I just had my first baby, and I hardly recognize myself. How did you recover from your baby’s birth?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Wow!! What unbelievable changes our bodies go through when we have babies!! Somehow, it seems that I was better prepared for the changes that occurred during the pregnancy than the changes I was in for post partum. Several things come immediately to my mind: My hair started to fall out, my skin (and especially my palms and soles) became extremely dry, and I think that my vagina thought we were going into menopause! I mean, it was so dry and irritated down there, that I thought a had a yeast infection!
I just rode these changes out. I am lucky that I have a lot of hair, so it wasn’t really noticeable. I used a lot of Lubriderm moisturizer on my skin, and when I finally agreed to have sex with my husband, we used some KY jelly. After a few months, all of these problems returned back to normal.
Weight is another big issue. (Literally!) For some reason, I was under the impression that I’d be back in my size six clothes as soon as the baby popped out. Unfortunately, for most of us, this isn’t exactly what happens. Much to my dismay, I was still wearing a lot of my maternity clothes in the weeks following delivery!
But, not to worry. I have had three children, gained about 50 pounds each time, and have been able to lose all of my pregnancy weight every single time. I think that the golden rule of “nine months on, nine months off” is a great way to take the pressure off. I nursed all of my children, 9 months for my daughter, and 12 months for my boys. So, I knew that my nutrition was still majorly important and didn’t want to go on a serious crash diet plan.
What I did was the following. I looked at my current eating habits—snacking at night, eating a big breakfast, a midmorning “cereal break,” a big lunch, another snack, a big dinner, and then another snack before bed. (Well, how do you think I gained 50 pounds!) Then what I started to do was eliminate things one by one—first the midnight snack, then the before dinner snack, then the cereal break, etc. Eventually, I started cutting out the unnecessary, “empty” calories, in my main meals, and returned to my usual eating habits.
—Stacey Weiland, MD, a mother of a 12-year-old daughter and 7- and 5-year-old sons, and an internist/gastroenterologist in Denver, CO