Postpartum Bellies

Postpartum Bellies

Growing a baby is tough work!

It is no secret that a woman’s body can change after giving birth. When it comes to our bellies, some women find that they end up looking way different than before. After all, a new life was grown in them.

I am here to give another reminder that we are still beautiful!

What may happen to our bellies after childbirth

Many women have changes happen to their midsection after getting pregnant and giving birth. Some women out there are lucky enough to look exactly the same afterwards, but most do not fall in this category. That is perfectly okay!

Here are the ways that childbirth can alter the appearance of a woman’s midsection:

  1. Can cause diastasis recti- This is when the large abdominal muscles separate after giving birth. There will appear to be a bulge in the middle of the belly of the person that ends up with it.
  2. Stretch marks- Getting these can be caused by genetics and/or a high amount of weight gain.
  3. Loose and/or wrinkly skin- This is caused by the stretching of the skin that occurred during the pregnancy in order to grow the baby.
  4. Discoloration- Giving birth can lead to discolored skin that can last a long time in some cases.

These changes that women can end up with, may be really upsetting. Some report feeling ugly, fat, disgusting etc. Many also worry that their partners do not find them attractive anymore.

What can be done about post-child (or children) bellies

Some women may want to change the way their postpartum bellies look. Here are some ways that this can be achieved:

  1. Stay healthy and active- This is important in general!
  2. Healthy weight loss- Do not try to lose weight too fast after giving birth. This may cause even worse loose/wrinkly skin and stretch marks.
  3. Tummy tuck/surgical repair- This may help improve the appearance of diastasis recti and loose skin. The cost range for this type of surgery is $6,000-$12,000.
  4. Laser therapy- This may improve the appearance of stretch marks. It can cost $2,000 and up.
  5. Microneedling- This may improve the appearance of stretch marks. It can cost up to $4,500.
  6. Creams- There are creams that are made for improving the appearance of stretch marks and firming up loose skin. They may contain ingredients such as CoQ10, elastin, alpha hydroxy acids, collagen, DMAE and retinol. The cost can range from $10-$140+.

My post-child belly

Me and my weird Shein pajama set.

 I gained around 25 pounds during pregnancy which is pretty average. Throughout the months, I put on Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark cream all over my belly in hopes that I would not be left with any stretch marks afterwards.

Unfortunately, stretch marks showed up the very last two weeks of my pregnancy. I already had some stretch marks from puberty, so it was disappointing that I was going to have more.

I was still extremely excited to meet our son though!

After giving birth, the skin on my belly turned completely black. It was shocking. I was told it was normal for brown skinned women, but it was still unwanted.

In addition to the stretch marks and hyperpigmentation, I was also left with loose and wrinkly skin. I felt really ugly. Fortunately, my husband was really nice about it and said that it would look better in time.

He was right!

After my gradual weight loss and getting back into shape, my belly started to look a lot better. The stretch marks reduced in color and the hyperpigmentation went away.

I still have a little bit of loose and wrinkly skin on the lower part of my abdomen, but I can truthfully say that I am okay with it. No plastic surgery is wanted!

Our bellies have been through a lot!

It is totally normal to have a different looking belly after having children. We are not gross because of this. It can be hard to see it that way, but it is important to try. Doing things to improve the way our bellies look is only part of the equation.

Thanks for reading!

Pictures of postpartum bellies: https://www.boredpanda.com/women-after-giving-birth-postpartum-bodies-takebackpostpartum/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Stretch mark products: https://www.azhealthyfamilies.org/stretch-marks/creams/

How I Lost My Baby Weight

How I Lost My Baby Weight

A lot of women are concerned about their bodies after pregnancy and how they will lose the weight they gained. I was one of these women. Fortunately, I ended up getting the body that I wanted afterwards and I know other women can too.

To be honest, I was not at the weight and shape that I wanted to be at when we had our surprise pregnancy. This worried me because I knew that weight gain during pregnancy was inevitable. So that meant even more weight to get off after I gave birth.

Although it took me a while to lose weight (my snap-back was slow!), I still accomplished my goal of getting a nice figure back. I wanted to do a post about it and maybe help other women who are trying to get pregnant, are currently pregnant or just gave birth.

Shortly before pregnancy

I didn’t weigh myself due to past eating disorder struggles. I do know though that I was a little out of shape and softer than I like to be. Not to say that I was exactly huge or anything.

At that time, I was pretty much eating pure junk. I did not watch any calories, sugars, carbs or fats. My favorite thing to eat was puppy chow and I would eat a LOT of it when it was around.

I was eating bad and exercising four times a week until around a month before I found out I was pregnant. Shortly before that positive pee stick, I started embarking on a journey to live a healthier life.

I began to eat better and started a more intense exercise program (called War Room Strategies). My goal was to start losing some fat so that my body could look better

Once I found out I was pregnant, that could no longer be my goal.

Weight gain and exercise during pregnancy

I did experience bad evening sickness from weeks 10-17. After that it was smooth sailing. I ended up eating more than I should have for a while.

My weight gains pretty much stopped at around 28 weeks. I started eating better at that time so I am guessing that is the reason.

I don’t recall doing formal workouts while pregnant in all honesty. My job of working as a float in a daycare seemed like enough exercise to me. If I were to get pregnant again I will definitely keep up with my regular exercising.

I gained a total of 28 pounds during the pregnancy.

No weight loss through breastfeeding

I had planned on breastfeeding, so I thought that that was going to help me lose all the weight. It was only until a week after I gave birth that I found out that having tuberous breasts may make it difficult to breastfeed.

In my case I barely made any breast milk at all despite pumping and putting my son on my breasts a lot. Losing weight through breast-feeding was definitely not going to happen.

I had to put in some hard work without the aid of burning calories from breastfeeding.

What I did to lose weight and get in shape

I wanted to start exercising and watching my calories right away. My motivation to get healthier and fitter was strong. There was no stopping me!

I only lost about 12 pounds right after giving birth, so I had some work to do. My abdomen area also turned pitched black. I was worried it was going to stay that way.

Here is a list of things I did to lose weight:

1. Bodyweight workouts to start- A couple days after giving birth I decided to start a bodyweight workout regimen. This was to just get back into the swing of things due to me not working out during my pregnancy. I combined these workouts with some cardio as well.

2. Pregnancy Pilates- Along with the bodyweight workouts, I also did a post-natal Pilates workout DVD (see here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Pilates-Post-Pregnancy-Susan-Moran-Perich/dp/B00020VZYS/ref=sr_1_53?keywords=pregnancy+postnatal+pilates&qid=1580059766&sr=8-53). This felt so refreshing to do. I highly recommend it or other DVDs like it to other women who have given birth recently.

3. Calorie counting- I decided to watch the calories that were going into my mouth! That is the most effective way to lose weight. I stayed at 1400 calories for a while.

4. Weightlifting- I started weightlifting after a few weeks of doing bodyweight workouts. I went to two lower body days and two upper body days. I lifted as heavy as I could.

Admittedly, my results were slow. My body only started changing when my son was eight weeks old.

After six months, my body was pretty much back to being acceptable to me. The darkness on my abdomen even went away! I was elated.

My body currently

My body looks even better now five years after giving birth. This is due in part to my consistent workouts and intermittent fasting.

My pre-pregnancy jeans are loose on me surprisingly enough. My lower abdominal area has some extra skin and wrinkles, but it doesn’t bother me that much.

I don’t have a perfect body, but I am learning to love myself regardless. My hope is that other women can get to that point too!

Tips for other mothers

I am not an expert in losing weight or anything like that. All I am trying to do is be of help to other mothers out there.

Here are some tips I came up with:

1. Don’t compare yourself- Everyone’s body is unique. Some women may get their pre-pregnancy body back sooner. Some women get it back slower.

2. Enjoy your baby- It is fine to want to start losing weight/getting back into shape, but you should also try to enjoy your new baby. Take a balanced approach to your life.

3. Do it the healthy way- Losing weight should be done in a healthy manner. This is especially true if you want to keep it off for as long as possible. Don’t go crazy by severely restricting your calories, exercising like crazy, taking diet pills etc.

4. Be realistic- Our bodies go through a lot of changes during pregnancy. We might not have the same exact shape as we did before. This means that our pre-pregnancy pants and/or tops may not fit the same even if we have lost the weight.

5. Try not to mourn- Don’t dwell on the body you used to have. Look to the future! You can still have a great looking body even if it is a little different.

6. Get some new clothes- Having nice looking clothes that fit your post-pregnancy body will make you feel a lot better about yourself.

In summary

Our bodies may change after giving birth. It can be hard to accept at first but over time, self-love can be achieved. The best thing to do is stay healthy.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have anything to add to this topic, let me know!

#pregrancy #weightloss #fitness #calories #breastfeeding #postpartum #motherhood