Whenever I give a talk to a group of women about postpartum wellness, without fail, someone says that she had no idea that something was possible. She thought that a certain symptom was an automatic, and it would only get worse each child.
And it’s no wonder really, a mom notices something, checks with other moms to see if they ever noticed it, some have, they all feel better knowing that it’s so-called normal. But just because it’s prevalent doesn’t make something normal. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s unchangeable.
So here I am today, going through some of the myths of the postpartum body. So let’s dive in. . .
1 – You’ll go up a bra size and it never goes back
- Your ribs are jointed
- Baby pushes up
- Shallow breathing and physical tension can keep them up
- In turn, it’s harder to take deep breaths and move freely because your ribs are immobilized
2 – You’ll go up a shoe size and it never goes back
- 31 joints in your feet
- Ligament laxity softens joints
- Weight gain puts more pressure on your feet
- Arches tend to flatten under the pressure since they’re more pliable
- You can strengthen feet and lift your arches
3 – You can resume your pre-pregnancy activity at 6 weeks
- OBs are checking for acute healing, not muscle function – that’s why I always recommend checking with a pelvic floor physical therapist
- Your core has been changing drastically for months, it’s not ready to support your pre-pregnancy activities
- Start with a postpartum program, some people will progress through them really quickly, and some will take more time, it depends on fitness before, consistency during, and how your body handled pregnancy and birth
- Be patient, think nine months to grow the baby and nine months to recover
- It may be more or less, but that’s a good estimate
4 – It’s normal to pee a little when doing high impact activities, coughing, sneezing, or laughing
- Just no.
- Not high impact
- Not when you sneeze or cough
- Please, go to a specialist for this, and let’s have less mamas living this reality. . .
5 – A twofer: If you work hard enough, you’ll have a completely flat stomach/You’ll never have a flat stomach again
- I’m referring to being able to get your stomach to look like it did pre-pregnancy
- This has many factors
- How much weight was gained
- How quickly your skin stretched
- If you get stretch marks easily
- This is linked to genetics
- Prevention is key, apply all the lotions BEFORE
- C-sections and scar healing will impact how your skin recovers
- Genetics seem to be the biggest factor on skin elasticity and whether it tightens post-pregnancy
- Strengthening the muscles underneath is great for function and looking your best
- You must have a VERY low body fat percentage for a truly flat stomach and for many women it poses health risks
- So it’s individual
6 – It’s too late to improve things
- It’s never too late
- In fact, if you jump back into it a few years postpartum, it can actually be easier in some ways because you’re not physically healing or breastfeeding anymore so your body can put more energy into the rehab exercises
- My teacher said she worked with someone twenty years postpartum and her patient’s diastasis she’d had all that time resolved
- This goes with everything, you can always move better, get stronger. That’s not to say you can attain perfect function in every way, we’re all works in progress, but there are definitely things you can do.
7 – Wait until after you’re having children to do anything
- I’ve heard this one from lots of women
- If you’re a candidate for surgery, your doctor may advise you to wait until you’re done, BUT that’s doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to be done
- Don’t you want to be as comfortable as possible for that, maybe decade of your life? While you also are physically caring for your children?
- You may still need medical interventions when you’re done, or you may not, but you can definitely make the most of where you are so that this season is as comfortable as possible
8 – Once you’re a mom you’ll never feel like you again
- You know how much I don’t believe this!
- I definitely have better core function now than before I had my girls
- I’m not telling you to try to get a pre-baby body, that’s impossible, just like it’s impossible to break a bone and return to a “pre-broken bone”
- No one ever says that, because it’s clearly absurd, so is the pre-baby body. You went through TONS of changes in a short amount of time, and that will impact you forever, that doesn’t mean it’s bad
- I broke my arm in 2019, I do whatever I want with it now. But the bone will always have traces of having been broken.
- So. . . the pre-baby body thing is a true myth, BUT you can absolutely still feel strong confident and beautiful in your new body
And as always, I want to support you in your healthy lifestyle. So if you want to come join me in my off-facebook membership for mamas, I’d love to have you. We do a weekly healthy living mini-challenge, I share tips, recipes, nutrition, green beauty, and exercise stuff. Basically, we talk about all aspects of healthy living but specifically how it fits into early motherhood with little ones, and we can support each other. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes and I hope to see you over there!
I hope you have a fantastic week!