The nine months of pregnancy are usually planned so well that most pregnant women always know what to eat and what not to, what exercises they should carry out and which ones they should avoid.
Women usually do a lot of preps for this time of their lives but few of them care about a thing after childbirth. For many, all the attention shifts to the baby, while others simply just don’t care anymore, hence abandoning their bodies and health.
For the latter category, it is not uncommon to find them wake up and start to care after suffering consequences such as weight gain, big bust and all that comes with giving birth. This is when sleepless nights, loss of independence and weight worries all contribute to a crisis of confidence.
Post-pregnancy confidence is that moment when feel ‘saggy’, ‘fat’ and ‘unattractive’ in the months after giving birth. Just the realisation that you no longer fit in your old clothes is enough to give a new mother’s confidence a real knock.
A woman will get that feeling of comparing herself to other mothers, usually celebrity moms and other women in magazines.
Such a situation is especially worse for the dot.com woman in the corporate world.
According to Dr Tekle G. Egiziabher, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Rwanda Military Hospital, some women gain lots of weight after giving birth especially around their stomachs.
At the beginning it may seem normal and ignored with the thinking that the weight will go after a few months however, women should be prepared for this period as well, he says.
However, women shouldn’t expect especially the size of their stomachs to go back to normal size immediately as it takes at least two months before the uterus is back to its pre-pregnancy size.
“Well, you shouldn’t start exercising right away as your body needs time to heal however, you should maintain a healthy diet after giving birth in order to avoid gaining excessive fats and weight that might kill your esteem,” he advised.
If you want to start carrying out weighty exercising then give it sometime but even then, talk to your gynecologist before exercising and have her or him recommend and tell you which ones to avoid depending on your condition and whether you had a natural or caesarean birth, he added.
The doctor said some women also face postpartum issues such as bleeding, pain, fatigue and cramps. However, this should not stress one as the conditions can be treated.
Agatha Mutamba, a midwife currently training at Kenyatta International Hospital, said another thing that women worry about after giving birth is the enlargement and sagging of their breasts.
Some think it is because of breastfeeding and so they do not breast-feed their children for six exclusive months which Mutamba says is wrong.
Gaining weight is like the biggest worry for most women which ends up stressing them therefore keeping fit would come in handy however, not every form of exercise is recommended, she adds.
“Do light exercises light walking and after some months you can engage in specialized postpartum exercise with the recommendation of your doctor. Use your maternity leave as a normal leave. Even if you have to take care of your baby, don’t abandon your health and body too,” she said.
According to Mayo Clinic, when one is pregnant, they might have adjusted their eating habits to support the baby’s growth and development but after pregnancy, proper nutrition is still important, especially if the mother is breastfeeding.
Focus foods rich in fibre such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods provide you with many important nutrients while helping you feel full longer, advises Mayo Clinic.
If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to begin light exercise within days of delivery — or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise programme.
Whether its weight gain or any other issue, don’t let it kill your confidence. Give your body and health attention. Eat and live healthy while exercising and your post pregnancy self-esteem will be on cloud nine.