You worked out consistently throughout pregnancy, stuck to a healthy diet, and did the hard work of delivery, so what now? What can you do to expedite healing and recovery so that you look and feel like your pre-pregnancy self? How long will it take?
Women typically bleed for four to six weeks after a vaginal delivery and the uterus takes the same amount of time to contract back to normal size. C-section deliveries can take about four weeks to heal at the external incision, though the scar may take up to six months to fully mature. Some women experience birth trauma, whether physical, emotional, or both. Though it is easy to put all the focus on your new baby, honoring your feelings will help you process the experience so that you can be fully present with your new baby and heal properly.
After delivery, the joints likely have moved, muscles are stretched, weakened, and sometimes injured. You may notice a feeling of joint instability and the pelvic floor muscles may be bruised. Return of abdominal tightness depends on many things but staying strong and active while pregnant gave you a huge leg up.
Proper nutrition, rest, and rehab exercises aid new moms while healing. Your return after delivery is specific to you and your lifestyle helps (or hinders) your progress. Dr. James Clapp found in his research on pregnant women six months after delivery, 55% of exercising moms had returned to their pre-pregnancy weight. Even more exciting, he found that 75% had returned one year after delivery.
Trust that your healthy efforts will pay off. Honor yourself emotionally and physically on your journey. Motherhood demands a lot of women, starting with pregnancy but you don’t have to give up health and happiness in the process.