The dreaded mommy tummy is something many moms don’t look forward to getting, and don’t know how to prevent during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take during pregnancy and right after birth to help your body heal faster, and prevent the mommy tummy from developing.
What causes mommy tummy during pregnancy?
Mommy tummy develops during pregnancy from the muscles stretching and lengthening, and from excess fat being stored on the abdominal during pregnancy. Pregnancy causes trauma to the abdominal muscles, which requires some therapy and healing afterwards.
Early in postpartum recovery, abdominal separation is normal. It takes time for the gap between the muscles to start closing in. Without the proper support, this gap can remain separated, which is called diastasis recti. If the gap remains after 3-6 months postpartum, daily exercises and posture work is essential. We will get more into how to do that at the end of this post.
Pregnancy also causes extra weight gain, which many women experience in their hips, thighs and stomach. The stomach fat isn’t as noticeable because it is stretching for baby. This is why many new moms are surprised to find a left-over pooch because they didn’t realize the extra fat went to their stomach as well.
What can you do during pregnancy to prevent mommy tummy?
To prevent mommy pooch during pregnancy you can do two things: gain less weight and engage your core daily. Let’s go over each of these.
First, gaining less weight means you will have less fat on your abdominal.
The extra weight on the outside of the abdominal muscles makes it more difficult for them to pull back in. Losing the extra weight is ESSENTIAL for helping your abs heal and recover. The more weight on your stomach, the more weight pulling your abs out, rather than letting them go back to their normal position. By eating healthy and staying active all pregnancy, you can gain less weight and help prevent mommy pooch from developing.
Second, if you practice engaging your core throughout pregnancy, your muscle memory and control will be much greater for recovery.
The more mind-muscle connection you have, the easier it will be for you to regain strength and control in the stretched muscles. This means that it will be more like second-nature to engage and breathe correctly, rather than having to learn to do this after you have the baby. Prenatal Pilates is a great way to do this, and it can be done in all trimester. Your core is the same as any muscle. If you do your squats all pregnancy, those muscles will remain strong and toned even after baby arrives. It will also be easier to jump back into squats because your muscles have memory!
What can you do after birth to help prevent mommy tummy?
After pregnancy, there are some things you can do right after birth to help you prevent the mommy pooch from even developing. Here’s where to start:
Wear a postpartum belly wrap to support the muscles and encourage good posture
Practice sitting and standing taller with an engaged core (no slouching and breastfeeding)
Eat healthy right away. Don’t wait to nourish your body. Grab our free 10-day plan and a starter pack, so you can get going right away!
Start a gentle Pilates routine to keep your core muscles engaged and healing
Managing a new born is a full-time job, so it can seem overwhelming to have to heal your body after birth as well. But, you really only need to spend 5-10 minutes working on your core every day with effective exercises, AND you can accomplish a lot just through your posture and a belly band.
How can you lose the mommy tummy once you have it?
Even with minimal weight gain and core work during pregnancy, mommy tummy can still develop. It is a natural process that happens after birth, and it can some times be more predominant with multiple pregnancies. Still, you can lose your mommy tummy long after you’ve had babies.
Your muscles can always be healed, and you can always lose extra abdominal fat. The longer you wait postpartum, the more work it may require, but doing the work will decrease your mommy pooch.
Here are some things you can do NOW, to start losing your mommy pooch:
Jump start your weight loss with our free, 10-day diet plan (that won’t affect your milk supply)
These are very simple, actionable steps you can take NOW to start losing the mommy pooch and regaining your abs again.
How long does it take to lose the mommy tummy?
The time it takes to lose your mommy tummy is really dependent on the severity of your abdominal separation and the amount of weight you have on your stomach.
The first step is determining how wide your abdominal separation is. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to lie on your back and do a small crunch. While in the crunch position, put your fingers around your belly button area and see how deep and wide the separation is. The wider the separation the longer it will take to heal.
Second step is to determine how much fat is still remaining. There are a few ways to do this. You can just look and feel where it is, or you can measure your stomach, so you have something to go off of. No matter what, you will have to lose weight ALL OVER in order to reduce the stomach fat. Your body doesn’t lose weight in specific areas, so measuring your weight loss will help.
The birth of a baby is a joyous event. It can also be, quite literally, a pain. Many areas of a new mother’s body may experience pain after childbirth. Of course none of the pain is as bad as labor and birth itself. If you are pregnant and getting ready for postpartum, make sure to pack your Milk Dust Bars and a sample pack of Milk Dust in your bag! As a nurse, I know the extent of hospital food, which can be less than nourishing. Milk Dust is an amazing product that you can take with you to the hospital, and keep with you postpartum to ensure you are nourishing yourself properly for healing and milk supply.
I’ll discuss the different types of pain you might experience in the days and weeks after giving birth. I’ll talk about what is expected and what you can do to be more comfortable. I will also let you know when you should call your doctor.
The uterus is an amazing organ. When you are not pregnant, it is about the size of your fist. It can grow to be able to accommodate a baby.
After birth, it contracts down to the size it was midway through your pregnancy, right around your belly button. It has to contract to control the loss of blood and help it return to its size before pregnancy.
These postpartum uterine contractions are called afterpains. They vary in intensity. They may feel like mild cramps, or they may require you to do some of the same deep breathing you used during labor.
Breastfeeding can make the cramping worse because it stimulates your body to release oxytocin to cause the let-down reflex. Oxytocin is the same hormone that caused you to have contractions during labor
The nurse will check your uterus every so often to make sure it is staying hard. If it is not as hard as she likes, she may massage your uterus. That can be uncomfortable. I always encouraged new moms to gently massage their uterus to help keep it contracted.
What Helps Afterpains?
Your doctor or midwife may have ordered some pain medication for severe cramping. Ibuprofen is another medication that is frequently given to new moms for afterpains.
A heating pad on your abdomen can make you more comfortable.
Keeping your bladder empty can help decrease the intensity of the after pains as well, so make sure you are using the bathroom frequently.
Another common area that can cause postpartum pain is your perineum.
It used to be routine for a woman to receive an episiotomy – a cut into her perineum – during childbirth. They are done less frequently now, but still, about ten percent of women will have an episiotomy. A larger number of women will have some kind of perineal tear. Either way, this will result in perineal pain.
Even if a woman doesn’t have any stitches, she can still experience some perineal soreness.
Help For Perineal Discomfort?
Ice packs applied to the perineal area for 15-20 minutes at a time will provide relief. This is recommended for the first 24-hours.
Starting the second postpartum day, taking a sitz bath is usually soothing to the area. The hospital may provide you with a portable sitz bath. You can buy one at a pharmacy or online.
Using an inflatable donut cushion can make sitting more comfortable.
Witch hazel pads applied to the perineal area will provide some comfort for the swelling and pain.
If your bottom is really sore, breastfeeding in the side-lying or laid-back position is the most comfortable position.
Another thing that can make your bottom sore is hemorrhoids. These are swollen veins in your anus and rectal area. They can be external or internal. Whether you can see them or not, they are uncomfortable.
The witch hazel pads can provide relief for painful hemorrhoids as well as perineal pain. There are also creams and suppositories that can be applied to hemorrhoids that contain hydrocortisone, which will lessen pain and irritation.
A common concern of women in the days after they have given birth is whether having a bowel movement will hurt.
The iron in your prenatal vitamins can cause constipation. Pain medication that has narcotics is another culprit.
Fear of pain from a bowel movement can be another contributing factor.
Remedies for Constipation
Drink lots of fluids
Eat lots of fiber or take a fiber supplement
Your healthcare provider may prescribe you a stool softener
Stool softeners are also available over the counter
Breast and Nipple Pain Postpartum
Many women complain of nipple discomfort in the days and weeks postpartum. While most will experience tenderness that goes away within a couple of weeks, other mothers will struggle with cracks, bleeding, or blisters.
Pain in the first few seconds after your baby latches on is not cause for concern. It usually resolves on its own. Using good positioning and latch technique goes a long way to feeling more comfortable.
However, any signs of trauma like cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, or blisters indicate you need a lactation consultant.
When your milk comes in around two to four days after the birth, you may experience breast engorgement.
A woman’s breasts can increase in size dramatically in a relatively short period of time when her milk comes in. Initially, that is primarily due to swelling of the breast tissue surrounding the milk-making parts of the breast.
What Helps Breast Engorgement?
Applying ice packs for 15-20 minutes will help decrease the swelling and provide comfort. Ibuprofen can also help
While some people still recommend hot showers or hot packs to help with engorgement, it can make engorgement last longer or worsen the swelling’s severity.
It is essential to keep the milk moving by frequent breastfeeding and pumping if your baby is not keeping up with your growing milk supply.
Typically, engorgement only lasts 12-48 hours. Occasionally, an unlucky mom will find it lasts as long as a week or two.
Incisional Pain From a Cesarean Section
Moms who give birth by cesarean section will experience pain at their incision. A c-section is major abdominal surgery, and they have to cut through several layers of tissue to get to the uterus.
Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help relieve this type of postpartum pain. It will most probably be a narcotic. It is safe to breastfeed when you take these medications.
Postpartum Pain That Can Be a Warning Sign
Certain types of pain experienced during the postpartum period warrant a call to your doctor.
Leg pain can be a symptom of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Pain is usually in one leg only.
There may be swelling in the leg.
The leg may be reddened and warm to the touch.
Headaches can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia.
Painful urination often indicates a urinary tract infection.
Symptoms of a breast infection called mastitis
A lump in the breast accompanied by redness and pain
Although there are many types of discomfort in the postpartum period, most are short-lived. Try the remedies suggested and call your healthcare provider if you are not getting any relief or you have any concerns.
Don’t forget to nourish yourself well after birth! You can help your body heal faster by giving it the proper nutrients, many of which are found in Milk Dust products!
When you are pregnant, you are focused on preparing to welcome your new baby into your life. You ready the nursery, buy a car seat, and stock up on diapers.
Don’t forget to spend some time preparing to take care of yourself after your little one arrives. Your body will need some TLC as you recover from giving birth. Nourishing your body properly is KEY to taking care of yourself. We have a free ebook on all the nutrients you need to care for your body postpartum.
Whether you give birth vaginally or by cesarean section, your body has been going through changes for nine months. It will take time to return to its pre-pregnant state.
In this post, we will provide tips on postpartum healing for the mom who has had a vaginal birth. We will tell you what you can expect from your postpartum recovery and what you can do to help the postpartum healing process.
Recovery of the Uterus
The uterus goes through some incredible changes during pregnancy. It grows thicker and has a rich blood supply. It will change rapidly after you birth your baby and the placenta.
You will have vaginal bleeding for up to six weeks postpartum. The discharge is called lochia and is blood from the placental site and the lining of the uterus. There are specific names for the different stages of the discharge.
Dark red bleeding experienced in the first 3-4 days is called lochia rubra.
This bleeding is like a very heavy period.
In the first few hours, you will be changing your sanitary pads every 1-2 hours.
You may pass small clots. Any clots larger than a quarter should be reported to your health care provider.
From day 4-10, the discharge will be a pink-brown color called lochia serosa.
During this time, you will need to change your pad every 3-4 hours.
Call your health care provider if you soak more than one pad per hour.
Week 2-6 the discharge will be a white-yellow color and is called lochia alba.
After you give birth, your doctor or midwife will massage your uterus to encourage it to contract. This helps minimize bleeding.
Your nurse will check your uterus to make sure that it is staying firm. She will massage it if it is not firm enough. You can rub it as well to help keep it firm.
Things That Can Cause a Temporary Increase in Bleeding
Most women will have increased bleeding with increased activity.
Breastfeeding moms will often notice some extra bleeding during nursing.
A scab forms over the area where the placenta was attached to the wall of the uterus. It sloughs off around ten days to 2 weeks. Many women notice a day of heavier bleeding when this happens.
Your uterus will continue to contract after the birth. These contractions are called after pains. Women describe them as feeling like intense cramps. The contractions compress the blood vessels and return the uterus to its prepregnant size. It takes about six weeks for the uterus to shrink back down.
After pains are usually most intense in the first few days after birth. Some women will feel discomfort from them for up to a week. If your health care provider has given the ok, you can take ibuprofen to help the discomfort. A heating pad on your tummy can also help.
The hormone oxytocin causes the after pains. This is the same hormone that caused labor contractions. Oxytocin is also the hormone that causes the milk to let down during breastfeeding. Because of this, many women will experience increased cramping when they breastfeed.
Episiotomy or Tears
If you had an episiotomy or any tearing, you will have some extra soreness in your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus).
Ice packs for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will help decrease swelling and provide relief from the soreness. Do this for the first 24 hours.
After the first 24 hours, warm water sitz baths for 20 minutes will help with healing.
Using a squirt bottle with warm water when you use the restroom will help keep the area clean.
Using witch hazel pads is soothing and reduces inflammation. Keeping them in the refrigerator will take the comfort factor up a level.
A donut pillow or inflatable ring will keep the pressure off tender areas
The cervix takes a few weeks to completely close. Follow these guidelines to minimize the risk of a uterine infection.
Don’t use any tampons for the first six weeks postpartum
Follow the guidelines provided by your health care provider for when you can resume sexual intercourse.
Hemorrhoids can be another gift of the postpartum period. For most new mamas, they will go away by six weeks. In the meantime, these tips can help.
Avoid straining during bowel movements.
Drink lots of water and eat lots of fiber to help keep bowel movements soft.
Your health care provider may prescribe a stool softener. These are also available over the counter.
Apply witch hazel pads for comfort, and to decrease inflammation.
Apply a hemorrhoid cream.
New moms are often exhausted with a capital E. This has several causes.
New moms start out with a sleep deficit because it is the rare pregnant woman who sleeps well in the last weeks of her pregnancy.
You might have gone a night or two without sleep if you had a long labor.
Post-birth adrenaline can make it a challenge to sleep in the hours right after birth.
Babies typically cluster-feed most of their second night.
When you do get to sleep, it is going to be in two to three-hour blocks.
Make getting rest a priority. It may be a cliché, but rest when the baby sleeps. Even if you are not a napper, just lying down in a dark room and closing your eyes can help.
During the night, keep everything you will need for feedings and diaper changes close by, so you don’t have to get up and walk to another room.
Eat healthy fats like those found in avocados, eggs, salmon, and olive oil.
Avoid eating foods with processed sugar and that have empty calories.
It took your body nine months to grow a baby. It went through a lot of changes during that time. Most of your body will return to its pre-pregnant state by six weeks. Be patient with the things that take longer. Most importantly, take good care of yourself. You are recovering from growing a baby and birthing it. That’s an amazing feat!
For some breastfeeding mamas, menstruation can mean a drop in milk supply. Some mommies don’t experience a period at all while breastfeeding, and it all depends on the chemical and hormonal balance happening in your body.
If you are looking for The Postpartum Period Smoothie, scroll down for the recipe!
Breastfeeding can actually be a form of birth control, and can inhibit ovulation all together. Of course you shouldn’t depend on this 100 %, just like any other birth control, but it is a natural way to prevent pregnancy.
How to use breastfeeding as birth control
Exclusive breastfeeding, along with night feedings can inhibit ovulation in many women. In general, the more you breastfeed, the lower your estrogen levels. When estrogen drops very low, your body won’t menstruate. There has to be a certain level of estrogen in order to create ovulation, or have a healthy pregnancy, and your body knows this.
In order to decrease your estrogen, you need to increase your breastfeeding.
Pumping doesn’t quite do the job as well as nursing your baby, but you can also increase your pumping sessions too. Adding in night feedings is the easiest way to ensure you are breastfeeding enough to drop your estrogen low enough to prevent ovulation. Keeping baby close at night, and skin-to-skin as much as possible is also a great way to keep up the pheromones necessary to produce more milk.
Low estrogen levels are required for healthy breastfeeding. There are individual factors that come into play on what is considered “low” for your body. One mama might have much lower levels and still ovulate, while others will have higher levels and not have a period. In general, more breastfeeding means less estrogen.
What happens to your milk supply when your period comes?
Your body won’t have a period unless estrogen levels increased enough to support menstruation. When you get your period postpartum, your hormone levels are fluctuating, which can affect your milk supply temporarily. During ovulation is when your estrogen is the highest, so while this is happening, you may notice a drop in your supply. Higher levels of estrogen are necessary to release an egg.
Estrogen and progesterone stay increased during the Luteal phase, or 14 days after ovulation, which also cause changes in breasts and milk ducts. Depending on how your body reacts, these changes may slow down your lactation for a bit, as your body adjusts.
How to handle changes in milk supply during menstruation
If your period has returned postpartum, and continues to show up regularly, dealing with some ebs and flows in your milk supply might become a normal part of life. There are some simple ways to handle these changes, particularly at specific times of the month.
Pump more and increase milk supply right after your period:
Right after your period is when your estrogen is at its lowest. Make sure to take advantage of this time to pump more milk and increase your supply.
We have a lot of great ways you can increase your supply, written by our lactation consultant and nurse, as well as our Milk Dust, which can quickly help you jump back into breastfeeding and a larger supply.
As ovulation approaches, increase skin to skin contact:
As your estrogen slowly rises, make sure to increase skin-to-skin contact with baby, and add more feedings.
During ovulation and leading up to menstruation, use lactation boosters:
Lactation boosters like fenugreek, fennel seed, milk thistle, brewers yeast and other herbs and nutrients can all boost milk supply during this time.
Adding in more Milk Dust smoothies is an awesome way to nourish your body as well as boost your milk supply. Milk Dust has Red Raspberry Leaf, which is known to help balance hormones and increase hormonal health. This is such a great herb to take during this time, or all month to make the monthly transitions a bit smoother.
Try this hormone balancing smoothie during the PMS phase to encourage a happy mama and milk supply:
The Postpartum Period Smoothie
Balance those hormones with this delicious, nutrient-dense smoothie full of hormone balancing ingredients like Turmeric, Red Raspberry Leaf, L-Methylfolate and Vitamin B 12.
1/2cupfrozen cauliflower (or ice if you don't have)
1-2cupsmilk of choice, though cashew milk does well with this oneUse milk according to desired texture and blend
Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!
This smoothie is particular great as a smoothie bowl, topped with some berries and nuts for added omegas and nutrients. Any berries will work for this recipe because they are all very beneficial for hormonal health.
This smoothie offers key nutrients to help you balance your hormones and milk supply during menstruation.
Milk Dust offers hand-picked nutrients specifically for the postpartum and breastfeeding mamas. These nutrients, combined with a unique lactation-herb blend protect a mother’s milk supply combat sugar cravings, hormonal roller coasters and nutritional deficiencies.
The concept of postnatal depletion is gaining recognition surrounding postpartum health and wellness. Postnatal depletion is a very important topic that needs to be addressed for every new mama, especially if you breastfeeding. Because the concept of postnatal depletion is fairly new, we are going to go over what postnatal depletion is, and what specific nutrients to focus on to combat the effects.
What is Postnatal Depletion?
Postnatal depletion covers more than the nutrients a pregnant and postpartum mother has in her body. It also covers stress, fatigue and emotional stress. Pregnancy requires extra nutrients for a mother to produce and grow a new life. If a new mom doesn’t consume enough nutrients, they are taken from the mother to support the baby. Mother’s bodies are designed to put the growing baby first. Postnatal depletion is actually very normal, and the postpartum period is a time to replenish those nutrient stores. Postnatal depletion is the normal process of pregnancy and birth giving everything to the growing baby. Once the baby is born, a new mother needs to replenish and consume healing nutrients to recover, as well as breastfeed.
Dr. Oscar Serrallach from Australia brought the idea of Postnatal Depletion to main stream media through Goop. He states,
The placenta passes many nutrients to the growing baby during pregnancy, tapping into the mom’s “iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, iodine, and selenium stores—along with omega 3 fats like DHA and specific amino acids from proteins.” A mom’s brain has been shown to shrink during pregnancy as it supports the growth of the baby and is socially re-engineered for parenthood.
There are symptoms of postnatal depletion, but often times they go ignored. Many new mothers push through:
aches and pains
lack of focus
as a part of having a new baby. And yes, some of it is to be expected. In the beginning stages, the signs of depletion are normal, but should be helped as healing and replenishment occurs.
How to Treat Postnatal Depletion:
Treating postnatal depletion involves more than just diet and nutrients, but diet and nutrients are a big part of treatment. There are emotional and psychological aspects of rest and healing that need to be considered for new mothers as well.
Treating Postnatal Depletion Involves:
adequate psychological rest
laughter and relaxation
walking and yoga
healing foods and nutrients
Postnatal Depletion Recovery Starts With Nutrition:
These are the top nutrients a new mother can focus on to help combat postnatal depletion, and why we created Milk Dust.
How Milk Dust Helps Combat Postnatal Depletion:
Milk Dust does more than support a healthy milk supply and reduce sugar cravings. The main goal is actually much larger. Milk Dust aims to replenish depleted nutrient stores by offering the most important nutrients breastfeeding mamas need to thrive and heal. Because of the nutrient density of our protein powder, we can help diminish sugar cravings, which are often a result of missing vitamins and minerals. Milk Dust also increases your milk supply with a unique blend of herbs and ingredients that support lactation. Milk Dust is a protein powder, so it tastes best blended in a smoothie for a full meal replacement if needed. In addition, it is super easy to blend up and requires little prep and clean up. Exactly what a new mommy needs to help make life simpler.
What other foods help with postnatal depletion?
Some of the top foods to combat postnatal depletion include:
beans and legumes
chicken and turkey
These foods are all very nutrient-dense, which means that you are mainly eating pure vitamins. No extra sugar, fat or processed ingredients. Milk Dust also offers some of these super foods like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, blueberries and spinach. Adding these foods to your diet daily will really help with healing and lactation postpartum.
Postpartum depletion isn’t a medical term – yet, but a state many mamas find them struggling through. Supplements like Milk Dust, combined with foods that nourish your body is the best way to tackle postnatal depletion from a nutrition stand point.
Postnatal depletion also includes exhaustion and fatigue. Of course that is to be expected with a new baby, and nourishment is the foundation of energy and emotional health.