Over the course of nine months, a woman’s body can produce a completely new person. While you might feel plenty of joy and excitement when you look at your little one resting in a crib, you might not feel any joy or excitement when you look at what the pregnancy has done to your body.
Not every woman has a lot of changes to her body following pregnancy. Depending on your genes, age and other factors, your body might bounce back to a its pre-baby weight, size and shape with no problem. But, it’s also possible that you’ll notice some lasting changes in your size and shape. If you’re no longer happy with your post-baby body, you do have a few options for getting it back to the way it once was.
If your shoes feel a bit tighter after pregnancy, it’s perfectly normal. Having a baby changes your feet in two ways. First, the process of giving birth usually causes edema, or swelling, in your feet thanks to any IV fluids you were given during the delivery and the natural flow of blood away from your uterus. Usually, swelling in the feet is temporary and your feet should decrease in size about a week after you give birth.
Some of the changes in your feet might be permanent after giving birth. Your body produces more of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy, to help loosen the ligaments in your hip area. The hormone also affects the ligaments in your feet. Looser ligaments, combined with added pre-baby weight, often cause women to gain about half a shoe size after pregnancy.
Gaining weight is part of pregnancy. If you’re of average weight pre-baby, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists typically recommends that you gain around 25 pounds while pregnant. Plenty of women feel under a lot of pressure to drop that weight after birth, as soon as possible, but in most cases, they are better of taking things slowly.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising will help most women drop the extra baby weight within a year. Your doctor can give you pointers on what to eat for the most nutritional benefit. While exercise can help you lose the weight, it’s important that you don’t jump back into it too soon after birth. Give your body some time to heal after delivery and wait for your doctor’s okay before you start working out again. If you still have areas of stubborn fat that remain after you’re back to your pre-pregnancy weight, a procedure such as liposuction might be good option to help you feel confident in your body’s size and shape again.
A Little Tummy
Before you had your baby, your stomach was flat as a board. Afterwards, even after you’ve lost the extra weight, you find that you have a little potbelly or paunch. A few things might be responsible for your post-baby belly. One is the rate at which your skin expanded as the baby grew inside you. Another is the looseness that develops in the abdominal muscles thanks to the expansion. A third is hormones (again). Certain hormones determine where your body deposits fat. After pregnancy, they are more likely to deposit fat in the abdominal area.
In some cases, losing the baby weight and exercising will help the post-baby potbelly decrease. But, if that doesn’t do the trick, there are surgical options that can help restore your flat belly. A tummy tuck might an option for you if you are unhappy with the shape of your abdomen and are finished having children.
A Change in Cup Size
Changes in breast size and shape are a natural part of pregnancy. They are also a natural part of the breastfeeding and weaning process. While you might have felt proud of your pregnancy breasts, after you’ve weaned baby, you might find that they look a bit deflated. Many women find that they drop a cup size or two after breastfeeding. To add insult to injury, it’s also common for the breasts to lose some of their perkiness and to start sagging after breastfeeding.
You have a few options for restoring your breasts to their pre-baby, perky selves. One simple option is to wear a padded push-up bra everyday. A more permanent option, which might be appropriate once you’re finished having children, is a breast lift with augmentation surgery. The procedure combines implants with a breast lift to change the shape and size of the breasts.
If you find that you are unhappy with the way your body looks after your pregnancy, you do have options, from lifestyle changes to surgery. You can decide to have one surgery or a series of surgeries, known as a mommy makeover, to help you get your pre-baby body back. To learn more about your options, contact Dr. George Bitar and Dr. Robert Centeno at the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute near Washington, DC. Drs. Bitar and Centeno both have more than a decade of experience performing plastic surgery on the body. To schedule a consultation with either surgeon, call 703-206-0506 today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.