Physical Therapist and author, Marianne Ryan explains why it takes time to regain your pre-pregnancy figure and why you should not expect to be “Facebook ready” a day after birth.
Even though Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, looked great when she stepped out of the hospital only 10 hours after delivering her daughter, IT'S NOT THE NORM!
After the excitement of childbirth, first-time moms are often shocked to discover that their bodies don’t automatically snap back into shape immediately after their baby is born. The first thing I remember after I got home with my new baby was looking sideways in a mirror and gasping…I still looked pregnant! Was I ever going to see a flat tummy again!?! Wow, how unfair! How come I saw celebrities looking like hot babes shortly after giving birth?
Expecting yourself to be “red-carpet ready” soon after delivering your baby is unrealistic, even for most celebrities.
It will take time for your belly to shrink no matter who you are. Realistically, it takes at least a month for your body to start to get itself back together, usually longer for most women. Right after birth your body is left with a lot of excess fluid that can take a week or two to lose and it can take a full month for your uterus to shrink back down to its pre-pregnancy size. So don’t put yourself under the pressure to be “Facebook ready” right after you deliver your baby – it’s just not going to happen and you have far more important things to worry about! So do your self a favor, and don't even try to put on your old jeans, wait.
Steer Clear of the Scale!
Whatever you do, don’t even think of stepping on that scale for at least thirty days after you deliver your baby. I remember breaking down into tears after I weighed myself three days after I delivered my first daughter. I only lost a few pounds! How can that be? She weighed 8 ½ pounds and the placenta and amniotic fluid weighed about 3 or 4 pounds, so I should be at least 12 pounds less, right?
Here is why: Right after giving birth, your body is still going through hormonal changes. The amount of fluid your body retains can fluctuate hourly, especially if you are nursing. It takes a few weeks for your body to lose the excess fluid you build up during your pregnancy and for your uterus to return to normal size. So, as much fun as it may seem to find out how much you weigh, don’t do it; it can drive you crazy.
Most women want to get back into pre-pregnancy shape immediately after childbirth, but it is important to make a slow return to full activity. In my book, Baby Bod®, I explain the effects of pregnancy on the body, offer many more tips, and advise on the best way to get back into shape after having a baby. There is more detailed advice in Chapter 8 for moms who had a vaginal delivery while Chapter 9 gives advice to moms who had a C-section.
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Marianne Ryan PT
MARIANNE RYAN PT, OCS is a physical therapist and board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist. She is an award-winning author of the international best selling book, Baby Bod – Turn Flab to Fab in 12 Weeks Flat (available on Amazon), Clinical Director of MRPT Physical Therapy in New York City and a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association Media Corps. With more than 30 years' experience, she specializes in helping women reclaim their bodies after childbirth. BabyBodBook.com