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?
Ive had a lot of the above but I want to do a positive change–sex is SO much better! And our sex life was already amazing but wow. It’s like my anatomy shifted and orgasms instantly come my way 🙂
It’s been 7 months since I had my daughter. My body seems to have escaped relatively unscathed. I only gained 2 or 3kg over the entire pregnancy [I lost about 10kg in the first half]
I have stretch marks across my belly, but they don’t really bother me much and it’s a little saggier than before. My boobs never got bigger and are only slightly saggy…although I have lost almost all feeling in my nipples [still breastfeeding so that might have some impact on that].
I had a second degree tear and had a mild pain for the first few months and I haven’t got back all sensation down there yet but I’m sure over time it will come back.
Some things seem to have happened in a weird order though! I got hemorrhoids when she was 3 months old and now at 7 months old, I’ve started to get sciatic nerve pain! Weird.
Overall though I’m happier with my body than I was pre pregnancy. I have an amazing daughter who is the reason that my body is slightly pudgier, saggier and bouncier than before…pretty good trade off in my opinion. 🙂
First up: I have chronic medical conditions, specifically Hypermobility Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, as well as a severe lumbar lordosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ve had the symptoms since I was 12, diagnosed at 14 (IBS only diagnosed recently but the symptoms had been there for a long time), had my first successful pregnancy at 18 and second at 20 due to a misdiagnosis of early infertility. I’m 24 now, and we’re thinking about trying for a third. I am very lucky to be able to control my health problems through diet and moderate exercise.
– I’m now a healthy weight! (Used to be underweight)
– I’m more resilient. I’m tired and sore all of the time, but my really sick days have almost disappeared.
– My period is much lighter and is a lot less painful, it’s also fairly regular for the first time ever. 😀
– I used to catch every virus going around, and then be sick for weeks. I’d have a UTI every time that I had my period. Now, I’m hardly ever sick and it’s very rare for me to develop a secondary bacterial infection.
– I have a bum and hips, and they look amazing!
– I did have a labial tear with my first birth, but the slight notch that was left behind adds character. It might sound silly, but I actually like my interesting little scar.
– I didn’t end up with a ‘pooch’ like I thought I would.
My body REALLY hated me after my son was born! Lol, although over the last 4 years I’ve simply learned to deal with the uncomfortable changes! After childbirth, I developed IBF (for those that don’t know, that’s irritable bowel syndrome). It also took 4 yrs to finally be able to sneeze without having to think “oh crap, gotta cross the legs and squeeze” so I didn’t pee myself. But none of that matters, my body is of no concern, because I have a healthy sweet little boy (I say healthy cause of complications)! Soooo screw pooch, sagging, and stretch marks! It’ll b a reminder for me in the yrs to come of what I got in return <3!!
Now that my son is 2, my body seems pretty much unscathed (this is one reason I may not have another, haha). I took care of myself when I was pregnant and I never got stretch marks, lost all the weight in a reasonable amount of time, etc. I wore a bikini when he was 2 months old – not that my body is fabulous, but I was comfortable enough not to hide anything. The things I remember the most are:
1) My tailbone is STILL not where I left it pre-birth. It’s definitely feeling more normal now, but for like the first year, I couldn’t sit on a floor cross-legged comfortably.
2) I did lots of kegels while I was pregnant but I still didn’t feel secure while running, etc that I wouldn’t pee on myself for quite a few months
3) Boobs – if you’re planning on breastfeeding, plan on wearing a nursing bra until your baby weans. I’m still wearing a nursing bra. Oh and plan on your man wanting to touch them. All the time.
4) Cellulite seems to accumulate on me faster now that I’ve procreated. That’s probably more to do with not having any time to exercise, but still, I’m throwing it in.
5) Sleep loss and the stress of parenting may take it’s toll. For me, that equals gray hair and a few small wrinkles. No one in my family got gray hair until well into their 40s, and I spotted my first patch at 28.
So it really doesn’t have to be so bad, and it’s different for everyone I’m sure. The benefits definitely outweight the negatives 🙂
I’m actually thinner than pre-preg – I totally attribute this to bfing. My boobs are not as perky, but the rest is the same (just smaller).
One thing no one tells you about is constipation. I had it in the worst way since my first trimester until about 3 months pp. With the accompanying hemorrhoids. I swear, trying to pass a bm during those months was worse than the actual labour.
I came through pretty much unscathed (I’m 28) except for slightly looser skin on my belly– but it still looks toned– weirdness around my belly button (it wants to flip out sometimes), toned arms from lugging around my baby, and awesome breastfeeding boobs (for now!). I was actually unprepared for my body to look and feel this good 7 months post-partum, because I think people share the horror stories more than the good ones… it sounds douchey to talk about looking fine giving birth. That, plus I know I’m just lucky– a lot of this comes down to genes. (I did run, swim or bike throughout all of my pregnancy and since giving birth, which also helped I think.)
Pregnancy actually has made me appreciate things about my body that I never really liked before. For example, I never really liked my small A-B cup boobs, but they mean that breastfeeding has only made me go up to a nice C. I wasn’t crazy about my wide ribcage or long torso, but I think they both helped me be a lot more comfortable while I was hugely pregnant and the long torso now means I can easily nurse in all kinds of baby carriers.
my belly is really soft, and still covered in stretch marks. i had a c-sec and i have a numb patch that’s about 4cm high and runs the length of the scar.
oh, and i used to have a really round bum, and it’s gone kind of flat.
i’m cool with these changes – they are just evidence of the amazing things my body did 🙂
I noticed some positive body changes post baby. First of all, when my menstruation finally came back, the dibilitating cramps I’ve battled since puberty were gone. Before, I was useless for the first two days of my period – in bed, vomiting, doubled over in pain. Now, it’s just not an issue. Secondly, I think I experienced reverse Post Partum Depression. The whole time I was pregnant, I was a mess. Then, for about 18 months, my depression and anxiety waned. Now, it seems to have come back with a vengence, but thankfully I’m getting help for that. Having been diagnoses with several mental issues before getting pregnant, I was terrified that having a baby would exacerbate the problems. It was a pleasant and whollly unexpected suprise when I didn’t emotionally fall to pieces after the baby. With regard to C-sections, I fought against that tooth and nail for many reasons (scarring, fear of needles, healing issues). It turned out that was the safest option in the end though and it really wasn’t so bad either. I told the doctor that I had some concerns about the incision healing, so instead of stapling me, which is the normal thing, they gave me some kind of fancy one thread stitch (which apparently is what Britney Spears got, so they told me). As a result, my scar is barely visable – another plus. I can’t say I have any negative body changes since all my body issues are weight related and I gained a grand total of six pounds while pregnant. All this to say, sometimes, it’s not so bad. Don’t worry too much. 🙂
To be perfectly honest, and I know my experience isn’t typical, but I really didn’t have much in the way of physical changes– I weighed, a week after I gave birth, the same as the day I conceived (although, to be fair, I lost 15 pounds in my first trimester, and had a hard time putting weight on through most of my third trimester, so there you go– and I’d much rather have gained that weight than have had my baby go into distress and nearly die in the birth).
My boobs are about the same, maybe a little saggier, but I expect they’ll tighten up, if only a bit, as weaning progresses.
Really, the only change I’ve noticed is that I have a hard time using tampons now because they tend to get pushed out more easily. Sex doesn’t feel any better or worse for me, although my husband said at the six-week mark after the birth that it was actually better than it had been, and I’ve recently been told that, if I’m any evidence, society is wrong about your sexual capacity being completely ruined after vaginal birth.
So, I just wanted to share my story, because it really doesn’t have to have any major, long-term physical effects, and I don’t think I’m a *total* freak for it.
Well, okay, I will say that I had some meralgia paresthetica in my left leg starting in my second trimester, and that’s still there, albeit only very, very midly. And for about three months postpartum, my pubic bone was still really wobbly, so it got sore if I ran or jumped or anything vigorous like that.
I never expected it, but I feel like I’ve actually shrunk since giving birth (compared to my pre-pregnancy body). Most of my pre-preg pants are too big on me, and I’m needing to buy pants and shirts one size smaller than I used to. I even went from wearing a 36 bra to a 34. It’s weird. I don’t know if it’ll change again once I stop breastfeeding.
While my body has changed some, what I am super bummed about is that my beautiful curls have loosened dramatically. I spent so much of my life coming to terms with my hair, and now that I LOVE being a curly girl, it just doesn’t curl so well. I’m hoping that baby # 2 will change that.
Funny: pregnancy made my stick-straight hair wavy for the first time in my life. It’s stayed that way, too.
Wasn’t this a question on what changed that wasn’t surface value? Im more interested in mind, spirit, etc from other readers as well… we all know what saggy boobs and stretch marks are like.
No, the question is very clearly about BODIES. She clarifies about wanting not just “surface (stretch marks, acne, etc.)” — but she’s still asking about bodies.
I think it was geared more towards internal physical changes other than weight gain and stretch marks and what not. Perhaps questioning what c-section complications and vaginal changes might come about? People have covered pretty much everything in the replys.
I’m 4 months post c-section, so my body is still changing. My stretch marks are slowly fading. I’m gradually losing weight but still have a noticeable ‘pudge’ around my lower abdomen. Most of my pre-baby clothes don’t fit, which is really frustrating. I have an incision scar but it’s not as prominent as I thought it would be; just looks like a thin blue line. I still have numb spots around that area. My boobs are bigger. I’ve been experiencing some constipation since giving birth, but stool softeners seem to help.
Everybody’s body is unique and responds to pregnancy differently. I felt incredibly beautiful and sexy during my pregnancy and then post partum was incredibly challenging. My body and my life was in a huge transition and that was really emotional. I think one of the things I had to realize was that I wasn’t going to return to the same person physically or emotionally that I was prior to the birth of my daughter, and that was ok. My body was still changing every day and so was my identity and that was ok. I’m a sex educator and feminist porn director and performer and in order to keep income coming in for our family I had to get back to work about 6 weeks postpartum. It was work that I loved for a company that I adore but getting naked in front of the camera 40 lbs heavier with leaky boobs and stretchmarks was terrifying. But at the same time it helped me to realize that this body is mine and its beautiful, shifting and changing and rediscovering my transitioning body into mommy body. I didn’t hide from my body but confronted it and honored it in all of its post birth glory. It was very powerful for me. I highly encourage women to pick up a camera and take some nude self portraits of themselves post partum just for your own personal viewing. Afterward I heard from several moms that saw my post partum portraits online and let me know that it empowered them to embrace their new mommy bodies and how beautiful and sexy the photos were and what confidence they exuded. Now I’m back down to a size 2. It took me about 9 months to loose all my baby weight. At about 4 months post partum my hair started shedding so I decided it was time to cut my long locks to a short pixie cut. It helped with my physical transformation and life transition. My stretch marks completely faded but I do have a little loose skin in my tummy region. But I’m loving my new mommy body. I want to continue to develop a healthier body but I realize that I should not aim for my pre mommy body. But I am looking forward to all of the transformations and changes that await me in the future and appreciating my present life, body, joys, and challenges.
I have to second the photograph idea. My husband wanted to work on his skills, so he took a photograph a week while I was pregnant, and so far all seven of my post-partum weeks. I would even recommend doing a boudoir shoot with a pro, get some shots that you can look back on and say “wow, look how hot I am.”
I am a *hyoooooj* fan of your work! I’m thrilled to see your input here. 🙂
My metabolism SLOOOOOOWED DOOOOOOOOOOWN. I used to be fit, now I am, well, not. And try as I may, it takes forever for me to lose a pound. That sucks.
Hair. Ugh, my hair is weird, it stopped growing in some places and started sprouting in others, maybe that’s just age though…
My boobs are pretty flat. I gained a lot of weight when I was preggers, even after taking it off, my boobs are completely different than they used to be.
And the peeing thing, if I gota go, I better go, otherwise I`ll leak!
I only had my daughter four months ago so I can’s speak to long term effects, but I can’t stand to wear shoes now! My feet got a size bigger, but even when I got new shoes in the correct size they just don’t feel right. Since I’m nursing right now my breasts are much bigger, but are all deflated after she has a big meal. Stretch marks everywhere (the worst ones are on my hips). I sweat waaay more and I smell differently than I used to pre-pregnancy. My abs are so weak I have trouble sitting up (hopefully that one will get better). And of course I have a lovely little flop of belly.
Honestly, my breasts are the only thing that changed about my body. They are huge and saggy and WAAAY closer to my belly button than my collarbone. I’m still nursing my 17 month old a few times a day…I have no idea what they will look like when we’re done. I was a 36C pre preg and a 36G seven months post partum. Now I’m down (ha) to a 36DDD. Ugh. The only other sign I was ever pregnant is my c-section scar. After reading the all the other comments, I have a new appreciation for how lucky I am.
The biggest change is your perception of your body! It has served a whole new purpose and if you’re breastfeeding, your body is still not really all yours yet.
And I can’t pinpoint what it is but my pre-pregnancy clothes just fit differently now. c’est la vie
My lady bits never look the same…. Not worse, just different. Especially if you carry a battle scar. Had a catheter? Your wee tube will look bigger for a while too.
I was always a cold blooded creature but I’ve definitely been a lot warmer since birth. I’d sit wrapped in a blanket during summer! :0) now I’m all about the tee shirts.
My skin became really dry and I sweated a lot more; especially my feet. Weird.
Going to the toilet post partum presents its own set of challenges but FYI, an orgasm a day does wonders for your pelvic floor. ;0)
I developed the appetite of a champion. More so then when I was preggo.
Oh, got the belly pooch.
Interesting thing is, I quite like all that stuff… I thought it’d hit me hard, I’m quite high maintenance about how I look, but you lose all your charms while giving birth and you come out the other side with a really shiny new sense of perspective.
Hmm I’ve had lots of changes, but none of them are drastic. I got stretch marks on my breasts at four months pregnant, the boobs went from a B to D, and droop a bit. I’m still nursing at six months out, and find I am impressed with what the boobs are capable of, so I don’t mind the changes. The nethers are the same. I had a planned c section. The scar is already fading. My belly button is a different shape than before. My joints are just now tightening up again. That’s about it for pregnancy/birth changes. As for afterwards, my appetite has skyrocketed. I often eat a snack at bedtime or when the tiny one wakes during the night.
And yesterday my friends commented on how muscular my arms look from all the baby lifting!
I also feel phantom baby kicks on a regular basis. Guess I’m just more aware of my physical self than I was before pregnancy.
Inside I feel about the same. I definitely don’t have the bladder of steel I used to. I had a c-section and definitely noticed that my ab muscles suck. They just don’t exist anymore.
Outside, my hips have widen and my back has a big curve in it now (I’m 5′ and went from 110 to 190 with one giant baby and a whole bunch of water… I was huge!!!). At 21, my boobs more like those of a 40 year old 🙁 I’m hoping they will return to normal. However I have really toned legs and bum from walking and carrying so much weight. Now that my toddler is 30lbs, I have super nice arms.
One thing I found weird, although it makes sense is that I have no feeling on the bottom of my stomach. I can poke and pinch it and I don’t feel a thing!
After my babies i have had some bladder issues;i dont have the sensation to go pee until its almost too late and im running. Just gotta make sure i go more often. I make sure to squeeze my kegals when i cough or sneeze so i dont leak. its just habit now. i have that mama tummy pooch im working on shrinking that! and of course the stretch marks. boobs are a little saggier now that im done breastfeeding. I was a C cup and went to DD when nursing. Back down to C but its not the same lol. Even tho baby #2 was done nursinging at 5months old i continued to lactate until i started working when she was 2 years old. My hips are wider and my feet are a little wider too. about half a size up. My lady bits are back to normal;im actually “tighter” than before or so my husband tells me. i dont think im much different tho was always ‘small’ down there anyway. I had 2nd degree tearing and i notice the scar tissue lacerates slightly after sex. no big deal just a sting when i first pee. Hair and skin are pretty much the same as before i was pregnant. i remember feeling really weak with my muscle tone but now that im working out more regularly i feel stronger. i feel phantom bubbles like when you first start feeling a baby kick. so weird lol. i broke out in acne after i had my kids due to hormones but i think its calming down now. my youngest is 2.5 years old. its taken a while to bounce back. i still have weight to take off but thats my own fault lol
On the outside: Some stretch marks, boobs aren’t as perky, abs separated and are still in the process of coming together, and my butt has deflated. All in all, I’m pretty stoked how things have turned out.
On the inside: I appreciate my body SO much more. Much less self hate than pre-pregnancy. I remember being bothered by my ‘pooch’ pre-pregnancy and now I’m just happy to fit into my old clothes again!
My sex life has also totally improved!! Something changed, got moved around, something… but oh man it feels so much better, and I ‘get there’ much more easily.
The self confidence and new found pleasure is TOTALLY worth a few stretch marks and deflated breasts.
It’s funny that by the medias’ standards my body looked ‘better’ before, but I love my body more now!
Today, 16 weeks after a drug-free delivery, the biggest difference for me is that my knees and feet ache. The worst is when waking in the middle of the night to breastfeed – I limp in pain!
Before and during pregnancy I was quite active, and I never had any joint pain. Now, I’m almost back in shape, almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I dread doing activities I used to love (like fast walking and yoga) because my knees and feet hurt so much. My feet are a little wider, so I’m looking for running/walking shoes that fit and that don’t hurt my newly sore joints.
I expected so many other bodily changes, but the biggest change, which is annoying because it’s preventing me from being as active as I’d like, was totally unexpected.