You've watched your body form itself into a hospitable nook for your gestating babe over the past nine months, and you're inching towards your due date expectantly. At this point, you're likely wondering what other bodily transformations you should be anticipating over the next few weeks. Will you return to your pre-baby size once the star has made her exit? Not immediately. Here's what'll happen to your stomach your first week postpartum so you can be adequately prepared.
According to a Fit Pregnancy interview given by Sarah B. Krieger, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women lose an average of 12 pounds right after giving birth — a glorious combination of baby's weight, blood, fluids, and amniotic fluid. Since pregnancy weight gain recommendations vary depending on the pre-conception body of the individual woman, this may or may not be a significant amount of her pregnancy weight. Still, it feels pretty good to drop 12 pounds in 12 hours. (Although, let's be honest: you've never worked harder for it.)
One week after giving birth, your body should be on the road to recovery and you will likely be feeling much better, taking sleep deprivation and hormones into consideration of course. Although the weight will steadily continue to fall off as you continue to "pee out" a lot of fluid, the odds are your stomach will still be nothing short of flabby, and you may begin feeling discouraged about how foreign your body looks. Krieger cautioned readers not to step on that scale just yet, but rather look to how your clothes are fitting instead. Just look at how saggy those maternity jeans are, you wisp of a thing you.
It's important to remember that although your baby is finally on your exterior, your interior is still reeling from change. Your uterus is still much larger than normal, noted Parents, and it will take six to 10 weeks to shrink back to its original size and location. In the meantime, expect the appearance of your stomach to reflect that enlargement.
If your goal is to shed those pregnancy pounds, there's a popular saying that goes "nine months on, nine months off." Keep in mind your body didn't accumulate those 40 pounds overnight, and it can't lose them overnight either. Patience is the name of the game, and it can be seriously hard to wait. Sometimes the best encouragement comes from other women who are in the same boat, or who were not long ago.
Babble compiled a great piece celebrating the different shapes a woman's postpartum stomach can take, and scrolling through the personal pictures that dozens of women submitted may give you an empowering feeling of solidarity. Following the "Take Back Postpartum" hashtag on Instagram is never a bad idea either. However you do it, it's much easier to honor your body and the miracle of procreation it performed.