If you just had a baby — or if you’re preparing to have one sometime soon, you might be wondering what kinds of changes you can expect for your body. Even though everyone is different and everybody can expect different results after pregnancy, there are a few universal experiences that might be shared among many people. If you’re curious about some of the changes you are experiencing — or might be soon — here are some of the questions and concerns you can expect.
Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?
This is one of the most common surprises that’s been becoming a lot less taboo in recent years. The harmful and misguided idea of “baby weight” has been around for years, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that everyone wears it differently. Specifically, some women are surprised to find that they still hold a bit of a pregnancy belly, even after giving birth. Of course, your shape and how you feel in your body will be different from person to person, and even from week to week after you give birth, so you might notice that it takes a bit for your belly to shift or change from what it looked like during pregnancy.
Aside from nursing, there are a variety of breast changes you might notice after you give birth. Similar to the way your breasts change during the process of pregnancy itself, your breasts may also change after giving birth. Additional sensitivity, tenderness and even changes in shape may occur. Of course, it varies from person to person, but you can expect some of those changes, especially if they’ve occurred throughout your pregnancy.
Soreness Down There
You may be privy to some of the expectations for being sore after giving birth, but it will likely be a different experience for everyone. Especially if you’ve opted for a C-section or if you had a natural birth — as those things can result in extremely different sensations. Either way, you may notice a distinct soreness down there, which can last a while. Keep an eye on it and check in with your doctor regularly to keep things in check.
Along with the soreness, you may also experience bleeding after you give birth. This can sometimes be a painful experience, but some people describe feeling nothing more than mild period cramps. For some people, the bleeding can last longer than one might expect so having heating pads and sanitary napkins around can be a lifesaver. Some people even prefer to put pads in the freezer in order to soothe some of the pain.
When Can I Have Sex Again?
This is one of the biggest questions that many people ask about giving birth. Obviously, it varies from person to person, as each person has their own needs and medical specifics that impact their experience. However, most professionals advise waiting at least four to six weeks after delivery to have sex again, regardless of the delivery method. Even if you feel fine afterwards, it’s important to wait just to make sure. Alternatively, it may also take longer before you feel ready to have sex again. Listen to your body and your doctors.
When Will My Period Come Back?
Not that anybody is necessarily longing to have their menstrual cycle again, but you may notice that after you give birth, your period stops, slows or gets later. Regardless, you might wonder when it returns to normal. This will likely be different for every person, but overall, you can expect that your period will come back in about eight weeks if you aren’t breast-feeding, but could stay away as long as you’re nursing.
Just like the changes that can occur when you get pregnant, giving birth can also impact the other elements of your body. You may notice that your skin either clears up or breaks out after you have your baby. These changes might last a while, but they can also go away within a few weeks.
Similar to the point above, fatigue is another bodily change that you might be experiencing is additional fatigue. Of course, you may be experiencing fatigue as a result of your new baby having arrived, but don’t be surprised if it feels extra draining in a physical way — labor takes a lot of physical effort, as you likely know, and your body requires rest.
Post-Pregnancy Changes In the Body
Having a baby can be an extremely unique physical experience. After pregnancy, there are a variety of changes that you might notice in your body, and even though everybody is unique, there are some universal elements that you can prepare for. Have you noticed any of these changes after giving birth?