By KAYCEE REYES
“Is it really you?” Maybe you’re one of those moms who would ask this question as you look at yourself in the mirror. While pregnancy is a beautiful event that brings a new human being into the world, there are a lot of physical changes mothers go through that are, well, not as nice. The question a lot of moms ask after the pregnancy is, “How can I bounce back after the baby?”
If you have recently given birth, congratulations! It is indeed an overwhelming feeling of different emotions once your baby has arrived. But then there come sleepless nights, added stress, and even more changes to your body wherein it all happens mquickly, and sometimes even all at once. So how do you cope?
1. Acne, again?
Postpartum acne is common among us mamas. Acne that you had from puberty, on your period, at the time of pregnancy, and after giving birth are all caused by hormones that can ramp up oil production and trigger those nasty bumps. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of options when it comes to acne medications for breastfeeding mamas.
However, you may ask your obstetrician-gynecologist and your dermatologist about over-the-counter topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and lactic acid that may be safer than others (yet still debatable).
After breastfeeding, there are a lot more options available on the table aside from the ones above, and these are retinoids, oral medications, or oral contraceptives. In terms of skin care, select products that are milder and safer while breastfeeding, and stick to a basic, simple routine of cleansing with a fragrance-free product, using a mild toner, applying an oil-free moisturizer, and protecting your skin from the sun.
2. Hair over here, there, and everywhere
Women normally shed 100 hairs a day, but at different times. After giving birth, however, that’s another story. Hair loss after pregnancy is also called telogen effluvium or postpartum alopecia. Same as postpartum acne, fluctuating hormones are to blame about the extra clumps of hair on your brush or the shower drain.
But don’t fret as shedding is only temporary, and your hair should go back to its regular growth cycle after four months, six months, or a year after giving birth.
Hair loss may also be prevented by watching your diet during and after pregnancy, avoiding hair styling or using harsh products, and taking your postpartum supplements regularly. Vitamins B, C, E, iron, and zinc all help with hair health. If hair loss still persists a year after giving birth, please consult your physician.
3. Yikes, there are spots and stripes!
According to the American Pregnancy Association, up to 90 percent of pregnant women get stretch marks. While it may likely be inevitable for most of us, stretch marks do fade over time.
However, the earlier you address it, the easier it can fade away. Those lines occur on the skin when it gets stretched faster than its normal pace. This can also happen during puberty or weight gain. Topical creams have yet to provide sufficient proof that it works.
Nowadays, non-surgical laser treatments show more promise in fading stretch marks than other methods. Stretch marks can also be avoided by keeping your skin moisturized, eating a healthy diet, and managing your weight during and after pregnancy.
As for hyperpigmentation, also called melasma, chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” these dark spots that appear are also normal, and like stretch marks, they may fade over time too. For some that need to be treated, there’s microdermabrasion, light therapy, AHA peels, and such. If you have dark spots, just remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to keep your skin protected from the sun and to avoid further damages on your skin.
4. When you still look pregnant
You’ve seen celebrities who look like they didn’t give birth just three months ago. This means that yes, it is not impossible to lose the baby weight but, it may not be healthy to lose that much weight that quickly.
Our bodies are different and it heals in different ways. That being said, do not put added pressure on your body after giving birth. Taking one day at a time, having the discipline to nourish your body with the right food, and keeping yourself active like walking, moving around, doing physical work as approved by your physician, are the most important reminders in losing the baby weight.
It may also help to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist to help you with your health and weight goals. And for stubborn fat, non-surgical laser treatments are available that can help shape and tone your body. Ask your dermatologist about it.
Babies are overwhelming, sometimes exhausting, but so fulfilling. But while watching over your little one is of utmost importance, watching over your health and well-being should be a priority as well. So, don’t miss every postnatal check-up, even if you feel great.
Always assess how you feel, how your body feels, and have someone to talk to or to check on you from time to time. Seek advice from other moms who, you know, have “been there and done that.” Part of postpartum self-care is also having a good support system. After all, you wouldn’t be able to take care of your baby if you don’t take care of yourself too, right?