I wrote this post at 37 weeks pregnant, but am only posting it now and James is seven months old (oops!).
This was my first worry. It may seem shallow, but I was really concerned about my body changing in a way I couldn't control and not being able to get it back after the nine months. At first, I did seem to gain weight quite fast (according to pregnancy guidelines), particularly when I felt quite sick in the first trimester. Carbohydrates were the only thing I could stomach! But, as the weeks have gone on it has steadied out and doesn't show on my body like it did at first. It's recommended that you gain between 25-35lbs if you're of an average weight but the majority of that weight is extra blood and fluids, the baby's weight, the placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus and breast tissue.
As it's now coming to the end of my pregnancy I can honestly say the weight gain doesn't really bother me. I have tried to be quite healthy when I haven't felt sick and have included a lot of salads and vegetables into my daily diet, but I have also allowed myself treats and will never let myself go hungry for long. I've been moderately active throughout and that definitely helps. I walk the dog on a daily basis for 30 minutes to an hour and try to always keep busy doing chores.
**By the end of my pregnancy (just shy of 40 weeks) I think I was 33lbs and I had puffed out quite a bit**
At this point (37 weeks) I have only got stretch marks on the under side of my boobs and a little bit around my belly button where my piercing is (I took my pregnancy flexible bar out at about 30 weeks as I kept catching it). I still have 3 weeks to go until my due date and this is the point most women start to get stretch marks so I do expect to get more, but I'm not worried! Keeping your weight gain as steady as you possibly can definitely helps to keep stretch marks at bay. I have used Bio-Oil throughout but I couldn't tell you if this helps to stop them.
I have noticed more hair growth and not where I'd necessarily like it to be. My stomach got fluffier and my hips. It's not really thick and dark, but I can feel that it's longer. I'm hoping this is something that will go away after pregnancy.
Swollen feet, hands and face
I first noticed that my face was puffier, then my feet, and now finally my fingers have puffed out, so much so that I can't get my wedding rings off!
**By the end I was really swollen, which I think was a result of high blood pressure**
Seven Months After Birth
I've lost all the baby weight and then some...I'm now 7lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight - thank you breastfeeding!! It came off gradually at first and then I was stuck at about 5lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight until James was around 5-6 months. At that point it suddenly dropped off. I assume it was because he was taking in a lot more calories and he's on the move now so I'm always running after him.
Stretch marks are completely gone, but they were never that prominent. I don't know whether this is genetics, using oils or that my bump was quite small. I'm not sure.
My belly isn't that toned (not sure it really was before though) but I've not kept to a consistent exercise routine. To be honest though, I don't really care because I have my gorgeous little boy! What did upset me is that I had to take out my belly button ring because for some reason it kept unscrewing and I was really worried James would grab it and choke. I was also terrified he would rip (gah!) it out while I was holding or feeding him.
One weird thing since birth is my bum is so much flatter, which I always thought I wanted...but no, no thank you...it needs squats and lunges to perk it up!! I suppose in general that's what my body needs - toning! When you've put on weight and then lost it, you just look a bit deflated.
By 2-3 months I had my energy back and I felt happy to exercise. But I now realise that I didn't feel totally back to normal till 5-6 months! And I would say that at 7 months postpartum I feel fantastic. Even sleepless nights don't bother me that much anymore. Being a mum you just cannot be lazy...your baby won't let you be :P
So if you're pregnant, thinking about having a baby or just had one, don't worry about getting your body back because it is possible! And, once I'd met James my worries over how my body looked vanished anyway because I had this beautiful baby. I can't say I feel that comfortable in a bikini just yet, but I'd rather spend my free time playing with James instead of doing toning exercises...that can wait!