It's no secret that pregnancy changes your body, and that those changes can last long after delivery. These changes go beyond weight gain and affect several different systems in your body. For example, you are more likely to develop varicose veins because the volume of blood in your body increases, which can cause the veins in your legs to become swollen and distended. Often, those swollen, ropy veins remain, even after you have given birth, and your blood volume has returned to normal.
There are surgical procedures that can help you get your pre-pregnancy body back, but these procedures are not necessarily accessible to everyone, nor are they everyone's cup of tea. There are also things you can do during and after your pregnancy that can help you have a healthy body and quick recovery.
Start with Good Foundation Garments
If you are like a lot of pregnant women, you probably put a lot of thought into your outward appearance, and finding clothing that was both flattering and comfortable. Unfortunately, you might not put as much thought into what goes underneath that clothing.
The truth is that pregnancy-specific foundation garments will give you the support you need and help prevent some of the effects of pregnancy. For example, maternity tights provide mild compression in the legs, which encourages blood flow and can help prevent varicose veins; maternity support belts help support the weight of the belly, and relieve pressure and pain in the lower back; and maternity bras offer flexible support for growing breasts, and protect against leakage.
By giving your body the support it needs during pregnancy, you can actually ease your recovery after delivery. As an added bonus, good foundation garments also improve your appearance before and during the recovery period.
Get a Good Support Team
One of the best ways to recover from childbirth is to get enough rest to give your body time to heal. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done with a newborn. This is why it is important to have a good support team of friends and relatives who can step in and help out, so that you will have time to rest and recover.
It can take up to 12 weeks for your hormones and blood volume levels to return to normal. Having people help you during those first crucial weeks can go a long way to easing your recovery. These same people can also help ensure that you are getting enough calories, and eating the right foods, to support both healing and milk production.
Once the initial 12 weeks have passed, you can begin exercising and adjusting your diet. For the best results, you should consult with a dietitian to help you come up with a healthful eating plan. You should also consider working with a personal trainer to help you ease into an effective exercise plan.
The most important thing to remember is that it took nine months for your body to change. Because your body did not change overnight, and it's not going to immediately change back either. If you try to push yourself too fast, or too hard, you could end up doing yourself more harm than good.
Slow and steady wins the race, so you need to give yourself the time you need to recover, and the time you need for your body to return to normal. Sometimes this could mean something as simple as rejoicing in the small milestones instead of fretting over the bigger losses yet to come.
Avoid drastically cutting calories, or engaging in over-strenuous exercise before your body is ready. The more patience you have for yourself and your body, the more likely you will be successful in getting your pre-baby body back.