How long does it really take for the post baby body to 'bounce back'?
We are all so hard on ourselves to look a certain way after pregnancy. We ask ourselves and our physicians ‘when will I get my body back’? I know after our 2nd son Cooper was born I declared 2016 the ‘return of me’ which led me to deep dive into all sorts of post natal health and fitness research, and then try them out for size. Getting ‘your body back’ has to be defined by the individual. But in my view, every women, body. mind and experience is different! I'm not sure we ever really truly 'bounce back'. It's a lot of pressure on a woman to simply 'bounce back' after 9mths of growing a human. However, it's a question many of us ask regardless. So how long does the body physically and mentally take for the body and mind to return to normal-ish?
Anxiety, childbirth, pregnancy, breast feeding and sleep deprivation all take their toll on a new mum’s health and fitness. It can also change our mindset about being fit and healthy post kids. I’m not sure the body and mind will ever truly return to the pre-baby state. I swear baby brain is now a permanent fixture. So what are the facts? Is it weeks, months or years? I mean, a doctor ‘signs you off’ after 6 weeks post birth. It takes 9 to 10 months for your body to flex and grow as your baby develops, and in my case, under 3 hours to push our 9 pound Cooper out of a very very very small hole.
But the truth is, according to various studies on hundreds of mothers, it can take up to 1-2 years for your body to get back to 'normal', but even so, it's a 'new normal' that many of us may hold like long term ‘injuries’ and scars from having our little bundles of joy too. I know this all too well. For 3 years I suffered lower back pain ( 'parental injury' after my first born Charlie ) which held me back from getting the body moving, in the right way. ( For the Lower Back Stretch Routine that got me back on my feet again, click here ). My other 'new normal' realities are flat pita bread for boobs, stretch marks on my hips, saggy tummy skin etc. Lovely. Relationships, personal self-worth, finances and health are also all put through the mill in the first 12 months.
It's common we zero-in on the post pregnancy tummy. It can take up to 2 years for your abdominal wall to recover. Diastasis Recti ( abdominal separation ), depending on the severity, can be complicated to bring back into line too. I have it, and since Cooper was 4mths I started to do a little core work every week to help. But depending on where you are on the recovery timeline, there are lots of small things we can do to gently strengthen the core as we heal.
So my lovely mummies, go easy on yourselves. You are beautiful no matter what. Enjoy the early stages of having a new baby. Be kind to yourself and just be wary of the time your body realistically needs to recover. This isn’t a license to eat cake forever, but I have an amazing healthy guilt free recipe if you really must! Click here to find my Easiest Chocolate Ganache.
I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below if you have any experiences to share!