As if the stress of having a newborn baby isn’t enough, our bodies go through a myriad of physical changes after birth. This isn’t meant to dissuade any would-be Moms from having a child. However, you should be warned that losing the baby weight will be the least of your worries. If you’re currently going through the post-partum phase with me, my sympathies, friend. Do your pregnant girlfriends a favor and let them know what to expect. These are the most common postpartum woes and the best solutions I can offer for tackling the challenges. Feel free to lament along with me in the comments.
Shortly after giving birth, you will wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you peed the bed. You will sweat THAT MUCH. Luckily, these “night sweats” generally go away after a week or two. They are your body’s way of rinsing out the hormones that helped grow that little bundle of joy and caused tremendous annoyance of all your husband’s habits. A handy extra set of PJs and a waterproof mattress cover are not cures, but they will offer a little peace of mind and comfort if the baby that woke you allows you to get back to sleep.
Sadly, stretch marks are another unfortunate maternity side-effect without a cure. I managed to escape my first pregnancy unscathed because my baby arrived five weeks early. The second baby and the additional 15 pounds of weight gain in my third trimester left a deep set of red, fiery marks. I probably would have benefitted from a preventative moisturizer, but I thought I had aced the genetic lottery and couldn’t be affected after my first pregnancy. Now I’m using Mederma and exercise for my treatment plan. I diligently applied Mederma for 6 weeks and saw some noticeable lightening of my battle scars. I fell off the wagon, but the scars are still going down even with infrequent use. *Bonus* : the Mederma website has a coupon for $4 off a bottle.
Around three months post-birth, your luscious, flowing, pregnancy locks will begin to flatten. To make matters worse, all that beautiful hair ends up everywhere. This is the time to make an appointment with your trusty hair stylist. Better yet, book a date night after your cut so you have a chance to show off the perfectly styled coif.
Breastfeeding or not, you are likely to experience pains of some sort. With support and encouragement, breastfeeding can be one of the most rewarding ways to nourish your baby so seek out a local group or connect with Moms online. Listen to your body’s cues and use cool or hot therapy to get through the rough phases. Cold compresses will take the edge off weaning pains, while a hot shower does wonders to work out the kinks for a nursing Mom.
No matter how small your little peanut clocks in, the shift of weight from your belly to your arms can result in serious strain on your back. You can do strength training exercises (low weight/high rep) in advance to help prepare your body. The best post-baby remedy is a massage. You deserve it! Also, if you are babywearing and experiencing back pain, check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you’re loading your baby correctly.
So, now you know the worst of what to expect when you’re done expecting. Every minute you spend with your little one will make up for the tremendous strain our bodies endure. Motherhood is worth all the woes, except the stretch marks. I’m a little bitter about those, Audrey.