Handling the changes your body goes through during pregnancy.

Let me just start off with – your body is amazing!

Not like- in a “Hey girl, your body is a wonderland” kind of way-

What I’m saying is, take a step back and look in awe and wonder at what miracles your body can perform.

Will perform.
Has performed.
All of the above!

getting in shape after having a baby

Before I had kids, I always wanted to prove myself. I wanted to be the strongest, hardest worker.

I wanted to climb the highest mountain.

I wanted to be the fastest, most daring, persevering young woman that could do anything, and nothing would get in my way.

And then I had my first baby …

And that persevering woman did not go away – oh no – she was there more than ever.

I just didn’t feel that need to prove myself anymore, because this was the most amazing, trying, tiring, miraculous thing I had ever done. (And each day is another challenge!)

We all did it, ladies! Some of us multiple times, too.

Our bodies have been through it all, and we know each others pain, to a certain degree of course. We are strong, and we become the strongest version of ourselves once those tiny little humans come into our worlds!

We can brave this storm!

As a mother of 2, I’ve seen a fair share of the craziness of having children.
(Cue laughter and head shaking from moms with 3+ kids … )

I want to hear YOUR story, because each story is different, but each an absolute miracle.

Pregnancy, birth and the postpartum months, and even years, can be beautiful, but also confusing and difficult times.

If you’d like to learn more about pregnancy and postpartum ANATOMY focusing on the core and abdominal muscles, and how to safely exercise without injury after birth, come on over to our post on Where Is My Body? Postpartum Fitness

I had so many fears about what would happen to my body in my first pregnancy.
And maybe for good reason … I gained 70 lbs! (*cough*-closer to 80 with # 2!!)

7.5 months pregnant with #1 –
(Yellowstone National park, if you are wondering why it looks like i’m in a volcano with my pregnant self!)

getting in shape after baby

My doctor was not concerned at my weight gain.

But the people in the check out line at the store certainly were –
I don’t know how many times I was asked if I was having twins,
or got “WOW. You are BIG.”

With # 2- I got even bigger … I gained 80 lbs …

(8 months with #2)

loosing weight after a bay
But this time around I was ready for it!
My weight gain was just my body’s response to pregnancy.

I was active and ate healthy
(But definitely guilty of indulging in treats- it’s true … )

My babies were happy and healthy.

Now let’s talk about …Stretch marks

Battle scars. Tiger stripes. We earned them!

Do not worry about stretch marks!
Seriously, if you get them, they will fade. Even if they are BIG, they will turn silver, and won’t be as noticeable as when they were fresh.

I worried so much about stretch marks. But, how was my belly supposed to get that big without them?

Woman showing stretch marks on her lower abdomen following child birth caused by the tearing of the dermis layer of the skin

What can I do heal and prevent stretch marks?

A healthy diet:
Drink lots of WATER!!!
Take your prenatal vitamins, of course!

Drink a green smoothie in the morning, if possible. (I had a vegetable aversion when i was pregnant, it was a challenge to eat veggies, so smoothies helped a TON)
Make sure you are eating enough healthy fats too!

Every mom should have a good blender, not only for your healthy smoothies as you are on the GO, but for homemade baby food!

Moisturize!
I have always suffered from eczema and extremely dry skin, and during pregnancy stretch marks were an issue for my skin. Unfortunately they are in my genes too!
Not only did I not like the look of them, they HURT!

BUT- I discovered unrefined pure raw Shea butter during my second pregnancy,
along with Castor oil, and natural Aloe Vera.
And of course the wonderful world of essential oils.

Frankincense and lavender are two of my favorite oils for this recipe, as they are both soothing to the skin and have anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Shea butter, castor oil, and aloe vera all work great on their own for stretch marks or just to relieve that awful PUPPPS rash

Or,  mix them together in a ratio that works well for your skin.

For my stretch marks or even just as a deep moisturizer, I used a ratio of 3 parts shea butter, 2 parts Castor oil, and 4 parts aloe vera. To top it off, add 5-10 drops essential oil of your choice, you can add less or more depending on your comfort level.

I asked my doctor if this concoction was safe and I got the OK.

You can always double check with your doctor if handmade lotions are new to you, and if you a paranoid pregnant lady like I was! My biggest concern was the castor oil, but Doc said as long as I didn’t swallow it- it was fine.

Belly Rescue Rub Baseline Recipe:

Ingredients:

  1. Glass Jar with lid – I like to use these pretty reusable jars 
  2. Tongs, pot holders, spatula, whisk or electric hand mixer or immersion blender 
  3. Shea butter
  4. Castor Oil
  5. Aloe vera gel
  6. Essential oil(s) of your choice

Instructions:

  • Place the shea butter and castor oil into a glass jar, and place the jar into a saucepan filled with and inch or so of water.
  • Bring the water to a boil, and melt the shea butter mixing it into the castor oil, inside the jar.
  • Once melted, WITH A POT HOLDER OR TONGS remove the jar from the hot pan, and set in a safe spot.
  • Let cool until you see the mixture begin to thicken. This could take an hour or longer.
  • Once the mixture starts to thicken up, whip in your aloe. Depending on the brand of aloe you are using, you might need to play with the consistency.
  • You can hand whip with a whisk or use an electric mixer.
  • Again, the ratio of ingredients you use is specific to your skin type and preference, so some experimentation is bound to happen!
  • Feel free to use this as a baseline recipe and add in different types of oils and butters as you please!
  • Keep in mind, you can use each of these products on their own if you want to see how each one benefits your skin on its own.
  • Now, smother that belly! (and really, everything—!

Belly Rescue Rub Baseline Recipe

Belly Rescue Rub Baseline Recipe
Stretch marks moisturizer for pregnancy and postpartum stretch marks.

Ingredients

  • Glass Jar with lid
  • Tongs, pot holders, spatula, whisk or electric hand mixer
  • Shea butter
  • Castor Oil
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Essential oil(s) of your choice

Instructions

Place the shea butter and castor oil into a glass jar, and place the jar into a saucepan filled with and inch or so of water. Bring the water to a boil, and melt the shea butter mixing it into the castor oil, inside the jar. Once melted, WITH A POT HOLDER OR TONGS remove the jar from the hot pan, and set in a safe spot. Let cool until you see the mixture begin to thicken. This could take an hour or longer.

Once the mixture starts to thicken up, whip in your aloe. Depending on the brand of aloe you are using, you might need to play with the consistency. You can hand whip with a whisk or use an electric mixer.

Again, the ratio of ingredients you use is specific to your skin type and preference, so some experimentation is bound to happen! Feel free to use this as a baseline recipe and add in different types of oils and butters as you please! Keep in mind, you can use each of these products on their own if you want to see how each one benefits your skin on its own.   Now, smother that belly! (and really, everything---!

Now, how about that swelling?

Raise your (swollen) hand if you have dealt with swelling!!!

So swollen. And Pale!

I tell ya, posting these pictures is a big step for me. But I know some of you ladies were right here with me after birth, and maybe even in the months leading up to birth.

I looked GREAT (***sarcasm***)

How to deal with swelling postpartum and during pregnancy

Limit your salt intake! Don’t over do it, and if you do, balance it out with water or—–

Drink Beet juice, or beet smoothies
Beets help reduce inflammation, and have been used for a long time to treat edema (swelling)

Use fresh beets, or beet root juice powder 

Add in frozen berries, frozen pineapple, banana and-or OJ for flavor and additional nutrients
Yet again another great reason to have a blender, a mom’s best friend!

Balance your activity with rest
Too much time on your feet? Take a break, sit down, elevate your feet for 10 minutes.
Drink WATER, have some beet juice! Get one of these gigantic water bottles!
If you have to stand for long periods of time, keep a small stool with you if possible, and alternate standing one foot on the stool, then the other.
If you have to sit for long periods of time, allow yourself 5-10 minute breaks every hour to walk a few laps and get blood flowing, or invest in an exercise ball chair!

Light exercise

Walking, yoga, swimming, cycling, or any other light exercise can help improve circulation and swelling. Looking for ideas on light exercise? As long as you are cleared by your doctor, pregnant women can also join in on Where Is My Body? Postpartum Fitness.

Curious about how in the world your body is going to return? Belly Anatomy – Explore the Core looks closely at the abdominal muscles and connective tissues to supplement your journey back to fitness!

Mamas, there is a lot going on in your life right now. Try to take it easy on yourselves!
It is normal to feel overwhelmed. Need some support? Come with me to Mom support: Baby Blues & Postpartum Depression – you are not alone!

As we are taking care of everyone else, We can’t forget about ourselves!

About 1 year post baby #2- still a hot mess, but feeling more like my old self!

 

Conclusion for Postpartum Body Changes:

While I was pregnant and after I had my baby, I spent countless minutes on the internet trying to find a solution or at least someone to relate to about my body. I was so self conscious and felt terrible because all I could find were these women who somehow had a 6 pack directly after giving birth. I was so lost!

Now when I look back, I wish I had more patience. Time will heal and strengthen your body after birth! Even if you gained 80 pounds like me or more, your body can really surprise you. Honestly, I was really sad about losing my baby weight when I expected to be ecstatic about it. Oh, the postpartum roller coaster of emotions!

Exercise is definitely needed during pregnancy and after birth. Even if you aren’t concerned about your weight, your mental and emotional health is also greatly impacted my exercise; or he lack of exercise. 

Be amazed, be blown away by the way your body can transform in these magnificent ways and create life! Do not get so caught up in what you look like.

Don’t try to squeeze into those old clothes. Take time to enjoy your body the way it is- you will miss it, or at least some aspects of your body right now. 

Focus on holding your baby close when you get overwhelmed. Think about how in just one year, you will be chasing that little baby who is now a toddler all over the place, and burning calories like crazy!

Give credit to all your body has been through, all it has done, and all it continues to do! Your body might not look the same as it did before, but you’re still a hot mama! 

Your body is even more deserving of self care and self respect than ever before, and deserves just as much love if not more than before. If anyone loves you less because of the changes in your body, then they need to check themselves!

 

Here are some helpful links for dealing with stretch marks:

 

If you love this post, please pin this image to your Pregnancy or New Baby Pinterest Board:

Related posts for Transforming your Body: Pregnancy and Postpartum Transformations:

Thank you for reading our postpartum body transformations!