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?
9 weeks postpartum, my main complaint is feeling menopausal… like all of my estrogen and progesterone is GONE! Dry vagina, hurts when anything goes in there. I’m working with my acupuncturist to get my fertility back and hopefully things will go back to being juicy…
The biggest thing I noticed is HAIR. I get little hairs on my chin now that make me nuts and the hairs above my lip are much more noticeable. I also have this one wonky hair that grows from my right ariola (sp?). None of this existed prior to have a baby. On the bright side, the hair my head is utterly luxurious now. Yes, there was weight gain, followed by weight loss. Yes, there are (barely noticeable) stretch marks. Yes, the boobs are not as perky as they once were. But really it’s these odd little hairs that stand out to me and which I never heard anyone talk about getting or had any reason to anticipate.
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for posting this. I too am annoyed by these renegade chin and areola hairs!
Oh…this conversation is making me a little sad! I have always been a “normal” somewhat “curvy” girl and have never really liked my body. Basically, always trying to lose that extra 10 pounds. I am 30 weeks pregnant and it’s been an amazing experience for me. I love my body! I’ve had an extremely healthy pregnancy where I eat pretty much whatever I want without judgement for the first time in my life (mostly healthy stuff, some treats!) and my weight gain has been perfect–not too much, not too little. I feel curvy, sexy, feminine and gorgeous and my husband can’t get enough of me. Yes, I have had the normal pregnancy complaints like heartburn, insomnia, etc. but I feel like my body is the most awesome thing. I’ve even been inspired to pay more attention to how I dress, finding cute maternity clothes and wearing jewelry because I just love my body and what it is accomplishing. I never thought I’d be this person.
So, I’m actually worried about how I will feel when my body is no longer growing and nourishing my baby (although I guess technically it still will be with breast feeding), and all the post-baby sagging and stretch marks become a reality. Will I still feel that my body is awesome for all it accomplished, or will I be sad that I’m no longer round and fertile and sexy?
My son (my first) was born by c-section and is now 3 months. Pre-pregs I was 130lbs. I gained 35lbs during my pregnancy, and the weight gain treated me well in the sense that I looked like a slender woman smuggling a large basketball. At all times.
WEIGHT: a few pounds beyond original weight, this has came off gradually week by week due to constantly moving around, breast feeding, and smaller meals (NOT BY CHOICE! I MISS YOU FOOD!), my son seems to know exactly when the food is about to hit my lips. Boo.
Also, some of the tummy-ness has gone down due to my incision area swelling decreasing too. I would say this started around 2.5 months.
STRENGTH: Weak joints, more consistant lower back pain…all manageable though and it gets better over time, just gotta work through it.
STRETCH MARKS: Tiger stripes displayed on hips, thighs, breasts, and heiny. Some days they are hard to accept but THESE ARE MY TIGER STRIPES AND I EARNED THEM DAMNIT.
LE BOOBS: I barely rocked a B cup pre-pregs, so while my breasts are tiger striped out the ying yang from breastfeeding and engorgement, their already smaller size has proved beneficial in the droop department.
LADY FIGURE: Wider hips, little belly. This is growing on me for sure though, as I previously had a a boyish figure and it is so nice (to me) to feel womanly and have some curves. Hubs has always dug how I look, but loves the changes.
I have my days where the changes are challenging and I am a hot mess, but overall all good. Little one washes all those nasty negative feelings away with his smile.
Much love and positive kudos to all the mamas dealing with the changes. Be sure to cry it out when you need to, but always cut yourself some slack. Carrying, developing, and having a baby is insane and wonderful. Some walk away with little change, and some walk away with battle wounds and that’s ok because at the end of the day we are all beautiful mamas.
Stretch marks.. and loosing weight is a lot harder – I dont know if this is because of the pregnancy, or from having kids stressing me out.. haha
I have many of the same bodily changes as others on this comment thread, but I wanted to mention a few differences that, for me, are related to breastfeeding. My baby is 18 months old, still nursing roughly every three hours (day and night), and I still have the following side-effects of breastfeeding (some great, some awful):
– Perfect skin! No zits anywhere, oily spots, or blemishes of any kind.
– Thicker hair! About a third of it fell out three months postpartum, but it grew back thicker.
– Vaginal atrophy. I struggled to find any information about this despite consulting multiple doctors, midwives, lactation consultants, and other medical caregivers. Evidently the breastfeeding hormone prolactin inhibits estrogen production, and the low estrogen level (rarely) can cause the vulval and vaginal tissues to thin, making sexual contact extremely painful (think trying to rub something against the inside of your eyelid – it stings horribly!). Mild cases can be helped with lots of lube and estrogen supplements, but taking estrogen while breastfeeding is something I would not consider doing. Many people with this problem also wean their babies at least partially, allowing their menstrual cycles to resume and thereby even out the estrogen level a bit. The problem almost always resolves once menstruation resumes, but until I knew what was going on, I was terrified and depressed at the thought of never having a sex life again!
Overall, I have to say that I am proud of my body for making an incredible tiny person and then allowing me to feed her. I love my stretch marks and changed shape – it’s evidence that my body did something amazing. I also learned to stop looking for my former body when I put on old clothes or went shopping for new ones; I still look great, I just look great differently. 🙂
My abs split, and there is still a half inch gap in the middle of my abdominal wall. It kind of makes me look muscular though! I also tore down there and I am not as tight as I used too. It makes intercourse less pleasurable. I’m even considering surgery. It frustrates me, especially when I read that it might be the result of a medicated birth in which I was encouraged to push too hard and too fast, and wasn’t feeling anything because I had an epidural. I feel like our medical system doesn’t take the integrity of our body, including our sexual organs, into consideration enough when “delivering” our babies. But I guess that’s a whole other issue. Also, I otherwise cannot complain: breasts are almost the same (my nipples are a little darker and harder), zero stretch marks, same weight as before my babies (I nursed for two years each and exercise regularly though! No miracle here!). Good luck!
First time mom here. Those first few months I would have terrible night sweats from the hormones. I also have peed a little when laughing really hard or sneezing which never happened before. Keeping tampons in was also difficult once I got my period again. I switched to the diva cup and have had no problems since. Sadly, my breasts once I stopped breastfeeding (after 9.5 months) got smaller than before I was pregnant.
My kids are 5 and 2. After the first, my body mostly went back to the same weight and shape as before, but I ended up with a Morton’s neuroma (pinched nerve) in my foot that I eventually had surgically removed. That area still gives me daily pain (inflammation in the foot is hard to relieve, especially when chasing a toddler).
After the second, I gained 5 pounds and a belly pooch, and my breasts have definitely deflated. I wouldn’t mind as much if they were smaller, it’s just the wrinkles of loose skin that drive me nuts.
i feel you on this one! my boobs are like jello. my husband couldn’t help himself one night & commented on my then-enormous breasts back when i was still breast feeding, so i have a lot of insecurities now about my breasts. and it’s not like they’re small, either, just squishy & wrinkly!
Besides losing my butt completely, and having to buy all new jeans because the old ones swallowed my now booty-less frame, my biggest change is in my sex life. It’s hard to enjoy because all I’m thinking about is, “Don’t pee, don’t pee”. Barely anymore orgasms, and it’s frustrating the hubs. It’s hard to explain to him that it’s not his fault, but I just want to put it out there for others reading this.
Time to get one of these and stop worrying: http://offbeathome.com/2011/03/incontinence-pads-messy-sex
the color of my nipples & areolas changed from a light pink to a dark brown during my second pregnancy and have only somewhat lightened since then. my belly area below & next to my c-section scar doesn’t have much sense of feeling anymore. apparently i was experiencing gall bladder attacks toward the end of my pregnancy (my ob/gyn kept telling me it was due to my age – 40 – and waiting 10 years to have a second child!) and needed it removed within 6 weeks of birth….and that surgeon told me that 85% of his gall bladder patients were new mothers! i experienced gestational diabetes & gratefully my levels returned to normal within 48 hours of my daughter’s birth….and my incessant hunger! i was vitamin B deficient for years (took injections) and after baby….i no longer have that condition. my advice is get a through physical a few months after the birth & get blood work. my “post partum” hair loss ended up being extreme anemia…(which,at 7 months, has finally teetered and my hair has grown back!)
oh, and one more thing. ladies, if you have a c-section, don’t be surprised that you still look pregnant after the baby is born. with my first child (i gained 18lbs; she was 9.1lbs) i left the hospital not even thinking about my stomach; but with the second, i cried & cried (gained 23lbs; she was 9.9lbs) because i still looked pregnant. i’m not a conceited person to begin with, however being on the lager size to begin with & then still looking pregnant (while hormonal, sleep deprieved & in pain) when i was discharged (several days later) made me sad. i wanted my old clothes back, even if they were a size 20, and i had to wear maternity pants for a few weeks more.
Thanks to that awful anti-blood clot boot they made me wear after the C, I actually left the hospital bigger. Wasn’t super amused.
My bubs is 6 months in 2 weeks. I have found i am seriously lacking in energy, my back and feet hurt from lifting in all kinds of weird positions and my feet are a half size bigger! I am quite happy with the visual aspect of my body. I had an emergency c-section, and apart from numbness around my scar, it is healing well, and i loove my scar. weird?? I have good sized boobs now, a little bigger post pregnancy…YAY!! and am back to my normal weight. I still have the wobbly bits around my tummy, but hey,I can’t really complain, I just popped out a bubba! So yea, all good, apart from the lack of energy and sleep. It’s making each day a struggle and I will be seeing my GP regarding this.I dont even have the energy to take bubs to playgroup, which is a worry. 🙂
Oh, and i almost forgot the dreaded CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME! Thank goodness i suffer only occasionally now, during pregnancy i suffered chronically. I can’t tell you how painful it is, so as my fluid levels are going down, so has the symptons. PHEW!! 🙂
Im on my fifth child.just had her three weeks ago!!and im having headaches pains on the left side of my head .and not gettinv that much sleep what to do
My naval is not going inside since after child birh almost 2yrs now
Maybe I lucked out, but I also didn’t notice many changes after I healed. My son is 2 years old now, and I’m back in the same size clothes I wore before. My stomach isnt as flat as it used to be, but outside of clothes its not noticeable. Although my boobs did sag a little after a year of breastfeeding and I do have some stretchmarks, I think all that is pretty normal and expected. My lady parts actually became more symmetrical after birth and I have a newfound appreciation for what my body can do! I am about to experience my second pregnancy as a surrogate mother soon, and I am looking forward to it, along with all the changes that come with bringing life into this world 🙂
Oh! except my belly button looks weird, like more wrinkly or something..
You know how they say cup size doesn’t determines one’s ability to nurse?
Well, I took that as if you have big boobs to begin with there would be no need for them to grow so they won’t. Hahaha NO!
They went from DDD to an I and finally “shrank” to an H after I quit bf. Much to mine and the lady at the bra store amazement, they stayed nice and perky. Much to hubby’s disappointment, they are getting reduced for my 30th birthday present. He is haggling for 35…. Boys.
Hello everyone, I am a new mother and I am desperately to get my two month son to sleep through the night. Currently I am fortunate to have four hours sleep a night. Bless
After my drug-free, mama-centered delivery I felt like I’d conquered Everest! That pride and strength feeling never went away. I always judged and critiqued myself harshly before my baby was born, but now I can give myself so much more grace. I trusted my body to grow my baby, birth him, and feed him- my body came through in a big way! It’s earned some respect and positive feedback!
I will say I’m ok with my mommy body, I’m about the same weight after 4 babies but have a little extra skin and tiger stripes. I have also acquired an endocrine autoimmune disease thatcan be associated with the hormone rise and fall of being pregnant and giving birth! That’s about the worst part of my post baby body!
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