Does Body Shape Change After Pregnancy?

Medically Reviewed on 8/26/2021
Your body changes a lot when you're pregnant. Many of those changes return to normal, but every woman is different. Some women may find that some changes to their bodies remain. 

Your body changes a lot when you're pregnant. Many of those changes return to normal, but every woman is different. Some women may find that some changes to their bodies remain. 

Your body changes a lot whenever you're pregnant. Many of those changes return to normal, but every woman is different. Some women may find that some changes to their bodies don't return to normal. 

How your body has changed after pregnancy

Weight gain. You'll lose some of the weight you gained during pregnancy after you give birth. In addition, you may lose a few more pounds as your body adjusts to no longer being pregnant. 

But don't expect to lose more anytime soon. You'll still be losing weight for a few months after you give birth.

Some women experience problems with their thyroid after giving birth. This condition, called postpartum thyroiditis, can lead to unexpected changes in your weight. 

Bigger stomach. You hear many women complain about the postpartum belly. Maybe not their belly specifically, but about celebrities who don't have a postpartum belly just a few months after birth. It's not fair!

Well, you can do something about your postpartum belly. You can get back to your previous weight and shrink your postpartum belly with nutrition, exercise, and time. 

Different bra size. Your hormones are responsible for your body's changes during pregnancy. One of those surprising changes is to your bra size.

Your breasts get larger during and after pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding. In addition, your ribcage and chest shape may have changed throughout your pregnancy. So even after you've given birth and finish breastfeeding, the shape of your chest and breasts will be different. 

Postpartum swelling. As your body recovers from pregnancy, you may have residual swelling in your feet and legs. Swelling should fade with time and care. 

You may need to wear bigger socks, shoes, and pants postpartum. So, don't throw out your maternity clothes just yet. 

Being okay with your new body shape

For women with body image issues, the postpartum changes to your body can be discouraging. You might view the extra weight or the changes to your appearance as unfavorable. But that doesn't need to be the case. 

Remember the positive. Your body's doing amazing things. So it's acceptable to carry a few pounds and wear some stretch marks.

Talk about it. Talk with loved ones about how you're feeling. They may not have the answer, but being heard will be a step in the right direction.

Pregnancy makes changes to your body. While it may not go back to normal naturally, you can help your body reach a familiar size and shape. 

How to find your postpartum body

There's no immediate fix. Reaching your ideal body shape will take time. Losing weight too fast can harm your health, so take your time.

Nutrition. Nutrition is vital whether you're pregnant or not. Eating well will help you stay healthy and is the first step to find your postpartum body. 

You just had a baby, you're under a lot of stress, so you want to reward yourself. Resist the urge to grab sodas, fried foods, and ice cream. The sugars and fats will make sure your postpartum belly sticks around. 

Balanced nutrition will give you the energy and nutrients you need to care for your baby. But before you start on a diet plan, talk to your doctor. 

Exercise. You don't need to start deadlifts and bench presses just yet. Instead, get into a regular activity routine to burn some of those excess calories and get some deserved "me-time." Start slow. 

Start with walking in the morning, after meals, or whenever you have time. Your body is still recovering, so take care not to overwork yourself too soon.

Breastfeeding. Your body uses calories to fuel its many processes. It even uses calories to produce breastmilk. So, breastfeeding burns calories!

If you're eating more calories than your body uses, your body will store it as fat. But with proper nutrition and exercise, breastfeeding will use your fat stores and help you lose some of your postpartum belly.

Stress management. Your hormones drastically change after you give birth. As a result, you may feel stressed, experience "baby blues," or have postpartum depression

Stress affects your health by disrupting your normal processes. Symptoms of stress include lack of sleep, stomach problems, fatigue, and more. However, all of these stress symptoms can work together and prevent you from losing weight.

It is part of the journey

Before getting discouraged about your postpartum body, remember that it's all part of the journey. Your life won't be the same from now on, your body included. 


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Medically Reviewed on 8/26/2021
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "What Really Helps You Bounce Back After Pregnancy."

KidsHealth: "10 Things That Might Surprise You About Being Pregnant."

Mayo Clinic: "Stress management."

OASH: "Pregnancy and body image," "Recovering from birth," "Staying healthy and safe."