Post birth “snap back” is an unrealistic expectation of any woman on this planet. Yet I see it every time I wait in the grocery line.
The shelves are filled with glossy pages of celebs who have recently snapped back from a pregnancy and are looking better than ever. However, these articles and interviews of famous celebs don’t touch upon the physical reasons why post birth snap back shouldn’t be something to strive for, and can’t be achieved immediately after having a baby. Let’s be honest; making people feel badly about themselves is a marketing scheme in our media-centred society. If a woman feels terrible about herself after having a child, somebody out there is going to make a lot of money from that situation. Education is key to understanding how things work after giving birth.
Snap Back is Unrealistic: Pain After Giving Birth
- After a woman has a vaginal birth, the perineal area (space between the rectum and vagina) will be swollen, sore, and sometimes torn. It will be anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to very painful for three to five weeks. Even if she has a c-section, there will still be pain from the surgery.
- She will also experience ‘after pains,’ when the uterus continues to contract for a few days after giving birth.
- Constipation is common during this initial time as well. Even when a woman can go to the washroom, sore muscles, hemorrhoids, and any tears will make it painful.
Snap Back is Unrealistic: Physical Changes in the Body
- In the days following child birth, a woman may experience hot and cold flashes as her body adjusts to hormonal shifts and blood flow.
- After birth, her body will discard of the uterine lining, in a process called lochia. Similar to a period, she will bleed heaviest in the beginning weeks and it will then taper off.
- A woman’s breasts will engorge and she may be very sensitive or sore.
Snap Back is Unrealistic: Emotional Changes
- ‘Baby blues’ is a mixture of sadness, irritability, and anxiety felt by a new mother in the first several days after giving birth because of hormonal changes and exhaustion. Forced happiness is not realistic during this time.
- Pregnancies can be expected or unexpected and some women experience a sense of overwhelming responsibility at the thought that a human being depends solely on them. That can be a very scary realization.
- It is estimated that about 10% of women develop postpartum depression after having a child. However, this number is probably much higher as it often goes under reported.
This list offers proof that a woman should be gentle with herself after giving birth. She should not feel the added pressure of looking like a model on top of her new motherly duties. As a matter of fact, weight loss happens naturally in the form of amniotic fluids and the placenta as the body tries to remove any excess fluids while hormone levels stabilize. Ultimately, being a new mom should give a woman time to recover and just take it easy.