When Will My Bump Go Down?
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It is very hard to say for definite when your baby bump will go down after the birth of your child. Take a straw poll around the playground mums or your NCT group and the chances are the responses will range from a few weeks to a few years. Some women bounce back to their pre-baby shape very quickly, while for others it takes much longer. Sometimes women say they never got their old shape back.
Jeans and the bump
The good news is that most women are able to pack away their pregnancy jeans within the month. The bad news: the old jeans may not fit the way they used to for a little while longer! The one thing that is true for all women is that you will still have a sizeable bump in the days after giving birth. Even though the baby, amniotic fluid and placenta have all been delivered, you'll still be quite a lot bigger than you were before pregnancy.
There are several reasons for that post-partum pregnant look that have nothing to do with weight gain. One is the leftover fluids which will bloat your belly for the first few days after delivery but will flush out naturally within the week. Another is the still enlarged uterus which gives the abdomen a pregnant appearance until it gradually reduces to pre-pregnancy size and slips back into the pelvis. This is usually around six to eight weeks after your baby is born.
Breastfeeding your baby will help your tummy get back into shape because it helps your uterus to contract. That painful twinge in your stomach similar to a period pain when you are feeding and in the days after birth is actually your uterus contracting. The knowledge that this pain is helping to bring your tummy back in makes it all the easier to bear!
For the lucky few, this will be it. Their pregnancy pounds are shed without too much effort and their stomachs will be back to normal in a month or two. However, the vast majority will continue to look a little pregnant well after their baby arrives. This is primarily because of stretched out abdominal muscles and skin rather than any remaining pregnancy weight.
Toning the tummy
For most women, even after weight loss is accomplished, returning the stomach to pre-baby tone will require a bit more than waiting for time and nature to take their course. In fact, it will sag for a lifetime unless a concerted effort is made with their exercise regime.
A saggy tummy can be tightened up with exercise, and excess weight will gradually drop off if you eat and exercise sensibly. You don't need to be at the gym every day - walking and being a little more active will do wonders. The main thing is to recognise that everyone is different and to not beat yourself up if six months down the line you aren't ready to jump into a bikini.
Pregnancy lasts around nine months and you should give yourself at least that long to get back into shape again. Each woman is different and for most women the old adage 'no pain, no gain' is the absolute truth - a balanced diet and effective exercise regime are your strongest tools The standard media portrayal of celebrity mothers back in their size 8 clothes with a 2 week old baby gives women unrealistic expectations of themselves. Most of these women in the public eye have childcare, personal trainers and dieticians. They have people ensuring they get enough sleep, people preparing them healthy food and people motivating them to exercise - and someone else doing the washing, the ironing, the cooking and the cleaning. For most of us, post-baby life is considerably different, although some might say more enjoyable in some ways. While getting your old body back is important for your self esteem, don't obsess over it such that it overshadows the enjoyable side of motherhood.