Body Progression: Everything You Want to Know

Body Progression: Everything You Want to Know

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Over the past 23 months, my body has gone through incredible changes. During this time, it was difficult to find information discussing the changes of a postpartum body, so I wrote the blog What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body to share information about these significant changes. In this blog post, I shared research in addition to my own experiences with the postpartum changes (and if there were any) with my pelvic muscles, muscle mass loss, breasts, and vagina; as well as my experiences with diastatis recti, weight loss and fertility.

Pregnancy Progression

Week 1 and Week 17

Week 20

Week 23

Week 25

Week 27

Week 34

Weeks 36

Week 37

Week 39

Postpartum Progression

3 Hours Postpartum

 3 days postpartum

    feb 10thfeb 10th side

5 days postpartum

    Feb 12th front Feb 12th

18 days postpartum

        Feb 25th side  Feb 25th

28 days postpartum

         March 6th side  March 6th

47 days postpartum

march 25th side March 25th

3 Hours Postpartum and 14 Months Postpartum Comparison Pictures

At 47 Days Postpartum, I lost all of my pregnancy weight, but I still needed to continue to strengthen my pelvic muscles, close my Diastasis Recti, and tone my body. I started consistently working out 3 days a week when Paulie turned 9 months, and by 13 months, I increased my workouts to 4-5 times a week (all completed at home). I will talk about my workout regime in an upcoming post.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a very happy Wednesday! =D

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! For me, pregnancy was the most wonderful experience of my life. I loved watching my body change; I loved feeling Paul grow; and I loved giving birth. During pregnancy, a woman’s body drastically changes in a very short period of time, and some of these changes continue to impact a woman postpartum. Five postpartum changes that every woman should know about are:

Pelvic Muscles: It is important that women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are postpartum understand the importance of strengthening their pelvic floor muscles. The weight from carrying a baby for 9 months places a lot of stress on a these muscles, causing them to become weak. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles causes women to be at risk for experiencing incontinence while pregnant and postpartum; which is a sign of a much more serious problem called a vaginal prolapse. The only way to prevent incontinence and a vaginal prolapse is to exercise the pelvic floor muscles. It is never too late to start pelvic floor exercises. The most commonly known exercise that targets the pelvic floor muscles are kegals; but there are many more exercises that a woman can do prior to pregnancy, while pregnant, and postpartum to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles. I used this stretching guide while pregnant, and continue to use it postpartum. I highly recommend it.

Diastasis Recti (split abs): Women who are interested in exercising postpartum should be aware of diastasis recti. Some women, including myself, experience a split in their abs while pregnant. To reconnect them, women need to do very gentle core workouts. Post delivery, I asked the nurse to check my abs and she confirmed that my abs were split three fingers wide. She then taught me how to measure my abs and explained that prior to engaging in ab toning exercises, my abs could not be any wider than one finger width apart. Women are not allowed to engage in any toning exercises until six weeks postpartum; so when I reached six weeks, I saw a physical therapist who taught me the exercises that I needed to do to strengthen my abs. I highly recommend going to see a physical therapist six weeks postpartum prior to exercising; but if you do not, these are some great exercises that you could use to strengthen them.

Vagina: Any change to your vagina will depend on the trauma it endures during delivery. Trauma includes first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree tears or episiotomies; as well as tools used for assisted birth. Women who experience no tears or episiotomies; first degree tears or episiotomies; and who give birth without assistive birthing tools will most likely notice very little change about their vagina both aesthetically and sensationally.

Muscle Loss: Muscle loss is inevitable during pregnancy due to many factors. The experience of pregnancy is beautiful, but it is physically difficult. There are approved pregnancy workout programs that women can do; but even these workouts may be too strenuous for many women. If you are unable to workout during pregnancy, do not worry, any muscle loss during pregnancy can be rebuilt postpartum.

Breasts: If you produce milk, your breasts will change drastically; and they will change whether or not you choose to breastfeed. I exclusively breastfeed (meaning that all sucking needs, both for nutrition and comfort, are met at my breasts); and exclusive breastfeeding has not only impacted the physical appearance of my breasts, but my weight loss and fertility as well.

  1. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Weight Loss: I dropped my pregnancy weight at an accelerated rate; and I am now back to my pre pregnancy weight. It is recommended that women consume an additional 500 calories a day if they are breastfeeding; but this recommendation proved insufficient for me. Women burn approximately 20 calories per one ounce of milk. That means my son, who loves to drink milk, is causing me to burn about 700 calories in a 24 hour period.
  2. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Fertility: Women who exclusively breastfeed may experience natural child spacing. For this to be effective, women need to be breastfeeding approximately every 3 hours to maintain the hormone prolactin; which is the hormone responsible for milk production. Natural child spacing is 98 percent effective for the first six months postpartum. At 10 months postpartum, my period has not yet returned.

These are five postpartum changes that every woman should be aware of. Understanding and expecting these changes could help women to prepare to address these changes postpartum.

Thank you for reading! I hope that you have a very happy Tuesday! =D

Postpartum Body Progression

Good morning and happy Saturday! It is truly incredible what a woman’s body is capable of doing to accommodate pregnancy. It took me by surprise how quickly I lost my pregnancy weight. I am 4 pounds away from my pre pregnancy weight, but weight is not something I am too concerned about. What I am excited for is watching my stomach become toned again! I am choosing to wait until 8 weeks to begin working out to give my body more time to rest. Breastfeeding has been extremely exhausting for me, so I am just trying to relax and rest in between feeding sessions. I have to be honest, I was expecting HUGE changes postpartum, but there hasn’t been. Here is my experience:

I had a first degree episiotomy during childbirth, so my skin was cut to assist Paul’s birth. I was given stitches, and the only time I felt discomfort was 5 days postpartum when the stitches were closing. I saw my doctor three weeks postpartum and everything was perfect. I know that this is a question that many women have, and I can assure you, at least for women who will receive a first degree episiotomy, that everything goes back to normal both aesthetically and sensationally down there. Nothing at all has changed.

My stomach appears different. My hips and waist are currently wider, and my skin is loose. I am certain that this will change when I start working out, so I will revisit this over the course of the next few months. I am going to see a physical therapist this week who will tell me what I need to do to optimize toning my abs. After I gave birth, the nurse told me my abs split 3 fingers wide, and that it would close over the next 6 weeks. I need to make sure that my abs are closed before I begin working out or the results will not be appealing. If they are still split, I would have to do specific workouts to close the separation before I can start toning. None of the things I just mentioned are permanent changes, and I am so ready to see what my body can do. What I do have that is permanent, and am very proud of, are 4 long stretch marks underneath my belly button. As much as I put on my cocoa butter, ate a strict healthy diet, and gained weight slowly; I knew at 20 weeks pregnant that I would develop stretch marks at some point because Paul would frequently put so much pressure in my belly button.

The biggest ongoing slow change that I have are with my breasts. The more milk that Paul demands, the bigger they get. Had I not breastfed, they would have looked exactly like they did pre pregnancy, but because I am breastfeeding, they are always producing milk. Other than the fullness, they have not changed.

February 7th (3 hours postpartum)

 3 hours front 3 hours

Feeling my tummy after giving birth was really weird. It was literally empty since I was no longer supporting a baby and my organs still needed 6 weeks to fall back into place. It was really squishy at first.

 February 10th (3 days postpartum)

    feb 10th feb 10th side

February 12th (5 days postpartum)

    Feb 12th front  Feb 12th

February 25th (18 days postpartum)

        Feb 25th side  Feb 25th

March 6th (28 days postpartum)

         March 6th side   March 6th

March 25th (47 days postpartum)

march 25th side  March 25th

This entire journey has been incredible, and I am looking forward to subsequent pregnancies. I am not interested in getting my pre pregnancy body back; what I am interested in is sculpting and embracing my new body. Thank you for reading and coming on this journey with me <3 I hope you have a happy Saturday!