t added to my tiger stripe collection, it seems my belly has reused the old marks (some of the ones that had faded have become pink again), and I haven’t noticed any further changes to boobs or body shape. Hopefully I will recover as well as I did last time.
Stretchmarks – check
Massive boobs (from F to JJ!) check
Wider set hips – check
Ability to function on 3 hours sleep – check!
I never have had a problem losing baby weight and I gained about 50 lbs each with my first two, but I started putting on weight all on my own when my second was about 2, and I have no idea how to lose it because I’ve never had to try to lose weight–I know that sounds awful but come on, I’m only 24. I did get wider hips (have had to go up a pant size after each kid, but that was starting at a size 2 in high school so not terrible), bigger feet (roughly a half size to a size bigger and oddly, it only happened with my boys), stretch marks of course with my first, I’ve heard they’re hereditary, but I swear by Shea butter and Burt’s bees mama bee oil, I don’t think I’ve gotten additional stretch marks since the first and those have faded to white, bigger but less perky boobs, even after nursing 2 fat baby boys I’ve gone from a 36 nearly C to a 40E, my skin around my c-section scar feels weirdly numb but the scar itself hurts when a baby steps on my tummy, my hair texture and fullness has changed more times than I can count, it fell out in buckets after both boys, I felt tighter down there after an episiotomy with my first but I tore along that scar tissue with my 3rd and the doctor said I probably always would, I have to clench every muscle in my body when I sneeze if my bladder is the least bit full, I never had UTIs or yeast infections until I got both at the same time with my first and now I’m really susceptible to infections, I got my first pilonidal cyst (gross and embarrassing but out of my control) after the stress of my second delivery and have been more susceptible to them since, I got two within six months with my third pregnancy…
Lots of very weird, unexpected changes for sure, but definitely worth it!
I was a big girl, and got pregnant again right away, so it has been hard to document changes, but the one I notice the most besides weight gain and fresh stretch marks is that things inside feel different during naughty time with my husband. I can’t find the spots inside I used to be able to. My g spot is still there, but it is less sensitive than before and I have different types of orgasms than I used to.
Negatives: Peeing (all. the. time), weakened immune system (for the first couple of months), crazy PMS complete with extreme fatigue and insane mood swings, wider hips and bigger feet.
Positives: Increased endurance level, ripped arms (from carrying baby around), stronger hair and nails, happy heart!
3.5 years out, this is what it looks like to me:
The weirdest thing for me was growing a shoe size. Nobody told me feet could change size!
My weight definitely redistributed and I got “softer,” but also stronger. My breasts were already sagging so no big change there but I did go up a cup size permanently.
It took a long time for my hemorrhoids to resolve, but they did.
And yeah, I have major biceps now thanks to the twins, not to mention pushing a double stroller uphill. (The latter is also good for post C-section rehab!)
My twins just turned 3. They were born 3 months premature, probably as a result of the horrible hyperemesis that came close to killing all 3 of us. After throwing up 30-70x/day, I still vomit at the drop of a hat. Many of the food aversions I had at that time remain. However–I still love cake batter milkshakes; they were the only thing I could tolerate.
One thing that I’ve experienced that I have seen on here yet is slowing down. Like I literally don’t move as fast as I used to. Sure, if I think about it I can walk quickly but if I don’t put conscious thought into it, I don’t walk nearly as fast as I used to. I bike commute and I’m riding pretty slowly and I’m sure it’s not all due to the weight of the breast pump I’m lugging. I don’t even shower as fast as I used to. I don’t get ready for work as fast as I used to (with the baby still asleep). I had to start moving slowly once I got pregnant because with the joint changes, I just couldn’t move quickly. There’s also the increased cardiac output and related shortness of breath that doesn’t help in the speed department. Now that I’m 15 months post-partum, and my joints are long-since all back to normal, I still am slow. I’m not quite sure why this but it is.
Aside from my skin going to hell,(I never had acne, and now in my late 30’s I have facial acne frequently),I often get yeast infections. I never had one until I was pregnant with my daughter (lucky I know), but now I will get one ever other to ever third month. I asked my Dr about it, and her respond was hormonal changes from the pregnancy combined with my “advanced maternal age” equals more likely to get yeast infections……lovely eh?
I’m really prone to YIs also, the ONE thing I’ve found that works for curing/preventing them is getting a compounding pharmacist to make you up some boric acid capsules. They’re usually anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar each, I generally get, say, 20 or 30 at a time. Insert one vaginally before bed every night for 4-7 days to get rid of an infection; to keep them from coming back, just insert one once a week before bed as a preventative measure.
It works really well and, I find, is less irritating than traditional antifungals.
I did not change significantly after my first baby girl. I am a petite person and I only gained 22 pounds. Lady parts went back almost to normal, no muscle weakness problems, no stretch marks and I got my flat “two pack” abs back within a few months. Had a little harder time losing weight after my second girl when I gained a whopping 35 pounds but it did come off within a year and again, no muscle changes or stretch marks. I am 36 weeks pregnant with my third and probably final baby. I have so far avoided stretch marks once again, am still jogging 2-3 miles a day and have gained 20 pounds. As for the stretch marks, I cake myself in extra virgin coconut oil daily. Not just on the belly, but on my hips, thighs and boobs. I have noticed that I feel looser in the vagina than I ever have before, but I wonder if this is not so much from birthing two babes, but rather from nearing age 30 combined with being very pregnant.
I was reading some comments and so many had their feet grow or have wider hips. That is pretty facinating that bones can change like that long after puberty. I wonder if some people grow an inch or so? That would be wonderful!
While I was pregnant I swore up and down I grew an inch taller because I felt like I towered over everyone, but right before I gave birth I asked to be measured and was still the same height as always, it was almost disappointing.
Man, I wish I knew how old the people replying are. In my head I’m reading “Oh, no huge problems!” and thinking “25”. And then reading the laundry list and thinking “ah…35”.
We’re trying to get pregnant, and I’m 39. I figure putting it off this long means my chances of getting something similar to my current body back are slim.
This was really great to read – thanks for the post and the replies!
While I will say that something in your body is going to change and stay changed when you have a baby, I wouldn’t say that you can’t get back to what you were. I know plenty oh mom’s in their late 30’s early 40’s who got their “pre-baby” body back. I’m sure for some people genetics help like crazy, but diet and exercise really do help a lot.
I am smaller than before I was pregnant with bigger breasts. I had noticeable stretchmarks in my hips, breasts and lower stomach…all faded within the first 6 months PP. My hips hurt if I carry my baby too long now. Sex can be uncomfortable at times but I am more sensitive now. Don’t let anyone scare you! I LOVE my postpartum body and I have always had body image issues.
At 3 months post-partum I lost a lot of hair over a 2 – 4 week period. A LOT. So now, 11 months later, I have all this weird “baby hair” re-growth poking out all over my head.
Also, I was huge into Ashtanga yoga pre-pregnancy, and now find that I can’t do back-bends as easily as I once could but am excelling at arm balances.
And the cavity thing. I was shocked that I could go 32 years without a cavity and then boom. 6 fillings.
Ah yes, the baby hair — me too! Especially around my face.
After two babies, one born vaginally and one via cesarean, I can truthfully say that my body is COMPLETELY different from before. If it hadn’t changed with the first, it did with the second.
I had second degree lacerations with my first, and I’ve been told my multiple Dr.s that the Dr. that sewed me up didn’t do a very good job. I have random little pieces of vaginal lining hanging out and instead of closing up nice and neatly in my labia, now it’s just a gaping hole. I know, pleasant. I was told it could be fixed upon delivery of another baby…but my second didn’t come out that way, so now it’s just something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. That’s probably the most upsetting of all that’s changed for me.
Everything else is normal postpartum fun. Saggy belly, stretch marks from nipples to ankles, flat butt (seriously haha). None of that stuff really bothers me. Not even the pain I still have in my cesarean scar, 9m later. My husband has been great about letting me know that he still finds me attractive despite not looking anything like the girl he married. 🙂
Not that I know much about medical matters, but if it really bothers you and is financially within reach, you could probably get the issues with your vulva/vagina fixed surgically even without a vaginal birth?
Biggest change is what I call “the goosh”– where I used to have a curvy but fairly firm belly is now all gooshy! Which means that jeans don’t ever fit the way I want them too. But I haven’t done a lick of exercise in the nine months since the birth, so there’s that. The incontinence thing flared up when I got a really bad cough…definitely made me kick the kegels into high gear.
Also, I think my balance is a bit off from what it used to be. I’ve lost all the weight so can’t blame that…I’ve just noticed that there’s a difference.
My feet grew a size! I was a 7.5 before, but during the pregnancy i could barely fit into an 8.5, about 5 months pp i went down to an even 8.
My areolas doubled in size and deepened in color. I thought it would be a temporary thing, but my daughter is 5 now- and i’m pretty sure it’s permanent. Same thing with the nipples. They used to be a very light color, now they are bright pink!
My hair lost it’s curl. I used to have super curly natural ringlets. During the pregnancy, my hair grew coarse and limp barely a wave. After the baby, it got much much thinner- i was losing at least 200 hairs a day, and it became fine and frizzy- can’t hold a curl at all.
My eyesight also got instantly worse. I went from being slightly near-sighted where i didn’t need to wear glasses day to day, to having to wear them or else i couldn’t see anything 4 feet away – all within the space of 3 months post partum.
I also have the standard squishy, hangy, aprony belly, crazy stretch marks all over that are faded and white but offer interesting texture to my skin, wider hips, bigger but saggy breasts, etc.
Isn’t motherhood fun?
Kiddo is 11 months old today, and I honestly don’t feel much different than I did before I got pregnant. I’ve always been fat (not just chubby, but fat) and weigh about 5 pounds more this morning than I did the morning I found out I was pregnant. My boobs have never been particularly perky. I was one of the odd pregnant women who didn’t get stretch marks from pregnancy. My episiotomy was sore for a few months, but is fine now. Hubby reports, as do I, that everything “feels the same” during sex. I do still cross my legs when I sneeze, but I no longer pee myself when I laugh or run as I did for the first few months. It amazes me that my body could go through such change in a short amount of time and seem the same.
The most surprising for me was when my hair started falling out in clumps about 3 months after giving birth. I have fairly thin hair, and I had gotten so used to my thicker pregnancy hair that I was sad to lose it. That’s only a short-term change, my hair went back to normal after a few more months.
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