Being pregnant is so exciting but there are scary stories which can make women feel like they’ll never get their body back after their baby arrives. If you have been wondering: “Will pregnancy ruin my body?”, here is some reassurance.
The natural changes of pregnancy
Of course, everyone’s body will respond differently to pregnancy but there are some common ‘side-effects’.
The one thing that is inevitable is weight gain. As well as the little one in your tummy adding to your mass, your body will build up some fat reserves. While your changing shape may feel distressing, the fact that your body is automatically storing fat to prepare for breastfeeding and boost the nutrient content of your body is quite amazing. In a way, it is a clever survival mechanism, ensuring you and your baby will have better chances if you get stuck in the jungle without food (not as likely these days, but this was very helpful for cavewomen!).
You’ll notice your cleavage is far more ample as your body readies itself as a milk storage unit. Again, this is a natural change but if you’re feeling self-conscious, treat yourself to some professionally fitted bras so you are comfortable and well-supported.
Along with other aches and pains, during pregnancy, you may notice pain in your hips and lower back. This is a result of your ligaments loosening in preparation for childbirth. A health practitioner can give you advice or help to minimise the discomfort and will also let you know what to do after you deliver your baby to strengthen the area (generally some pilates-style leg lifts).
Then there’s the dreaded pelvic floor. Carrying a baby inside you puts a lot of pressure on the group of muscles that supports your bladder, uterus and bowel. When added to the fact that your bladder is being squashed, this could result in ‘accidents’ during and after pregnancy. Yep, that’s a bummer.
At the end of your pregnancy, the baby will come out one way or another! It is very natural to fear tearing or surgical incisions, however you will be in the hands of medical professionals who know what to do to take care of you.
Will pregnancy ruin my body?
None of the above sound like much fun! But if you stood in a room full of women, you could never be sure who has had babies and who hasn’t.
Many of the discomforts of pregnancy (like the full-bladder problem and heartburn) go away as soon as baby arrives. Others, like those back aches and pain from carpal tunnel-like symptoms, will ease quickly as well.
In terms of weight, the baby and the placenta making their way into the world will drop those first pounds/kilos on the spot. You’ll then find yourself doing pregnancy ‘in reverse’, watching your stomach shrink in a lot less time than it took to swell.
While your figure may never be exactly the same, with the help of good diet and exercise, you should be able to return to your original dress size within twelve months. Some women find breastfeeding fast-tracks this and even drop to a weight lower than they started.
‘Downstairs’ generally takes six to twelve weeks to heal but the majority of women don’t suffer from discomfort for the long-term after having a baby. And you can give your pelvic floor a better chance of recovery by keeping up your kegel exercises before and after you deliver.
Celebrate and support your body
Your body is by no means ‘ruined’ by having a baby! Yes, you will notice a difference but instead of focusing on negatives you should always be proud and amazed at what it has achieved.
What’s important is to make sure you give yourself the care you need to enjoy optimal health during and after your pregnancy. Get plenty of rest, eat well and keep your fluid intake up. Don’t put pressure on yourself to ‘snap back’ and focus on enjoying the time you have with your precious bundle.
To reduce bloating naturally during your pregnancy, try Puritea. This special blend is caffeine and sugar-free, and was created to help with digestive discomforts, bloating and eep, wind (yep, that’s another change you’ll notice!)