I’ve had a turbulent relationship with my body since first falling pregnant.
During my 20’s, my weight fluctuated and when I fell pregnant it surprised me how much my body changed.
My shape shifted and transformed into something I didn’t recognise. My stomach muscles separated, destroying my core and leaving me with chronic back pain. I once had a cute little ‘S’ shaped belly button, now its caved in on itself and entrenched by stretched and saggy skin that resembles a deflated ballon. Sexy, eh?
Your body goes through many changes from the moment you get pregnant to the postpartum period. In my first pregnancy, 32 weeks of severe morning sickness left me with little desire to exercise at all.
The truth is, keeping fit and healthy during pregnancy can be good for you and baby and has a positive impact on your physical and mental health. However, societal pressures hone in like a laser beam on the need to ‘bounce back’.
Let’s be honest, there is very little ‘bouncing back’ during the postpartum period. It is likely you are trying to get your head around a host of weird postpartum changes. Let alone get your body back to what it was pre-pregnancy.
That’s precisely why it is essential to learn to understand and love your new body – it doesn’t mean that you can’t embark on a weight loss journey after the birth if you wish to; it’s about accepting and appreciating your body’s journey.
Pregnancy Means Changes: Learn to Adapt and Adjust
As your body needs to carry a baby inside the womb, it’s fair to say that you’re going through many changes, hormonal, emotional and purely physical. Your cute little baby bump will become uncomfortable and tiring towards the end of your third trimester.
You will find it difficult to sleep comfortably, for a start, so it’s important to embrace the changes and look for solutions, such as using nursing pillows to make your bedtime more pleasant.
Simple things such as going for a walk can be extremely tiring towards the end of your pregnancy. Don’t push yourself; you’re not getting weaker. Your body is working full-time to maintain you and your baby healthy.
Keeping Active During Pregnancy
There is a common belief that if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t be exercising at all.
In reality, pregnancy ends with giving birth, which occurs as a result of going into labour. Pushing is hard work. If you can do a little of exercising during pregnancy in the lead up to your final trimester then it may help your body deal with these pressures.
A lot of mums choose to keep exercising during their pregnancy, with the help of a specialist trainer so that they can safely build up their muscles without putting the baby at risk. Always speak to your midwife for advice if you are unsure what exercises you can do during pregnancy.
Yoga and meditation helped my restless legs and bad back. Swimming and walking was also a gentle but effective way to keep active.
After the birth, you need to take some time off to let your body heal. But keeping fit can help you to go through breastfeeding and baby care positively.
Your Body Went Through A Lot: Let It Recover
The postpartum recovery is a lot more complicated than you might think. On average, your emotions might be all over the place for up to 3 weeks after the birth – sometimes longer – as a result of hormonal imbalance.
Aside from the emotion, you’ll need to recover physically from the stress the labour and the birth have put you through. It’s a painful journey, there is no denying it. But you have to be aware that patience is all you need. You can’t force your body to heal faster. Going through labour with a fit body can reduce the recovery time by a few weeks.
You Discover Your New Super-Body
You’ve gone through stretch marks and leaky breasts, now you’ve got to learn to love the body you’ve been left with. While the road to accepting your new body can be long and hard, you will soon marvel at what it is capable of.
Your arms will be stronger from carrying a 20lb toddler and you will somehow be able to sprint at amazing speed as your child darts off without warning.
Swear to love your body during the good and the bad times and to help it to be best prepared for the challenges to come.
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