Happy Wednesday friends! If you are just joining the Losing The Baby Weight series welcome! Every Wednesday for the next several weeks I will be posting on this topic.
Wednesday, June 12: Pregnancy & Exercise
Wednesday, June 19: What To Expect After You Deliver
Wednesday, June 26: The First Six Weeks
Wednesday, July 3: Nutrition
Every women’s pregnancy is completely different and so is their recovery. That being said I am excited to share with you what I experienced my first six weeks postpartum and also a few items I highly recommend for a new mama after the baby is born.
The rate of recovery is going to differ from mama to mama depending on overall health, delivery complications, and nutrition (a full post dedicated to this next week). Make sure you talk with your doctor before starting any new fitness program postpartum to make sure your body is ready for exercise.
Experts at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist say it is ok to gradually resume exercise if you were physically active until giving birth as long as you did not have any complications or conditions that make exercise dangerous.Any new mom will tell that the first six weeks are an adventure. You are learning your new normal. As soon as you feel ready to get back to exercise and have been cleared by your doctor the faster you will recovery.
The very first morning that we woke up in our house as a family of 3 we went for an early morning walk. I do mean early. It was the middle of summer in Arizona when Caden was born so anything that we would want to do outside needed to be done as the sun was rising. That walk was not pretty and very slow lasting a grand total of 15 minutes. I felt each stitch with every step but was super proud of myself for this small accomplishment.
Each day I continued to walk a little more and at 2 weeks postpartum I was averaging 2 miles a day at 5am in the morning pushing Caden in his stroller. Around this same time I began to add my yoga practice back into my routine. Warrior poses never felt so hard. I had to move really carefully between postures but it felt amazing to stretch.
At 4 weeks postpartum I started strength training with 8 pound dumbbells and using my TRX while Caden was napping. I went on my first “run” at 5 weeks postpartum and swimming after I was cleared by my doctor at my six week checkup.
Many women still look 6 months pregnant after delivery, myself included. The uterus is still swollen and it takes about 6 weeks after delivery for it to return to its normal position. It is totally normal to not feel like yourself after you have had a baby. Everything is stretched, swollen, or engorged on your body. Be nice to yourself. You just had a baby. I promise with time and effort you can and will regain control over your midsection. As hard as it is, try to only weigh yourself no more than once a week or even once a month. To read more about my thoughts on body image and the problem with body bashing click HERE.
Oh the bleeding! I felt like it was never going to stop. Of course it did but the amount of blood that was being released from my body at first was quite impressive. Each day the amount of bleeding decreased. At 4 weeks postpartum I was only slightly spotting.
Night Sweats & Nightmares
I had crazy night sweats which left me waking up drenched and having to change my pi’s. I heard this is super common and the way the body regulates all the hormone changes and rids itself of excess fluid. The sweating was not that bad but what freaked me out the first time it happened was waking up thinking Caden was in my arms and that I lost him in our bedsheets.
I had a panic attack the first time it happened because I thought I had brought him in bed with us and then lost him in the bed. It was pretty horrible. Josh had to keep reassuring me that he was in his crib, I was in tears and it took me going into his room to see he was ok for me to be able to try to sleep again. It happened every night for a few weeks. I would wake up holding my boobs thinking they were Caden. Very weird but eventually it became almost comical, I said almost, it still freaked me out a little. Anyone else have crazy nightmares like this?
Bladder & Bowel
It took a solid 3 weeks for me to begin to feel any relief when going to the bathroom. Last week Jess and I both mentioned how horrible pooping was but I forgot to mention the horrible stinging sensation that accompanied peeing. It is funny what your mind blocks out over time. I winced in pain after being reminded of this after I received an email from a girlfriend who said I forgot to talk about the burning pee last week. Yikes! Just like I found relief by drinking lots of water to dilute the acidity of my urine and also used my squirted water on myself while peeing. Don’t judge me but another thing I would do is pee in the shower during the first few weeks after Caden was born with the water running. It is gross, I know, but it helped lessen the sting.
With Josh’s approval I am sharing this next paragraph. I am not one to talk about what happens in my bedroom with my husband but I do think this information is helpful to share.
After being cleared at my 6 week appointment Josh and I had sex. I am not going to lie, it hurt, bad. So bad. I thought my insides were being torn open. You would think that after having a baby’s head pushed out of your body that sex would never hurt again. What I didn’t take into account was that my skin was still extremely raw in that area and still healing. I totally don’t regret having sex when we did and I am only sharing this information to encourage other mama’s that it is normal for sex to be uncomfortable after giving birth. I promise it does get better and practicing helps ;).
New Mama Must Haves
If you can splurge on anything for yourself before the baby is born the Belly Bandit would be the item to buy! Both Jess and myself had great experiences with the BB’S after having our babies. Here is what Jess has to say about wearing the BB after her c-section:
“If you aren’t familiar with them, it’s basically just an abdominal binder that is marketed as a big aid in helping your tummy return to its pre-baby state. I wore it 24/7, other than when I was in the shower and I really, really liked the support it gave me. Did it help in the tummy flattening department? I personally think so, however I wore it because the extra abdominal and lower back support felt really good The Belly Bandits are a bit on the pricey side (about $50 a piece and you will most likely need 2 different sizes), but you can get a basic abdominal binder from a drug store or Amazon for less than half of that price. If I had it to do over again I would definitely be willing to give a cheaper version a try, although I was pleased with the results the Belly Bandit gave me. I really think it made getting up and down out of bed, the couch, etc. MUCH easier and it helped me keep good posture while breastfeeding and holding Sadie as well. I wore it pretty much around the clock for the first month and it’s definitely something I would recommend to other recovering mama’s.”
I could not have said it better myself. I did not have a c-section but still wore a Belly Bandit and it 100% made a difference in how I looked in my clothes after Caden was born. I felt really supported and wore it all the time except for showering until I was 4 weeks postpartum and for the next 2 weeks only wore it at night. Just like Jess I had the small and extra small sized bands.
Being comfortable is a huge priority after having a baby. Witch hazel pads became my good friends as they eased my itching and tender stitched skin. Before the baby comes buy a few pairs of underwear that you don’t really care about but that are roomy and comfortable. You will thank yourself later. Also investing in a nursing cami was helpful for all the late night and early morning feedings I had with Caden.
Six Weeks Postpartum Stats & Photo Recap
Lastly here are my stats and photos documenting my post baby weight loss during the first six weeks after having Caden.
I hope you feel encouraged after reading this and remember everyones journey is different. Comparison is the thief of joy and I don’t share this so you feel the need to compare my results with yours.
I am always happy to answer any questions you may have (it may take me a few days to get back to you but I love hearing from you and reading your comments). I would love to hear how soon other mama’s began exercising after delivery or any other advice you have to offer.