Following on from my recent post about how to love your postnatal body, I thought now would be a good time to talk about my postnatal body following the birth of baby number three. I don’t think we talk enough about what those first few weeks and days following birth are like. I know after my first baby I was clueless about what was going to hit me!
By baby number three I knew what to expect, but with each pregnancy the postnatal changes and symptoms get stronger. I can safely say that the initial postpartum period after this baby was the toughest of the three. Considering this was the only time I’ve not had stitches after birth, that’s really saying something!
after pains and maternity pads
Why had no one warned me that the after pains this time around were going to be an absolute bitch?! It seemed crazy that I was popping so many pain killers to cope with the cramps, when I’d had a drug-free labour. And the bleeding that went along with the cramps…jeez. Lets just say I didn’t know you could have lightning reflexes when sleep deprived, until I had to make the transition from shower to maternity
nappy pad without making the bathroom look like the scene from Psycho.
boobs after birth
Considering I was slowed down by the lumps of concrete which had replaced my boobs, my shower time ninja stylings are even more impressive. For over a week after my milk came in, I had tits of steel. Painful tits of steel. The slightest wobble made them ache, so I ended up wearing two bras to keep them steady. As I’ve mentioned before, I formula feed for various reasons, including a previous breast reduction which has left me unable to breastfeed, so the engorgement with no way to get that milk to my baby was a bit of a kicker. I’m glad I’d already been through the disappointment of not being able to breastfeed and made my peace with it. Otherwise, hauling those useless uber boobs around could have really got to me. As it was, I quite enjoyed the big postnatal cleavage but remembered why I’d had a reduction in the first place!
the mummy tummy
While my boobs were swelling, my belly shrank. I feel that this time around, my bump disappeared almost as soon as I’d given birth. My belly went back to normal within a matter of days. This isn’t quite as miraculous as that sounds. I’ve never had a flat or toned stomach, so “normal” for me is a bit rounded and wobbly anyway! But I was back in pre-pregnancy jeans just over a week after giving birth. I always thought that was the holy grail of postnatal statements, but actually I was upset to see my bump go. I loved my pregnant body this time around. As Hubs is still adamant that we’re done having babies, the end of pregnancy was quite a sad point for me.
symphysis pubis dysfunction and diastasis recti
Despite not suffering from SPD in this pregnancy, I ended up with a case of it after birth. I could barely walk up the stairs at times, and my pelvis felt like it was grinding when I moved. But it resolved itself, and was gone by the time I got a physio appointment.
I still went to the appointment though, and it was useful. We talked about postnatal exercise and she checked me for any abdominal separation. I was convinced I’d have some sort of diastasis recti. Especially considering my midwife insisted on mentioning my “loose abdominal muscles” at every opportunity. But if I did have any separation, it was gone by the time she examined me at four weeks postpartum. We talked about the importance of starting with low impact exercise, and only introducing weight training gradually to avoid putting pressure on my weakened pelvis.
postnatal sweating and hair loss
I’m now six weeks after birth, and feel basically back to normal. Albeit a very sweaty version of normal – I had forgotten about the post-baby sweats, especially at night. I’ve got a permanent sheen on during the day, and am often soaked when I wake up for night feeds. I feel constantly grotty, which is a cruel trick of nature when a limpet-like newborn makes it that fucking difficult to jump in the shower.
And speaking of washing, I’ve noticed changes to my hair already. During pregnancy I only needed to wash it every three to four days (and even then just for cleanliness, as opposed to it being oily). Now I’m back to needing to wash it almost every other day. I’m just biding my time before the inevitable postnatal hair loss kicks in, to make me feel really sexy.