Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
I was asked the above question the other day by someone who is currently 6 months pregnant. She had just been to her NCT class where the teacher said something along the lines of; “Don’t worry, it’s your first child and you’re in your 20s so your body will just bounce back”. It’s comments like this, from people that should really know better, that drive me nuts.
Here’s the truth; Yes, your body will recover easier in your 20s than it would if you’re in your late 30s but to say that “it’ll bounce back” as if it’s nothing is just not right.
Pregnancy, though it might seem magical and lovely, once you’ve forgotten about the throwing up, feeling queezy, sore boobs etc, is actually quite traumatic on the body.
For a lot of women there is no “bouncing back” after pregnancy. Your body feels weird, and foreign. Your belly sticks out and doesn’t get flatter. Your nipples are chewed to crap by your lovely new baby. Your hips, knees and ankles hurt. Your bum, though bigger, seems somehow flatter. Your neck cramps up all the time and your posture has gone to pot. And to top all that off you can’t remember the last time you slept through the night and you’re always stressed.
But you love him.
Oh yeah, and that baby weight isn’t falling off during breastfeeding like you were told it would.
So how are you supposed to feel now? This is the reason I see so many women whose confidence is completely gone and who are borderline suffering from post-natal depression.
It’s very simple; Your body will ALWAYS be different after you’ve given birth.
There is no post-baby body that is exactly the same as the pre-baby body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Beyonce, Katherine Middleton, Jessica Ennis-Hill or a “normal” mom, the pre-baby body is gone and the sooner the myth that “Your body will bounce back” is dispelled the better.
Your post-baby body can be stronger, your belly can be flatter, your bum can be firmer, you can be more confident in your post-baby body than you ever were pre-baby. But you have to work at it! These things don’t magically happen by themselves.
I always compare the trauma your body is going through when pregnant to someone breaking a leg.
Just walk it off mate…it’ll bounce back.
If you broke a leg you wouldn’t just think “it’ll bounce back”. You’d take action; You’d go to hospital where they put everything back in place, then secure the leg, tell you to take it easy for a while, walk with crutches or something, and then do your strengthening exercises or physio. Afterwards your leg will be completely healed, and you can do whatever you want without fear of it breaking again. The post-natal experience should be similar to this.
I get a lot of ladies who say; “I bounced back, no problem, after my first. It was my second where everything went wrong and my Diastasis Recti and hip problems got really bad”, and this is where the NCT lady’s myth comes from.
Yes, the effects of your 2nd pregnancy were more severe because you didn’t really “bounce back”. Everything seemed OK after your first but you never really healed properly and it all went to pot during the 2nd pregnancy because your body still had weak-spots in all the usual places.
As I’ve written about many times before; it doesn’t matter how long ago you gave birth, most issues can always be resolved. I have had clients who gave birth 2, 6 and even 20+ years ago who see results and get stronger every week just by doing the right exercises and putting in some effort.
I said be strong and confident but let’s not get carried away.
You can do this yourself or by getting a professional to help you out a little bit, there’s plenty of us out there, just make sure you do it and feel happy and confident in your own skin.