While you’re probably feeling a lot different now than the first week after childbirth, it can take about a year to fully recover from pregnancy and mentally adjust to your new identity as a parent. Here’s what you might experience at 26 weeks postpartum.
You’re officially at the six-month mark. Body changes this week might involve muscle tone, your menstrual cycle, skin issues, hair loss, or hormonal shifts.
It can take several months to regain your full pre-pregnancy strength, but you’re probably getting stronger every day. If you developed diastasis recti (widening between the right and left ab muscles) while pregnant, there’s a chance your stomach will still stick out slightly this week. And although it’s not usually permanent, about 30% of women still have it at the one-year mark.
Skin and hair
Some people have clearer complexions or less sensitive skin after pregnancy, while others experience not-so-fun skin changes. At six months postpartum, you might run into rosacea, eczema, dryness, or hormonal breakouts. Check in with a dermatologist if any of these issues don’t resolve within a month or so.
You’re likely seeing some hair fallout this week too. The amount of shedding can be alarming, but try not to panic. You’ll most likely be back to your pre-pregnancy fullness by the time your child turn’s one. If it’s really bugging you, a shorter cut can make your hair look and feel thicker, plus your baby won’t be able to tug on it as easily.
Breastfeeding and weaning
A little over half of infants still drink breast milk at 26 weeks, either by bottle, breast, or both. However, only about 25% breastfeed exclusively. Six months is often when solid foods are introduced, but babies still rely on breastmilk and/or formula as their primary source of nutrition until age one. Solids are really important to expose baby to new textures, flavors and social patterns at meals, but you may not notice a decrease in how much milk they drink until closer to the year mark.
Your little one might be getting their first teeth and could accidentally bite your nipple while feeding. Try to remain calm and pause the feeding. Generally babies realize biting doesn’t help anyone, and it won’t happen again. Distractions can also become an issue as they become more aware of the world around them.
Every person has different goals when it comes to feeding, and weaning is a personal choice. Some people experience hormonal shifts when weaning and experience everything from acne to mood swings. These changes are temporary, but it’s good to be prepared!
If you’re still breastfeeding exclusively, you might still be period-free. But if you recently quit or are supplementing with formula, your menstrual cycle may start back up soon — if it hasn’t already. In any case, don’t overlook birth control because you could ovulate and get pregnant before getting your first postpartum period.
Your mental health
At 26 weeks, you might be feeling more confident and comfortable in your role as a parent. That said, depression and anxiety are also somewhat common at this stage.
Postpartum anxiety and depression
Some of the most common signs include constant worry, frequent mood swings, lingering sadness, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, appetite changes, and restlessness. If you feel anxious or depressed for longer than two weeks, contact your healthcare provider or call the Postpartum Support International hotline.
Sleep and energy
Some babies begin sleeping through the night around the sixth-month mark. If this is the case with your child, take full advantage and get some much-needed shut-eye yourself. Drinking plenty of water, eating a well-rounded diet, and moving your body (even if it’s just a daily walk) can also help you keep your energy levels up.
Balancing career with family is never easy, let alone with a six-month-old in the picture. Instead of setting your sights on a perfect work-life balance, give yourself credit for doing your best, and don’t worry if you can’t always get to everything on your list. You’ve got this.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
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