Looking At Your Post Pregnancy Body

We've all heard stories of the woman who took her regular "pre-pregnancy" sized clothes to the hospital, fully intending to wear them home, yet ended up sending her husband out on an emergency run for sweatpants and a t-shirt to wear home! The fact is that even if you were a normal weight prior to getting pregnant and you vigilantly watched your diet during pregnancy, gaining no more than your doctor recommended, your after-baby body will not be the one you are expecting. You can subtract the weight of your baby, add another pound or two for placenta and a couple for blood and amniotic fluid, meaning you should be at least 12 pounds lighter than when you went in to delivery.

As the days pass, you will also produce significantly more urine than possible, and should lose another four pounds or so of water weight your body held onto during pregnancy. While this sounds like a happy occurrence-after all, who among us wouldn't be thrilled to lose 16-20 pounds in one week-try to remember that your tummy muscles have been stretched for months now, and regardless of how much you wish they would, they rarely snap right back into shape. I remember getting out of bed following the birth of my son, taking a look in the full-length mirror in the room and bursting into tears-I still looked pregnant and the body I saw didn't bear any resemblance to the one I remembered!

Give It Some Time

Before you allow yourself to fall into a sobbing heap on the hospital room floor, take a moment, take a deep breath, and remember that you just accomplished the most amazing achievement-a true miracle-and you have your beautiful baby to show for it. Your body may be feeling bruised, battered and exhausted, but on the flip side, you have what you have been waiting for, for nine long months. Hopefully you brought some loose, comfortable clothing with you when you came to the hospital-put them on and do your best not to look in that full-length mirror for at least a couple of weeks down the road. The wrinkly tummy, non-existent waistline and stretch marks are much better left for a time when your hormones have settled down and your body is naturally beginning to resume its prior shape.

Let Your Body Recuperate

It's important to neither rush into exercising right away following the birth of your baby, or to be too laid back about it. Give your body at least a couple of weeks to recuperate, then ease back into an exercise routine by starting off with short walks around the neighborhood. Especially if you had a C-section, you will want to hold off on heavy-duty abdominal exercises for at least a few weeks until your incision is fully healed. What you don't want is to end up ripping open your incision and landing yourself back in the hospital. Ask your doctor when you can safely begin a regular exercise routine-and listen to what he or she tells you. Try to get out and walk for at least thirty minutes, three or more times per week as this will make it much easier to get back into a more strenuous exercise program later.

Losing the Rest of Your Pregnancy Weight

If you breastfeed you may find it much easier to lose some of the weight you gained while pregnant. As your baby grows, you may need from 500-800 extra calories per day to produce the required amount of milk, which is great for your weight loss efforts. The flip side of this is that you may also find yourself ravenous more often than not which can quickly offset those calories used in breastfeeding. Rather than going on a "diet," try to eat natural, healthy foods more often than not, and eliminate all the white sugar and processed food from your diet as you possibly can. Make the effort each day to simply eat a nutritious diet, and be as healthy as possible for your new baby. In the end, try not to think too much about what your body looks like immediately after delivery, and remember it is only temporary.

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