6 Post-Pregnancy Myths About the Body — Debunked!

22 Aug 2014 at 3:30pm

Written by Adele Rayburn

Postpartum MythsThanks to the media's portrayal of life postpartum, many women think their bodies will bounce back into shape the moment they welcome their mini-me into the world. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case! "I personally think there’s too much pressure to bounce back quickly," says New York plastic surgeon Dr. Dana Khuthaila. "A lot of celebrities join some sort of weight loss program and are also under tremendous pressure to lose weight fast." Weight loss is just one of the many radical changes the body goes through after giving birth. So in an effort to dispel misinformation about this confusing time, we’ve rounded up six postpartum myths so you know exactly what to expect!

MYTH #1: Your Vagina Will Be No Worse For the Wear
FACT: Your Vagina Might Stretch

First of all, Kegels are your best friend during pregnancy. The more you exercise your vaginal muscles, the "tighter" your lady parts will be postpartum. (They can also help prevent your labia from tearing while giving birth.) There's no getting around the fact that you've pushed a watermelon-sized human out of your girly bits, so stretching is totally normal. The good news is that consistent post-baby Kegels go a long way to help your vagina get back into shape — and if all else fails, you can always consider vaginoplasty.

MYTH #2: You'll Be Riding High On Happy Hormones
FACT: You Might Experience the "Baby Blues"

While it's true that many women experience an immediate rush of happy-hormones directly after giving birth, that lovin' feeling might not last forever. Eventually, your endorphin levels will drop, which can lead to the "baby blues." The good news is that baby blues don't typically last for more than a few weeks — though if they do, it's important to consult your doctor.

MYTH #3: 9 Months to Gain, 9 Months to Lose
FACT: It Could Take A Year Or More!

Unless you jump straight into a super-strict diet (No pizza? No way!), dropping your unwanted baby weight could take longer than nine months. While some women naturally lose their poundage in under a year, most new mommies sport a few extra pounds well past the nine-month mark. However, there's no reason to throw away those skinny jeans; the excess weight should eventually melt away with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. "The healthiest way to lose the pregnancy weight is gradually," says Dr. Khuthaila. "The first six weeks is essential because it’s during that time that the uterus is working to get back to its pre-pregnancy size — and that is the first step. Realistically, women should give themselves nine to twelve months to lose the weight. Remember that a healthy diet and exercise (once your doctor has cleared you to do so) are also essential components of regaining your pre-pregnancy body."

MYTH #4: The Gross Part Is Over Once You Have the Baby
FACT: You'll Be Wearing Pads For Weeks

Having a natural birth? You're probably prepared for plenty of bodily fluids during labor and delivery, but surprise! Directly after welcoming your little one, your vagina will discharge "lochia," which can last up to three weeks postpartum. What's lochia, you ask? A perfectly natural (and somewhat unpleasant) discharge made up of blood, uterine tissue, and bacteria. Good times!

Post-Baby Pooch

MYTH #5: Your Stomach Will Go Back to Being Flat Once You've Lost Weight
FACT: Welcome to the Post-Baby Pooch

You've finally lost your baby weight — so why do you still have a pesky pooch of fat? Unfortunately, the postpartum pooch is pretty common, and happens as a result of your stomach's skin expanding at a rapid rate. The good news? You can totally get rid of it! "The best way to minimize the pooch before giving birth is to be at your ideal body weight before becoming pregnant and keeping your weight gain within a healthy range, based on the advice of your OB," explains Dr. Khuthaila. "I encourage women to remain focused on having a healthy pregnancy during those nine months because, aside from the many health benefits of doing so, those women generally have an easier time returning to their pre-pregnancy bodies. But of course, sometimes even that doesn’t prevent the postpartum pooch. In that case, there are many great options women can discuss with a plastic surgeon to help them achieve their goals."

MYTH #6: Your Boobs Will Look Amazing Now That You Breastfeed
FACT: Correct! Until You Stop Breastfeeding…

Time to say a quick prayer for your lovely lady lumps, because mommyhood isn't easy on them! The upside is that your breasts will look amazing (not to mention huge) during pregnancy and breastfeeding. But mothers who breastfeed often find that their bodacious boobs are suddenly deflated after the weaning process. What gives? Turns out all that mouth-to-nipple action can stretch out tissue, leading to saggy boobs. Thankfully, this can be easily remedied through simple plastic surgery procedures… not to mention a push-up bra. And, of course, there's one huge upside that makes breastfeeding worthwhile (aside from the fact that it's super healthy for your little one): "One thing you can do to help [your weight loss] along is breastfeed," says Dr. Khuthaila. "Even for only a few weeks, because the hormones involved in breastfeeding are also responsible for returning the uterus to its pre-pregnancy state."

Did you recently have a baby? Tell us about your experience with these postpartum myths in the comments!

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