Anne Hathaway is the latest new mom to discuss the importance of cutting yourself—and your body—some slack after you have a baby. The actress, who gave birth to baby Jonathan in March, is getting attention for an honest Instagram post she put up Monday night about the body struggles new moms face, herself included.
“There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever),” she wrote under a photo of a pair of jeans cut into shorts. “There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer’s are just too dang short for this summer’s thighs.”
“Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink,” she added. “It’s all love (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)” Check out the amazing post below.
There is no shame in gaining weight during pregnancy (or ever). There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all). There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer's are just too dang short for this summer's thighs. Bodies change. Bodies grow. Bodies shrink. It's all love (don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) Peace xx #noshame #lovewhatyouhavebeengiven
She makes a good point: Pregnancy can alter your body permanently in unusual ways—even impacting the shape of your thighs. But why does that happen?
Let’s start with the obvious: Women gain weight during pregnancy, which is natural and needed in order to create a healthy baby, Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Center for Sexual Health & Education, tells SELF. Among other things, the weight you gain during pregnancy includes the baby, the placenta, and fat, she explains. Also, your body requires additional fluid—including up to 50 percent more blood—to support you and your baby during your pregnancy, says Shepherd. While some of that, like the baby and placenta, goes away with childbirth, other elements, like excess fat, take time and effort to get rid of.
Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, tells SELF that hormonal changes may also play a role. Pregnant women experience a significant increase in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, the latter of which can impact your muscles and joints. Your joints and muscles being different postpartum can cause your clothes to fit differently.
This can also lead to shifts in how weight is distributed in your body, Shepherd says, which can explain why your abs may look normal but your jeans suddenly feel tight around the hips.
There’s another reason why it can be so hard to lose weight after you give birth: Your body experiences increased levels of leptin (a hormone that regulates fat storage) during pregnancy, which helps explain why you gain weight when you’re pregnant—and it may contribute to difficulty in losing weight after you have a baby, Michael Cackovic, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF.
All of those elements boil down to one fact: Your body probably isn’t going to look and feel the same right after you give birth, and might not for some time. But chances are you can reach various post-baby health and fitness goals you set as long as you recognize that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. “Time is probably the biggest factor—patience is needed,” Shepherd says. Exercise and breastfeeding have also been shown to help, she says, but she also notes that it’s often tough for women to find the time to work out after having a baby.
Above all, Shepherd says you should give yourself a break. “Be kind to yourself,” she says. “A lot of women put pressure on themselves to get back their old bodies quickly, but you grew a human for nine months. It can take a while.”