But to pretend or expect that all of these changes, changes that took approximately 10 months to take place, can revert immediately after an event that takes 12-24 hrs is nonsense.
When I was pregnant, I tracked and plotted my weight, for scientific curiosity and to keep a record of what was going on. As a point of comparison, I used an online application that gives you an estimate of an expected healthy pregnancy weight gain (within a range) based on your initial weight and height. During the first months, the increase in weight was slow, you barely saw any difference. My clothes fit well until I was around 20 weeks pregnant when I finally gave in and started wearing the glorious, elastic maternity jeans. I did have a belly, but at the beginning it was not a round, typical pregnant belly. The last time I weighed myself was at 33 weeks, the day my waters broke and I was admitted at the hospital sometime around 4 a.m. By then I had already put 10 kg (22 lb). I think, had I reached full-term, I was probably going to put around 12 kg (26.5 lb).
|33 weeks pregnant, 1 day postpartum, 1 week postpartum|
When I gave birth, I lost around 4 kg (baby Y. weighed 1.9 kg), and my weight stayed that way for quite a while. At around 8 weeks postpartum, a couple of weeks after the "official" 6-weeks recovery period, I had lost a further 3 kg, which means I still had around 3 kg. left. At 12 weeks postpartum I was 1.5 kg above my pre-pregnancy weight. However, though, some of my pre-pregnancy pants (albeit elastic corduroys) fit almost straight away. I tried my most beloved pair of jeans at about 5 weeks post-partum. I was so determined to make sure they'd close that in doing so, I ripped the zipper.
|1, 2 and 5 weeks postpartum respectively|
But I think by around 3 months post-baby and after a trip to the tailor I started wearing them again. I had read stories of women who even when all of the pregnancy weight is gone end up with a different body shape. (This, by the way, is completely natural: bodies change with time, with continual exposition to hormonal cycles, with age related processes, with variations in metabolism). I certainly have a soft, curviness that wasn't there before, but I don't think my hips got wider after pregnancy and birth (probably because at 33, they had already done so).
|Weeks 6, 10, 12 postpartum|
This morning, 6 months and a half after baby Y's birth, I weighed myself and I am now 1.5 kg under my pre-pregnancy weight. I kind of suspected this because some clothes that used to fit just well are starting to fall down my hips these last few weeks. I have the appetite of a trucker, I am taking vitamins specifically designed for breastfeeding as well as lots of good fats and protein sources (plenty of avocados, chia seeds, full fat yoghurt, orange juice, eggs, beans, lentils, and red meat whenever I crave it). I make sure I am eating enough. (But maybe I'm not?) I credit breastfeeding for this apparent speed in my metabolism, though I still have to set myself up to start some kind of exercise routine to make my core stronger and to get some kind of semblance of fitness, even if such program takes place in the living room. Do you know of any good programs to follow? Preferably easy ones for a girl who has never been the sporty kind?
|This weekend, 27 weeks postpartum. Note the flamingo obsession.|
On a related note, have you heard of the 4th trimester bodies project? I think what this photographer is doing is amazing, empowering, and truly needed.
* First image via Elle Nederland
** Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy. Hytten F. Clin Haematol. 1985 Oct;14(3):601-12.