14 Unbelievable Changes to Your Postpartum Body and Home Remedies That Will Help You
While not every mama can show their postpartum mom’s body after having a baby like Naomi Aja King did (@ajanaomi_king), the one thing all mamas agree on is that our bodies never remain the same again.
And asides from the pressure to bounce back to our shape postpartum (no pressure, mama, give yourself time), there are other challenges the body goes through, and women experience that can be taken care of.
The experience of pregnancy and childbirth transforms your body- sometimes in ways that seem pretty impressive and sometimes weird. During pregnancy and the months following delivery, your body undergoes an equally significant transformation. It’s essential to know these changes and what to do to deal with them.
14 Unbelievable Changes You Should Expect to Your Postpartum Mom Body and Home Remedies That Will Help You Get Your Shape Back
1. Postpartum Body Odour
Generally, body odour occurs when your sweat mixes up with the bacteria on the skin. Even though sweat is odourless, it gives off an offensive body odour.
Postpartum mom body change is likely to cause body odour. Some of these changes include an increase in the way you sweat.
This sweat increase results because your body is eliminating excess liquids. During pregnancy and labour, your body tends to retain many liquids, which is normal, especially if you were given an epidural.
Another mom body change that can cause odour after giving birth is hormonal changes. Due to these hormonal changes, your ability to sense smell may heighten, which means that you can perceive things others don’t. The fluctuation in hormones may also cause you to experience constant changes in your postpartum mom’s body.
Breastfeeding may also lead to body odour and can help guide newborns to the source of food.
I know you are probably wondering if breastfeeding truly makes one smell. Breastfeeding doesn’t cause a body odour. Since the breasts are found very close to your armpits, you tend to give off a stronger smell for them.
Is the postpartum odour forever? No, it isn’t. With time the body odour post-pregnancy will improve.
Even though you may feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, body odour after childbirth is normal and gets better with time. I have experienced this before, and it was stronger with my first child.
When does the body odour after pregnancy go away?
This odour after giving birth varies from one woman to another.
Postpartum odour can linger on for a long time or resolve itself after 12 months. Its ability to go away faster depends on how your body can recover and return to normal.
How Can You Reduce or Eliminate Postpartum Body Odour? (Home Remedies)
You can practice several home routines and remedies regularly to keep body odour post-pregnancy, and they include:
- Having your bath daily
- Shaving out hairs around your genitals and armpits- hairs lock in bacteria and smells and increase them. Therefore, when you have less hair, the smell reduces.
- Use antiperspirants or deodorants
- Refrain from alcohol consumption
- Drink adequate water to stay hydrated
2. Postpartum Joint Pain and Stiffness
A pregnant woman is likely to experience joint pain after giving birth as the body undergoes a series of changes. The cause of the pain is likely to be hormonal changes or inflammation of the joints. Postpartum joint pain symptoms might begin during pregnancy or labour and last several weeks to months after childbirth.
While this postpartum joint pain may affect pregnancy and nursing mothers in different areas, here are some common spots you may experience pains in your postpartum mom’s body.
Postpartum Finger Joint Pain
Postpartum joint pain in the fingers could be due to various factors, including the physical demands of labour and fluid retention.
Labour Physical Demands
While in labour, a woman’s hand could be injured if she holds it in certain positions for too long—such as gripping the side of the bed for an extended period.
As a result of pregnant women’s fluid retention, they are more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition where the hand’s median nerve becomes compressed.
Water retention during pregnancy puts pressure on nerves in the hands and wrists. This can lead to tingling sensations in the hands or numbness, which may last well into postpartum, or a sharp pain in the fingers.
Your doctor can offer some home care suggestions for mild cases. This can include resting your fingers and applying an ice pack on them or using compression bandages around your hands and fingers.
Postpartum Hip Pain
PGP (pelvic girdle pain) is the most common form of hip pain during pregnancy, affecting the pelvis joints. Piriformis syndrome and hyperthyroidism can also cause hip pain after delivery.
The Piriformis syndrome causes pain in the lower back, hips, and legs. Piriformis can affect the nearby sciatic nerve.
Often, hyperthyroidism affects the pelvic girdle because of excessive hormone production by the thyroid gland.
Postpartum Knee Pain
Postpartum knee pain may result from carrying more weight during pregnancy. Still, joint pain may also be a symptom of hyperthyroidism, so if knee pain doesn’t improve after delivery, a person should visit their doctor.
Postpartum Leg Pain
Weight gain during pregnancy can cause spider veins, varicose veins, and stretch marks. While these unsightly conditions do fade with time, they are likely to stick around. Wearing compression socks or leggings after delivery may ease pain from varicose veins.
Home Remedies and Care to Eliminate Postpartum Joint Pains and Stiffness
Home care may be able to relieve pain. For example, a hot water bottle may administer heat to the lower back to ease lumbar pain.
It is also essential to focus on posture and gait to move without putting pressure on the spine. Also, Kegel exercises may be used to manage this condition.
Due to pregnancy and labour’s physical demands, it may not always be possible to prevent postpartum joint pain.
However, some general tips for preventing postpartum joint pain i:
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Eating a lot of vegetables
- Getting enough calcium and vitamin D
- Avoiding caffeine
- Staying physically active
- Wearing supportive footwear
- Strengthening muscles
- Doing stretching and balancing exercises, like yoga
3. Postpartum Fever
You are likely to experience chills or postpartum fever of 101 degrees F or higher. An increase in fever following childbirth may be caused by endometritis- an inflammation of the uterus lining brought on by infection or other conditions.
Sometimes certain infections may occur in the postpartum period. They include pyelonephritis/urinary tract infection, atelectasis, surgical wound infection (for C-section delivery), mastitis, and septic thrombophlebitis.
Home Remedies to Manage or Cure Postpartum Fever
- While a postpartum fever or infection usually is not an emergency, you should speak to your doctor immediately if you experience a disturbing fever after childbirth.
- An untreated infection can quickly become serious. It is vital to alert your physician early if you have a fever.
- Based on your diagnosis and the extent of your condition, your doctor may give you oral or intravenous antibiotics plus other treatments (possibly).
- Take a lot of fluids, preferably water, to prevent dehydration.
- Rest as much as you can to help your body combat the infection
- Your condition should improve within few days of taking your antibiotics. Ensure to finish your dosage.
4. Postpartum Body: Cellulite and Pregnancy
Cellulite during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. Some studies show that approximately 80 percent of women develop cellulite during their lifetime.
A person with cellulite has fat deposits that extrude or herniate into the skin. These deposits can change the texture of the skin, causing two kinds of irregularities.
There are many names used to describe cellulite that has this lumpy, bumpy appearance. Orange peel skin, cottage cheese skin, and lumpy, bumpy skin are just a few. It also occurs as skin dimples- the inward skin depressions.
Postpartum cellulite usually appears in areas with a high presence of fat cells like the hips, abdomen, knees, and thighs. However, you can experience it anywhere. Cellulite can develop as long as there is enough fat on the body.
Postpartum cellulite is not dangerous or deadly. As such, you shouldn’t worry about it affecting your morbidity or mortality for any reason.
Postpartum Mom Body: How Can I Get Rid Of Cellulite?
- You can fight cellulite on your skin with some home remedies and lifestyle changes.
- Some of them include maintaining a good diet, which means that you should invest in vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and high-protein foods.
- Eating foods that provide these nutrients and drinking adequate water will help to rejuvenate your skin. Exercises like light aerobics, swimming, and muscle toning workouts can help burn fat and combat postpartum cellulite.
- But make sure that these exercises suit your body- there are workouts focused on women who give birth through natural birth and those with C-section delivery.
- You can also massage that area of your body with cellulite using anti-cellulite cream or oil.
- To achieve a fast effect, avoid poor eating behaviours, soda drinking, and hot water bathing.
5. Postpartum Mom Body: Abs with Stretch Marks
Also known as “striae gravidarum” in pregnancy, stretch marks are a kind of scar and can happen at any part of the body. Stretch mark on the calf, abs, etc., occurs due to fast weight gain through intensive muscle gains or excessive body fat.
They appear like indented streaks on the skin. Depending on their location on the body, how old they are, and their causes, these stretch marks can be red, pink, black, purple, or blue.
Sometimes, when stretch marks first show they can feel slightly raised, they will eventually feel like slight depressions in your skin. You can also experience an itchy sensation around the affected area.
How I Can Get Rid Of Stretch Marks
- With time, stretch marks become lighter, but they never completely disappear. Although you cannot get rid of them naturally, certain remedies may reduce their appearance.
- You might consider doing some massaging with postpartum belly creams and lotions, and oils that may turn your skin smooth and supple.
- Massage with Oil- Oils like olive oil moisturizes and exfoliates your skin. It also improves blood circulation and removes stretch marks to a great extent. Other types of oils that can combat stretch marks are Vitamin E oil, castor oil, almond oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil.
- You can also rub the affected parts with honey, cocoa butter, or shea butter, as well as sugar, lemon and aloe vera.
- This won’t happen by magic: you’ll have to be patient and persistent, as we said earlier.
6. Postpartum Body Varicose Veins
During pregnancy, a woman’s body’s veins work harder than usual, causing varicose veins to develop or worsen. Pregnant women suffer from varicose veins in about 40 percent of cases.
Varicose veins are characterized by twisted bulging veins, causing your legs to feel heavy, achy, painful, and restless. It can also elevate your risk of developing blood clots, including (DVT) deep vein thrombosis. DVT is a vein disease that happens when blood clots form in one of your deep veins.
Thankfully, varicose veins tend to fade off post-pregnancy in some women once progesterone levels normalize.
However, for others, varicose veins can persist following childbirth. With each more pregnancy, varicose veins will become worse, regardless of your category.
How to Get Rid Of Varicose Veins
- Wear compression leggings or socks to help alleviate varicose veins pain. They help move blood through the veins and muscles of your legs more efficiently and are available at most medical supply stores and pharmacies.
- Work out regularly to lose excess weight- do aerobic exercises like biking, running, swimming, walking, and mild and stretching workouts like yoga. They will help to increase blood flow and enhance better vein health.
- Avoid sitting or standing for too long.
- Elevate your legs to reduce achy, swollen legs and send blood back to your heart for reoxygenation.
- Refrain from lifting heavyweights.
- Consume healthy, balanced diet foods that can help enhance blood circulation. Find foods high in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, ginkgo biloba, bulb plants, nuts, ginger, cayenne pepper, dark chocolate and lycopene-rich foods.
- If you are still experiencing leg swelling, itching, aching, cramping or heaviness, we advise you to see a vein specialist or physician after practicing these home remedies.
7. Postpartum Skin Discolouration
The face can sometimes develop dark patches during pregnancy. This condition refers to melasma or chloasma. Pregnancy hormones are responsible for changing the pigmentation of the skin. Following pregnancy, these hormone levels begin to decline. Some brown patches tend to disappear over time, while others may remain for good.
How to Get Rid Of Postpartum Discolouration
- The best way to return to a healthy complexion is to stay away from the sun.
- Use mild facial cleansers and creams. Your skin problem may be exacerbated if you use products that irritate it.
- Avoid contraceptives containing estrogen (birth control pills, the patch, and the ring), opt for other alternatives, such as birth control implants, the progestin-only minipill, progesterone injections (Depo-Provera), intrauterine device (IUD), or non-hormonal methods (diaphragm).
- Talk to your dermatologist if your condition does not improve within a year.
8. Postpartum Itching/Postpartum Dry Skin
Itchy skin after pregnancy seems different. You feel a crawling sensation around your body. Your skin feels like it is on fire. Although we’re adults and know better not to scratch, sometimes it’s just impossible to resist.
Called pruritus, one very typical experience post-pregnancy is dry, itchy skin. In some cases, postpartum itching is a symptom of an underlying disease.
Most of the time, though, it’s just extremely annoying, and most of the advice is centred on drinking more water and applying moisturizer. Another condition that causes dry, itchy skin is postpartum thyroiditis.
Your hormones can even mess with you to produce this skin and scalp dryness. Due to the dryness, you are likely to experience itching.
How Can I Get Rid Of Postpartum Itching, Dry Skin Or Dry Scalp?
- Drink a lot of water.
- Your shower duration should be short and not very hot to avoid drying out your skin more.
- Apply body moisturizer while your skin is still damp from the shower.
- Use a humidifier.
- Start using a mild, hypoallergenic or fragrance-free soap and laundry detergent.
- Avoid getting stressed out. Stress can cause hormone imbalance with promote skin issues.
9. Postpartum Belly
During pregnancy, the abdomen muscles separate to provide space for the baby to grow, regardless of your shape. This puts a strain on the connective tissues to the abdominal muscles.
The way women respond to hormonal changes varies, so separation may come sooner for some than for others. When you move, like getting out of bed, picking up something, etc., you will experience this strain.
Consequently, the connective tissue and pelvic floor muscles may weaken due to irregularities of the abdomen. Therefore, you must take steps to strengthen your core, muscles to control the damages.
How to Burn your Postpartum Body Belly with Home Remedies
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Don’t skip breakfast.
- Consume fruits and vegetables daily.
- Eat foods rich in fibre like beans, oats, lentils, grains, etc., and starchy foods such as rice, bread, and pasta.
- Take moderate amounts of high fat and sugar foods like biscuits and cakes.
- Perform workouts like push up, planks and crunches to speed up the flat tummy process. But if you are new to exercises, take it slow and do simple workouts.
- Slay in some sexy clothes using body shapers.
10. Swollen Body Parts
Many women experience swelling in their arms, hands, ankles, feet, legs, and faces during pregnancy. Accumulation of body fluids is to blame for this condition. After you deliver, it may take a while for the swelling to go down- this usually happens in the first few days following delivery. However, this postpartum mom body change will gradually improve with time.
This swelling condition is known as water retention or postpartum edema caused due to an increase in progesterone. If postpartum edema lasts longer than usual or worsens, see your doctor.
How You Can Reduce Postpartum Edema
- When resting or sleeping, lie on your left side.
- Relax with your feet up.
- Wear loose clothing to keep cool.
- Hydrate well. This will help your body to release excess fluid more quickly.
- You can boost your potassium levels by eating foods like bananas, potatoes, avocados, and spinach.
- You should avoid drinking caffeine as it causes your body to retain water and makes you swell.
- Put on comfortable shoes.
- Put on compression socks.
- Don’t eat salty foods as sodium can cause you to retain water.
- Increase circulation by walking or moving around daily.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Get a massage.
If you experience difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain, see your doctor immediately, as these can indicate pulmonary edema that requires immediate attention.
11. Postpartum Mom Body: Breast Engorgement
Another postpartum mom body changes you may experience is swelling and soreness of your breasts, also known as breast engorgement. During this time, your breasts will swell as they fill with milk.
Typically, it occurs several days after giving birth. Your breasts may feel tender and sore. Regular breastfeeding usually alleviates the discomfort. If you are not nursing, this engorgement may last until your breasts stop producing milk, usually within a few days.
How to Relieve Breast Engorgement
- Feed your baby breast milk. You shouldn’t skip feedings or wait a long time between them.
- Using a breast pump or your hands, express a small amount of milk from your breast before breastfeeding your baby.
- You can stimulate milk flow by taking a hot shower or by placing warm towels on your breasts. Put cold packs on your breasts if your engorgement is extremely painful.
- Wear nursing pads in your bra if your breasts leak between feedings, so your clothes don’t get wet.
- If your breasts tend to swell and hurt, tell your physician.
- Wear a supportive, firm bra (like a sports bra) if you do not plan on breastfeeding.
12. Postpartum Hair Loss
During pregnancy, your hair may have appeared thicker and fuller. Pregnancy makes you lose less hair because of high hormone levels in your body. You might notice thinning hair after giving birth to your baby.
It is even possible to lose hair. Usually, hair loss stops six months after giving birth. Within a year, your hair should regain its fullness.
Home Remedies to Prevent or Stop Postpartum Hair Loss
- Consume a lot of vegetables and fruits. The nutrients in veggies and fruits may help to protect your hair from breakage and promote growth.
- You should treat your hair delicately. Avoid wearing tight ponytails, rollers or braids as these can stress and pull your hair from its root.
- Make sure your hairdryer is set to cool.
13. Postpartum Constipation
Generally, constipation is characterized by difficulty in passing stools (poop) or a frequent lack of them. You may also experience painful gas. It may take three or four days after delivery before a woman has her first bowel movement.
How to Treat Postpartum Constipation Using Home Remedies
- Take more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains or foods high in fibre to keep your bowel movement regular.
- Ensure that you drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of fluid every day. This fluid should be more of water; you can also try taking fruits or prune juice.
- Sitz baths and OTC creams can help to relieve hemorrhoid discomfort.
- Narcotic pain relievers are likely to worsen the condition, therefore, minimize their use.
- If postpartum constipation lingers for a long while, contact your healthcare provider. Your midwife or doctor may prescribe a stool softener or check for underlying factors.
- It is vital to ask your health provider about the right medicine to take.
14. Postpartum Yeast Infection
Many mothers contract a yeast infection within a few weeks after delivery.
Vaginal yeast infections result from an imbalance between the acid and the yeast. The use of antibiotics can affect the typical microbial environment of the vagina- as it eliminates all bacteria (good and bad).
Glycogen facilitates yeast growth. However, many medical practitioners believe that estrogen is directly related to growth speed, which may explain why pregnancy is associated with yeast infections.
Symptoms of a postpartum yeast infection primarily affect the vagina and vulva. Common symptoms may include irritation, redness, itchiness and foul-smelling vagina discharge. You may also experience painful sex and burning sensations while urinating.
How Can I Cure or Reduce Yeast Infection?
A common way to cure yeast infections is by the use of antifungal medications. You can get these medications over the counter, but seeking a proper health diagnosis is vital before self-treating.
You can try out certain home remedies to combat or get rid of yeast infection. Some of them include:
- Greek yogurt and probiotics supplements
Greek yogurt is an edible probiotic that can help to restore the bacteria-yeast balance through your body. Alternatively, you can use probiotics supplements and pills to achieve the same purpose and eliminate harmful microorganisms.
- Boric acid
Some study shows that boric acid is a potent antiseptic that helps treat yeast infections.
- Oregano oil
A study in 2017 discovered that oregano essential oil is effective in altering and preventing the growth of C. Albicans
- Tea tree oil
This essential oil can also kill the activities of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. A study shows that tea tree oil possesses antifungal properties and may help to treat vaginal infections.
- Apple cider vinegar, garlic, and hydrogen peroxide are also very powerful yeast infection-fighting natural substances. You will begin to feel relieved from day one of use.
Most home remedies show relief within a few days; others may take up to one week.
If your symptoms worsen or experience any new symptoms while you are undergoing treatment, please contact your physician. In addition, if you feel persistent irritation separate from the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should see your doctor.
How to Get Rid Of Smelly Discharge after Birth
Your vagina has a natural odour, and each woman’s odour is different. Your vagina naturally cleanses itself. When you let your vagina keep its own pH, it can naturally combat unhealthy bacteria.
However, if your odour drastically changes, you might be experiencing a sign of a medical issue.
You may have more than just an unusual vaginal odour if you have strong odours, itching, irritation, and unusual discharge. If you have unusual vaginal odours, the following remedies may help you.
It would help if you bathed your thigh area: The gentle touch of a washcloth removes dirt, sweat, and dead skin. You can use a mild soap outside your genitals.
Change your undies. Change to 100 percent cotton pants if you usually dress in satin, silk, or polyester. Cotton fabric is breathable.
Look Into pH Products. Using over-the-counter (OTC) products may help restore your vaginal pH.
Use Essential Oils. Many essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, making them useful both for reducing and eliminating bacteria.
Treatments prescribed by a physician can eliminate underlying causes of foul odours. You may have the best option if your home and over-the-counter medicines don’t work to see your doctor.
How I Can Support My Partner Through This Postpartum Mom Body Journey
The American Psychological Association estimates one in nine women experiences postpartum depression. Approximately 80 percent of moms experience some baby blues, characterized by feelings of worry, gloom, or fatigue experienced in the weeks after having a baby.
Here are some of the ways you can support your partner during this postpartum mom body journey.
Help Around The House
Cleaning up without having to be asked not only eases her physical burden of doing household chores it can also relieve any worries about not having a tidy house.
Help Out With Chores and Heavy Duties
Not only will she be relieved from a physically demanding household duty, but there will also be fewer worries regarding dirt and dust in the home.
Reassure Her That Her Feelings Are Valid
At some point, she may blame herself or go wild for having all these psychological and physical changes. Whenever her hormones get the best of her, try to remind and reassure her that it is a normal phase that will fade away with time.
Make Sure She Takes Time for Herself
She could get so overwhelmed with the task of caring for her baby, plus enduring her short night sleep, that she forgets to engage in self-care. You can help to relieve her of some duties so that she can take care of herself.
Suggest That You Both Speak to Someone
If her mood swings and postpartum mom’s body are beyond your control or are affecting your relationship, the both of you could visit a therapist.
Communicate, But Most Importantly, Listen
Support Her in Getting Help
Be there for her: sometimes, you don’t need to say anything to her- Your presence alone could mean a lot to her. She will know that she isn’t fighting her battles alone.
In a Nutshell
Although postpartum discomforts are common, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether they are related to the recovery process or another issue altogether.
The recovery period after birth typically takes weeks or months, particularly if you are caring for your newborn at the same time. Please give yourself and your body time and grace as you heal and return to normal. However, you should always contact your physician with any questions or concerns regarding your postpartum mom body changes.