Have you ever felt pressured by family, friends, society, or even your own expectations to “get your body back after pregnancy?” If so, this article is for you!
Society pressures women to bounce back to “normal” quickly after having a baby—when in reality, your body has gone through a major change. Not to mention, you have a brand-new baby relying on you to take care of them! While it’s tempting to want your body back after pregnancy, it’s more important to develop a health-centric approach customized to your unique needs that will offer long-term results.
Moment of Truth Physical Therapy helps women develop a holistic approach to postpartum recovery that focuses on the health of you and your baby. Here’s how we’re changing the conversation regarding the societal pressure to get your body back after pregnancy.
What’s the Current Conversation Surrounding Getting Your Body Back After Pregnancy?
After having a baby, women feel pressured to be “back to normal” by the six-week postpartum appointment with their provider. This appointment is actually supposed to confirm you’re not hemorrhaging, you don’t have an infection, and there aren’t any major concerns with your new baby or breastfeeding.
Many women undergo a short examination, answer a few questions, and then their doctor tells them they can return “back to normal.” They are told they can go back to work, go to the gym, resume sex, and do all the activities they did before delivery. Unfortunately, many women assume this means their body should return “back to normal,” which is an unrealistic expectation for most women. Really, think about it—it took your body nine months to grow, expand, and change to nurture your baby. It’s not going to return to how it was in such a short timeline of six weeks.
What You Should Actually Prioritize During Postpartum Recovery
Instead of focusing on how to get your body back after pregnancy, it’s better to focus on nourishing your body and baby during this adjustment. When you concentrate on health-centered approaches, like rest and a healthy diet, you’ll be much more likely to feel like yourself.
Here are some essential components of the conversation of getting your body back after pregnancy that need to change, in addition to practical ways you can support your body and your baby during your postpartum recovery.
1. You need to have realistic expectations.
First, it’s important to have realistic expectations about how long the healing process can take. While your provider may tell you you’re ready to resume normal activities like work and the gym at six weeks, it can actually take up to six months for your body to completely heal after having a baby.
That said, if you’re not ready to “get back to normal” after six weeks, that’s completely okay. However, if you’re overwhelmed and want to confirm what you’re experiencing is “normal,” or learn what your body needs for true healing, it’s wise to talk to an expert in postpartum health and recovery to help you feel confident you’re in the right stage of recovery for you.
2. The most important thing you can do is care for yourself and your baby.
During the first six weeks of your baby’s life, the most critical thing you can do is to rest, eat, and nurture the nursing relationship between you and your baby. Nothing else is essential.
Knowing this, wouldn’t it be absurd to assume you should “have your body back” at the six-week postpartum mark? Absolutely! If you and your baby are resting, eating, and fostering a relationship at this point, you should consider that a huge accomplishment!
3. You should understand recovery will look different for each person.
When it comes to postpartum, it’s crucial to understand there is no “roadmap for recovery.”
Some women have a vaginal delivery, and some women have a C-section. Some women are delivering their first baby, and others are delivering their fourth. Some women have severe complications during delivery, and others don’t. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” package for delivery—and the same goes for postpartum recovery.
Some women will feel ready to return to work after the first six weeks, while others won’t. That’s okay! Your delivery significantly impacts your recovery, which is important to remember when trying to “get your body back” after pregnancy.
4. Sleep is essential for you and your baby’s well-being.
Sleeping may not feel like the most productive thing to do after having a baby, but it’s absolutely essential. Sleep impacts your mental health and your milk supply, which are both crucial for you and your baby’s survival.
More than anything else you can do, making sure you get enough sleep is the best way to care for your body and your baby during your postpartum recovery.
5. You should surround yourself with a supportive community.
Finally, it’s important to surround yourself with a community that is willing to step in and help during your postpartum recovery—without overstepping boundaries.
You should say “yes” when family and friends offer to cook meals, clean your house, and watch your older kids. These tasks remove stress, giving you time to rest and bond with your new baby. However, when well-meaning people want to come over to see the new baby, you should feel empowered to stay “no.” Often, these visits can be more exhausting than anything else and hinder your recovery.
Begin Your Postpartum Recovery with a Pelvic Exam from Moment of Truth Physical Therapy
Instead of investing in gimmicks, diets, or fads to help you “get your body” back after pregnancy, we recommend investing in a pelvic exam to kickstart your postpartum healing journey in a safe, effective way that’s customized for your unique needs.
Moment of Truth Physical Therapy helps you find a “safe beginning” for your postpartum recovery. We identify diastasis, tears, scar tissue, and other issues hindering your recovery and help you create a plan that bridges the gap between where you are and where you want to be. If you’re ready to discover your unique roadmap to recovery, contact our team at Moment of Truth Physical Therapy for your free discovery session!