How Long Does It Take to Feel "Back to Normal" After Giving Birth? Moms Weigh In

The Rundown

Recovery postpartum is also a slow and steady race, not a sprint. When you feel disconnected to your body and are anxious for something to change, it’s easy to fall into the “quick fix” trap. But patient consistency is what leads to lasting change.

Stephanie Stamas, PT, DPT, ATC, PRPC
Stephanie Stamas, PT, DPT, ATC, PRPC
Mom of a 2yo and 4yo. Doctor of Physical Therapy. Pelvic Floor Expert.

After having a baby, it can be hard to even recognize the person in the mirror. Everything is still big and swollen and changing. Your belly, breasts, hair, hips and even your shoe size is different. Nothing is left unaffected and it doesn’t stop there. Once your little one is born, there is a massive hormone shift that kicks off yet another drastic change in your body. Longing for an end in sight and a return to something that feels familiar is natural. But is looking back the way to get there? Or does the massive change in your body point to something else that needs to adjust as well? 

If you’re holding onto something from the past, it can limit you from making progress towards something new. 

"I never went "back to normal."  I was bedridden almost all of my pregnancy so I had to define what a new normal for me was. It was incredibly hard to give up that old normal to rebuild." — Rachel, FL

Other moms highlighted that an all-or-nothing approach wasn’t truly representative of the healing process in their bodies. Different areas progress at different rates and acknowledging the positive changes is helpful.

"I’m 16 months pp after my 2nd baby, and I’m definitely not feeling back to normal. I feel more aware of my body in some ways, more out of tune with my body in others, stronger in some areas, and weaker in others. It’s definitely a journey!" — Danielle, IL
"I’ve been working out * slowly* but consistently for the past few months and do not feel “back to normal” in my body. I do feel stronger, have dramatically less back pain, more energy, and just overall feel better. My youngest is 14 months old. I’m sure there is a wide variety of when people feel “back to normal” that depends on rhythm at home, sleep, mental well-being, and fitness." — Victoria, NC

Recovery postpartum is also a slow and steady race, not a sprint. When you feel disconnected to your body and are anxious for something to change, it’s easy to fall into the “quick fix” trap. But patient consistency is what leads to lasting change.

"I’m working on getting back to “normal”. My core strength is so much weaker after having my second. I’m more aware now of how my body is compensating. Definitely working on being patient with myself!" — Jilandra, NC
"It definitely takes patience, grace and a lot of consistency.  I’m 2 years postpartum with baby #4. I’m not going back to the “normal” before kids, but I can create a new normal and do my best to keep my mind and body healthy." — Jennee, NM

Many moms challenged the idolization of the pre-baby body. It’s easy to compare a current difficult situation to an idealized version in the past. We do this with everything - friendships, marriages, work situations, etc. The “good ol’ days” of the past are always more attractive than our current pains. Kelly from North Carolina said:

"I echo what y'all are saying! My second is 18 months. A big thing I've been working through lately is realizing that my perception of what "normal" was before kids might be a little skewed. It's so easy to feel weak now and blame it on pregnancies and kids, and feel like I'll never get back to "what I was" before. But in all actuality, I might not have been as strong then as I think I was! After you go through pregnancy you're SO much more in tune with your body, you might notice things (perceived weaknesses?) That you never did before. And while some things absolutely are changed forever (hello giant, saggy breasts and c-section scar!), in most ways I think I'm working on trying to define a new normal, and *trying* to let go of what I thought I was before."

If you’re struggling to find some sort of normalcy in your body after having a baby, Kelly gives some great advice:

"Work on living in the present, moving to the future, and letting the past be somewhere with fond memories, but not something to compare yourself to.”

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