4 ways your body changes after pregnancy
I have been working with new moms for the extent of my career, and there are definitely some themes among new mamas:
- You are exhausted all the time (how could you not be with that little sleep??)
- You feel guilty when you take time for yourself (if you ever do)
- You start to learn that your body is not the same body it was before pregnancy (I mean.. you did just grow a human inside you.. no big deal)
I want to address each of these points separately
Firstly, the exhaustion that you’re feeling is inevitable. You are sleeping less, worrying more, and have an infant that needs your constant attention. There are some things you can do to increase your energy naturally. 1 is getting your body moving daily (even walking is super helpful), and the other is supporting your body to create energy! B vitamins are king here. You should still be taking your prenatal vitamin, which will have B vitamins, but a higher dose B Complex (AOR makes a good one) may be necessary (tip: never take on an empty stomach or it will cause nausea). A food that is super high in B vitamins is bee pollen! You can eat about a quarter sized amount in your hand, or throw it into a shake! Shakes are excellent for getting a large amount of nutrients into you without too much effort!
Secondly – the guilt thing – has got to stop! Have you ever heard that saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? How can you possibly raise a child on an empty gas tank! Take care of your needs first, so that you have the life force to take care of your baby! Use any support systems you have access to (spouse, family, friends, nap times). Take at least 10 minutes to yourself 3 times a day to do something for you. Exercise, have a snack, make a phone call, drink some tea, meditate, go for a walk.. whatever makes you happy and energized… do that!
Lastly, I want to talk about a few really important ways in which your body can change after pregnancy and why they are important to consider before getting back into exercise post-birth.
- Your body will be high in the hormone relaxin, which prepares you for childbirth. This makes injuries like rolled ankles very common. Do your balance work to counter the effects of this, and pay attention to your ever changing body.
- Hormones take about a year to stabilize after giving birth, which will effect how you feel and look. Give your body time to stabilize, stay consistent with exercise and good nutrition, and you will eventually feel like yourself again.
- Diastasis Recti, also known as abdominal separation is very common. Doctors rarely speak to you about this. To check for it, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, and hold a crunch by lifting your head off the ground. If you can feel a dip between your muscles in the midline of your abdominal muscles (anything wider than 1 finger width), you must be very careful when performing abdominal exercises. Sit-ups are a big no no. There are lots of ways you can work on your abs without aggravating the separation. Work with a trainer who is comfortable working with diastasis.
- Your bladder may be much weaker after giving birth since your baby has been sitting on top of it for the last 40 weeks. Jumping may be next to impossible without your bladder letting go. Take your time getting back into impact exercises. Your body needs time to heal.
This may all seem very overwhelming, but in general, listen to your body, stay consistent, and most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself!
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about this article or my services as a Holistic Health Coach!