Your Pregnancy After 35 : After Baby’s Birth (part 8) - After-Pregnancy Changes, Postpartum Distress Syndrome

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After-Pregnancy Changes

After the birth of your baby, you may notice lots of changes in your body—it’s only natural. You may see changes in your abdominal shape and skin. Breasts may also be affected.

Abdominal-Skin Changes

After they give birth, some women find their abdomen returns to normal naturally. For others, it never quite returns to its prepregnancy state. Abdominal skin is not like muscle, so it can’t be strengthened by exercise. Perhaps the most important element affecting your skin’s ability to return to its prepregnancy tightness is connective tissue, which provides suppleness and elasticity. As you get older, your skin loses connective tissue and elasticity. Other factors include your fitness level before pregnancy, heredity and how much your skin stretched during pregnancy.

Breast Changes

After giving birth, most women’s breasts return to their prepregnancy size or even decrease a little in size. If you breastfeed, it takes longer for your breasts to return to normal. This is a result of the change in the connective tissue that forms the support system of your breasts. Exercise cannot make breasts firmer, but it can improve the chest area underneath so breasts have better support.

Weight Changes

Don’t get anxious about losing pregnancy weight after your baby’s birth. Regaining your prepregnancy figure may take longer if you’re older. It’s normal to lose 10 to 15 pounds immediately after baby is born. An additional 5 pounds of fluid may wash out of your system within a few days.

Extra weight may be harder to lose. Your body stored 7 to 10 pounds of fat as energy for the first few months after birth. If you eat properly and get enough exercise, these pounds will slowly come off.

If you breastfeed, all the nutrients your baby receives depend on the quality of the food you eat. Breastfeeding places more demands on your body than pregnancy. Your body burns up to 1000 calories a day to produce milk. When breastfeeding, you need to eat an extra 500 calories a day. Be sure they are nutritious calories (eat fruits, vegetables and breads—stay away from junk food). And keep up fluid levels.

Postpartum Distress Syndrome (PPDS)

You may experience many emotional changes after baby is born. Mood swings, mild distress or bouts of crying are not uncommon. Changes in moods are often a result of hormonal changes you experience after birth, just as they were when you were pregnant.

Many women are surprised by how tired they are emotionally and physically in the first few months after baby’s birth. Make sure you take time for yourself. Sleep and rest can help you deal with mood shifts, which seem to occur more often when a woman is exhausted.

After pregnancy, many women experience some degree of depression. This is called postpartum distress syndrome (PPDS). Some experts believe postpartum depression may begin during pregnancy, but symptoms may not appear until several months after delivery. They may occur when a woman starts getting her period again and experiences hormonal changes.

Postpartum distress syndrome can resolve on its own, but it can often take as long as a year. With more severe problems, treatment may relieve symptoms in a matter of weeks, and improvement should be significant within 6 to 8 months. Often medication is necessary for complete recovery.

If your baby blues don’t get better in a few weeks or if you feel extremely depressed, call your healthcare provider. You may need medication to help deal with the problem.

 
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- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 16) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 15) - Cesarean Delivery, Vaginal Delivery of Your Baby
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 14) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 13) - When You’re Overdue
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 12) - Baby’s Birth Presentation
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 11) - Analgesics and Anesthetics
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 10) - Laboring Positions, Massage for Relief
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 9) - Coping with the Pain of Labor and Childbirth, Pain Relief without Medication
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