Why on earth would you want to help your uterus shrink?
Throughout your pregnancy, your Uterus will continuously expand to accommodate your growing baby.
Sometimes it can grow at approximately 1 inch per week.
So, your uterus will have grown from 3 inches to about 39-42 weeks by the time you deliver.
Your uterus remains distended or ‘bulgy’ for up to 6 weeks after giving birth. Giving you that ‘mummy tummy’ look.
But your body is clever enough to shrink the uterus on its own right?
Well, clever to an extent. In the same way, the body is clever enough to regulate it’s metabolism and control digestion of foods and nutrients. Yet, people still choose to be intentionally healthy and and exercise to help the body!
Your uterus will begin to shrink immediately after giving birth to your baby.
During the first 48 hours after birth, you will physically feel your uterus contract and relax intermittently.
The contracting and relaxing of the uterus also help close off the blood vessels that were attached to the placenta during pregnancy.
This is to ensure that they are not still freely bleeding into the uterus. Failure to close off off these blood vessels can lead to excessive bleeding – Postpartum Haemorrhage – a life-threatening condition if left untreated.
This usually occurs without any issues.
However, at times, the body needs a little help in shrinking the uterus.
Let’s be honest, ain’t nobody wanna be asked ‘how far along are you?’ when they clearly already gave birth @@
-Ok. Persona jokes aside.
Uterus shrinking is NOT about getting a 6 pack or tightening your abs (although this will help).
But rather for health reasons.
Its all about ensuring that your uterus is healing as it should. And to prevent you getting any blood clots in your uterus.
Although your uterus will begin to shrink on its own, there are some things that you can do to help the healing and shrinking process of your uterus – and your whole boy in general.
BREASTFEED YOUR BABY IF YOU CAN
It’s a well-known matter that breastfeeding your baby will help you lose weight – yes.
But breastfeeding, amongst other benefits, also helps help your uterus shrink.
The sensation of the breastfeeding triggers the hormones that cause your uterus to contract and relax.
This action benefits your and promotes postpartum healing in three ways:
- That contraction and relaxing are a little like internal exercise – it squeezes your uterus and helps it return to its prepregnancy size.
- The more your uterus contracts and relaxes, the more the blood vessels get tied off – the quicker the postpartum bleeding stops.
- The contracting and squeezing action of the uterus pushes any remaining blood that has bled into the uterus from the blood vessels ( thus preventing blood clots).
But don’t worry, this is NOT the only way you can encourage your uterus to shrink.
If you can’t breastfeed (Especially when you can’t breastfeed) for whatever reason, you may want to look the ways to help your uterus shrink into place.
RELATED POST: Your Body 48 Hours Postpartum
USE A POSTPARTUM GIRDLE OR A BELLY BINDER
Wearing a Postpartum Girdle will help compress your uterus and help it shrink.
This is a world-widely method that has been used for centuries. And is extremely effective in helping women regain their waist shape after delivery.
Because of their ease of use, I personally prefer to use Postpartum girdles over belly ties or wraps as they also help snatch that waist and contour your abdominal area to its pre-pregnancy size as well!
They are also the safest of the two. There are even Girdles available for Post C-Section Deliveries
Believe or not, Postpartum Girdles will also help relieve the pain from the uterus contraction after delivery.
It’s not advisable to wear postpartum Girdles ALL DAY. You need to give your body time to breathe and relax.
DON’T DIET, JUST EAT WELL – LITTLE AND OFTEN
It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to get back into your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans a week after you give birth.
Especially nowadays as Social Media does such a great job at telling women that it’s not OK to still be wearing your maternity jeans 3 weeks after giving birth?!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for having a healthy pregnancy and getting back to to the ‘old you’ after birth. BUT I think that people have distorted the meaning of being healthy after having your baby.
Forget dieting! Forget starving yourself.
You just need to make sure that you are intentional about what you eat.
The best thing you can do is eat a well-balanced diet in SMALL portions but OFTEN.
Don’t eat big heavy meals (i.e 3 a day), eat small portions of DIFFERENT foods. mix it throughout the day.
This will help your digestive system. It will also help your body focus on healing your body, especially after a vaginal delivery.
Eating less often will also prevent you getting a postpartum pouch.
DRINKING PLENTY OF WARM WATER TO HELP YOUR UTERUS SHRINK
Drink warm water. NOT hot and avoid COLD water too.
I say water because you need to avoid any fizzy pop or too much juice that is full of sugar.
If you can’t stand drinking water on its own, then add a bit of fresh Lemon, root Ginger or natural Honey.
All these have elements that help flatten your stomach anyway (well, that’s what fitness gurus suggest)!
But in this case, Drinking warm water often after giving birth will help you in three ways:
Drinking water will keep you hydrated, rejuvenate your cells and promote healing.
Drinking plenty of water will dilute your urine so it’s not as painful when you go to the toilet – especially if you’ve had tears during delivery or if you have stitches down below!
The water also plays a role in flushing out toxins in the body. But mainly the abdominal area. The frequent toilet visits will help push down any blood, clots or parts of the placenta that have been retained in the uterus.
MASSAGE YOUR STOMACH AND UTERUS AREA
Massaging your stomach will help trigger the hormones in your uterus and cause it to contract.
The best way to massage is to start from the top of your belly button, just below your diaphragm.
Using the tip of your fingers, massage that area in a clockwise and anti-clockwise motion.
Next, massage either side of the belly button. You’ll want to use both hands to massage the sides simultaneously.
Don’t forget to massage in a clockwise and anticlockwise motion.
Lastly, massage below your belly button area (naval area).
You want to apply as much pressure as is comfortable. If you experience pain while massaging, STOP and notify your health visitor or doctor.
RELATED TOPIC: How to Care For Your Postpartum Body
PLACE A HOT COMPRESS ON YOUR STOMACH OR TAKE A HOT SHOWER
This is one of the techniques I actually learned from my mother, who learned it from her mother..and so on!
It’s safe to say that it’s a technique that has been used by women for YEARS.
Warning: Before we go any further, I want to put this warning out. Do not use this method TOO OFTEN.
A hot compress should only be used Once or twice a week – No more.
Placing a hot compress on your stomach will force your uterus to contract. The contractions are involuntary and can be aggressive.
The contraction of the muscles squeezes the uterus causing it to release any blood or placenta that has retained in the uterus.
It’s almost like squeezing your favourite bottle of shampoo to try and get the last bits of shampoo resting at the bottom of the bottle!
So, although the hot compress also helps relieve the pain from the contraction, It’s not advisable to use as a regular method.
Instead, take a warm shower or a Sitz Bath This will have a similar effect just not so strongly.
Feel free to use the abdominal massage technique here too. it will work wonders!
DO NOT TRY TO DO EXCESSIVE EXERCISES TOO SOON – THIS MIGHT DO MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD
Yes, I know. We’re back to the ‘exercise’ topic again. I apologize.
See, exercising after delivery is NOT a bad thing. As long as you KNOW your body is READY to exercise.
Exercising too soon after giving birth can have a negative effect on your body.
You can end up causing more damage than good if you try too much too soon.
First of all, you might end up damaging your muscles, causing or worsening Diastasis recti or tearing your stitches!
Take it slow. Allow your body to heal. Allow your body navigate what organ belongs where (yes, your organs will be moved from their ‘original’ place during pregnancy).
Give yourself time to get to love your new body…
When you’re ready to exercise, start slow and steady! This will work better than joining a gym membership and going full pout!
So, there you have it, Mama!
RELATED POST: How Pregnancy Changes Your Body
I am NOT medical Doctor and the advice used in this post is based on my own experience and knowledge and I use it to inform, warn and help other mothers! Please do not replace advice from your doctor with the information given in this post!