You'd have to be living under a rock to escape all the news of how new celebrity mamas are getting their bodies back. We brought in Dr. Ali Zentner to teach us the truth behind some of the most popular post-baby body myths.
Myth: When women get pregnant their breasts will get bigger and stay bigger after they give birth.
Not true! Breasts will definitely increase in size due to hormonal changes from pregnancy and from milk production in the last trimester. But don’t expect that becoming pregnant will provide you with a brand new permanent breast size. After you give birth and especially after you wean your baby, your breasts will start to decrease in size. Some women notice a residual increase in breast size simply because they have gained weight during pregnancy and did not take it off after.
If you look at someone like Kim Kardashian you’ll see she was well endowed before birth, became bigger during her pregnancy, and post pregnancy she still had large breasts. Bottom line: your breasts will absolutely increase in size during pregnancy, but when you wean your breast size will decrease. The best tip Dr. Ali can give? Get a good bra!
Myth: You can't exercise for many weeks after giving birth because everything needs to "tighten up."
This myth is false! How quickly you return to exercise all depends on the type of birth you had. If there was a minimal amount of tearing you're fine to get back to your regular routine after a week of rest. If you were fit and exercising before and during your pregnancy then you can get back to mild or moderate physical activity as soon as you feel ready. A great example is marathon runner Paula Radcliff who was still running a week before her baby was born and went on to win the London marathon when her daughter was six months old
Myth: Breast feeding will help you lose the majority of your baby weight.
This one’s not really true. On average breast feeding burns 300-500 calories per day depending on how often you breast feed and how much milk you are producing. To burn 300 calories you’d have to go on a 45 minute walk. Remember that exercise isn’t how you lose weight, it’s all about diet. So if your goal is to shed some pounds then make sure you’re watching what you eat.
Myth: Once you have your baby you'll never be able to have a flat stomach again.
Not with that attitude you won't! If you had a flat stomach before pregnancy you can definitely get it back. A great example of this is Kate Middleton. She clearly had a flat stomach before her pregnancy and has one again now. Yes, she must have an entire team helping her get her body back, but she is proof that it’s possible.
Sure bodies change during pregnancy but remember what you went into pregnancy with. If you are built a certain way and carry your weight centrally than you may never have a "flat stomach" because of your genetics. What’s most important to focus on is the fact that you have a new baby and an even bigger reason to be healthy now than a pair of skinny jeans!
The most important message women should take away from all this is the importance to be healthy at any stage of your life, not just during pregnancy. We all need to have a measured perspective of what the media promises us and not beat ourselves up if we don’t match the cover of a magazine.
We're made to believe these women in the media are role models, but the reality is that they're fantasies. It takes hard work to get a body period, and it’s even harder work to get it back after having a baby. Don’t be discouraged. Go out there, give it your all and see what you're made of!