Bouncing back after pregnancy might not be what mom expects. It can be very different experiencing it than watching a celeb “bounce back” on TV. New moms often have unrealistic expectations of just how long it will take to bounce back after having the baby.
Mom might be surprised to find out how long it will take to jump back in the sack or lose the baby weight. Since every pregnancy and birth is different one mom might have a wildly different experience bouncing back than her friends.
There are, though, some basic signs mom should watch for that tell her it's okay to bounce back. If she pushes it too much, she’ll also get signals from her body that it's time to slow down. Recognizing these signals and knowing what they mean are important parts of bouncing back after pregnancy.
Keeping expectations realistic are also an important part of bouncing back. Mom wants to find the balance between pushing too hard and taking it too easy. The right balance will help mom return to normal faster. Keep reading to find out how to know when it's time to bounce back after baby and when it's time to take it easy.
15 Abs Haven't Come Together
Before pregnancy, mom’s ab muscles lined up together side by side. It was a tight fit. During pregnancy these muscles became stretched out and separated. It's important for mom to take it easy so these muscles can slowly and naturally come back together. After pregnancy they won’t make it perfectly back together like before pregnancy but they can come close. Starting ab exercises too early can make these muscles stay apart for good.
My midwife informed me that wherever they are when you start using them again is where they’ll stay. If you don’t let them come back together naturally you might regret it later.
Check how close they are together by laying on your back put one or two fingers pointing toward your back under your belly button. Slowly try doing a crunch. You’ll be able to see if the muscles are on the outside of the fingertips and not fully back together.
14 Still Healing Down There
Healing from a vaginal birth can take quite a bit of time. Depending on how much mom tore during delivery will change how much time it takes to heal. Sometimes mom can have muscle tears on the inside that she and even her doctor don’t notice.
Usually 6 weeks is the minimum of time needed for rest and healing after birth but this can change from mom to mom.
Mom needs to listen to her body and pay attention to what hurts or feels uncomfortable. Pushing the pelvic floor too hard before its ready can slow down healing or even cause organ prolapse according to Fit Pregnancy. For moms who had cesareans, it can take even longer to heal. The minimum time for rest and healing is usually 8 weeks but that can change depending on mom’s situation.
13 Mom Is Ready If: It Doesn't Hurt To Sit Down
After giving birth, mom might find that it hurts to sit down for quite a while. For some time, she’ll want to choose a soft chair or use a donut to sit down comfortably. She may also use a pillow on hard chairs. Eventually this pain will go away as the body has time to heal and return to normal. Until then, mom will want to think about where she’s going and what type of seats will be there. She won’t want to find herself on an uncomfortable metal folding chair for too long.
When it doesn’t hurt to sit down any more she might be ready for a little more physical activity.
She should start by adding normal activities back into her life life sweeping or doing laundry. This will give her a good idea if her body’s ready for more.
12 Sore All Over
It is normal after giving birth to feel sore all over. The body went through incredibly difficult work during labor and delivery. Plus, the body has gone through immense changes during the last 40 weeks. Mom needs to make sure she’s listening to her body and giving it time to rest and heal - and that may mean for weeks and weeks. During delivery, mom lost blood and nutrients her body had been storing for the baby in the placenta. This can also leave mom feeling sore and drained. Mom needs to make sure she is eating a healthy diet and continuing with her prenatal vitamins to help her body recover. Getting plenty of water is important during this time too.
Drinking enough water will help to ease soreness and flush the body of extra hormones. Breastfeeding will make mom need more water too.
After giving birth mom will feel physically exhausted. In the weeks to come, the exhaustion can continue as mom’s body heals and she deals with the demands of having a newborn.
If mom is feeling exhausted, she should cut back on doing anything extra.
This can be a sign that she needs to slow down. It can be her body telling her that it needs more time to rest and heal. In some cases, it can be a sign that mom’s having an issue with her thyroid - something she’ll want to talk to her doctor about. For the most part, new moms experience lots of exhaustion. Its okay to take it easy and give yourself time to work out. It's also okay to ask for help and expect a partner to pick up some of the responsibilities mom can handle right away.
10 Mom Is Ready If: Short Walks Feel Good
As mom starts to feel better and better she can slowly increase her activity. Walking is a great way to slowly get the body active again. Short walks are a good place to start. Mom and baby can go for walks together to break up the days.
When short walks feel good and don’t make mom bleed more or feel really sore then she might be ready for a little more.
Slowly increasing the length of the walk will help the body to gain strength without overdoing it. After the body has had some practice with walking mom might want to step it up a bit. Mom should definitely check with her doctor before getting too physically active. Bouncing back after having a baby isn’t a race, it's about listening to the body and taking it slow.
9 Freaked Out By Intimacy
Many women are worried about getting intimate again after having a baby. So many things happened down there that mom would worry about getting back at it - especially too soon.
Typically, doctors recommend waiting at least 6 weeks after a natural birth. Any sooner could cause additional damage or inhibit healing.
Even after 6 weeks, mom could still be healing or feel very tender down there. It's okay to wait longer if needed. The pitfall is that some women wait so long that the fear of trying overtakes them. After waiting enough time, some women will still have problems with the fear of just thinking about it. Explain these feelings to your partner and ask to take things slowly. Make sure to use a lubricant. With scarring and deep tears it can be painful for a while and some moms need physical therapy to help with the problem.
8 Mom Is Ready If: Interest In Bedroom Is Peaked
Some moms are worried about getting intimate again while others feel ready pretty soon. The increased intimacy of having a child together can make mom want to feel close and intimate to her partner. This is a great time for mom and dad to bond. Mom will have to be careful that she’s given her body enough time to heal after childbirth. For women who didn’t tear, they may feel ready to get intimate again sooner than others. Having interest in the bedroom is a good sign that mom might be ready for this step. If mom wants physical closeness but isn’t physically ready her and her partner should consider other options. Cuddling and massages can help to give the couple physical closeness while giving the body time to heal.
7 Can't Feel If You Have To Go
After having birth some moms find that they are too numb to feel when they have to pee. This can be a side effect of the pressure put on the urethra during delivery. If this is the case, mom should go to the bathroom every few hours to avoid accidents.
Within a day or two this feeling should come back to mom.
If she still can’t feel when she has the urge to pee, she should talk to her doctor about it. It could indicate that she has nerve damage or another problem in the area. It’s common for women to have some incontinence issues after birth. After giving the body time to rest and heal mom should do kegel exercises to help with the problem. If this isn’t enough to solve it, mom should talk to her doctor to find out other ways of handling it.
6 Still Bleeding
Bleeding after childbirth can last up to 6 weeks. It can take time for the uterus to return to normal and the bleeding to stop.
Mom may pass clots as the uterus heals. When mom starts to move about more she may notice that her bleeding increases.
This is a sign that mom has done too much and needs to slow down again. This is definitely not the time to jump back in to daily activities or exercise. It will probably take mom longer than she imagines to bounce back after her first child. The body has gone through so many changes during pregnancy and so much trauma during delivery that patience afterward is important. In time, the body will be ready for more activity. The first few weeks should be dedicated to rest and healing.
5 Emotional Mess
During pregnancy mom’s hormones were on the rise. She definitely noticed the rush of hormones racing through her body during pregnancy. After giving birth, these hormones will return to normal levels. But the changes in hormone levels along with all of the physical changing from childbirth and having a newborn can easily make mom an emotional mess. Being awake all hours of the day and night to tend to a newborn will also take a toll on mom’s emotions. Eventually, as mom’s body heals her emotions should also start to even out.
If mom is still feeling like an emotional mess she should give herself some time to get back to normal.
Mom should make sure to not push herself too hard or expect too much during this time. With time she’ll start feeling normal again.
4 Mom Is Ready If: She's Feeling Normal Again
When mom starts to feel normal again it might be time to try more activities. Her energy will return slowly and she’ll be able to do a little more every few days. Listening to her body during this time is super important. Mom may get excited about getting back to normal and push herself too hard. If she pushes herself too hard, she’ll be able to tell. Her body might ache, she could be exhausted or she could start bleeding more. It's not worth overdoing it in the first few weeks after giving birth. Mom will have to be careful because she not only needs to take care of herself but also her baby. Pushing herself too hard can make it difficult to handle a baby at all hours of the day.
3 First Step Is Healthy Eating
The first thing mom can do after having a baby to help her bounce back is to eat a healthy diet. Mom’s body will need vital nutrients in her diet to help heal and recover from childbirth.
Eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables will give her the nutrients she needs (along with a good vitamin).
Healthy foods can help her body to heal and also help to improve her mood. Mom might be worried about her first bowel movement after having a baby. This is a totally normal worry. If mom is eating a diet high in fiber this bowel movement should be no problem. She’ll be able to pass it easily with less pushing. A healthy diet will also help with breastfeeding, weight loss and hormonal balance after childbirth.
2 Changes Take Time
It took 40 weeks for mom’s body to change as much as it did. It can take just as long for her to return to normal. It can be easy to expect the pounds to melt off after pregnancy. At first, mom will experience a decrease when the baby and placenta are born and as her body gets rid of excess water. This will slow down though. Most women will lose about half of their pregnancy pounds in the first 6 weeks of giving birth according to Medline Plus. The rest will take longer to lose - even up to a year. Breastfeeding can help mom to burn extra calories and a healthy diet is a must. After 6-8 weeks mom can usually begin exercising again which will help in the process.
1 One Step At A Time
Bouncing back after pregnancy is something that will happen slowly over the weeks and months following childbirth. Sometimes moms have an unrealistic idea about how long it should take. Mom might see a celebrity on TV who seems to bounce back without a problem. But mom isn’t witnessing what the celeb is doing to “bounce back”. It may seem to happen faster for other people because mom isn’t experiencing the healing herself. Each mother will take a different amount of time to get back to normal after pregnancy. Mom might find that some parts are more difficult while other parts are easier. There is no one right way to bounce back after pregnancy. Even one mom can have different experiences bouncing back from one pregnancy compared to the next. Mom should give herself time to come back slowly after giving birth.