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Postpartum Series Part One: In Support of the Post-Baby Body

 In can be tough to embrace a post-baby body, especially when a lot of the messaging that exists about postpartum bodies focuses on "bouncing back."
In can be tough to embrace a post-baby body, especially when a lot of the messaging that exists about postpartum bodies focuses on "bouncing back."

Stop and think about pregnancy for a minute. It’s WILD. Organs shift, a new organ grows, a new being emerges. Labor and delivery can lead to tearing or major surgery. And after that, it’s head off home to care for a whole new person.

Support for postpartum bodies is a necessary but often overlooked aspect of the pregnancy and childbirth experience. But it doesn’t have to be. Host Anita Rao talks to birth and postpartum doula Lydia-Carlie Tilus, whose practice SageFemme Wellness connects her with postpartum parents seeking help with recovery. Tilus is also a certified neuromuscular massage therapist, which she uses to help clients reconnect with their bodies.

Rao also speaks to ash luna, a social worker and photographer who founded the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. The project features photographs and stories of postpartum bodies to normalize the countless forms these bodies take.

Also joining the conversation is Letticia Solomon, a teacher and mother of two who had both her children while serving in the Marines. She shares how the intensely physical nature of her job affected her postpartum experience.

Thank you to Kyesha Jennings, Priyanka Rao, Taylor Matthews, Amanda Magnus and Brianna Battles for sharing their stories and shaping this episode.

Four Things Pregnancy Changes About Your Body

  1. Blood Flow


“The amount of blood that your body produces increases, and they call that an increase in blood viscosity ... and that's to accommodate the growing baby.” - Postpartum doula and massage therapist Lydia-Carlie Tilus

  1. Joints and Ligaments


During pregnancy, the body releases the hormones relaxin and progesterone, which relax your muscles and loosen joints and ligaments. This can make tendonitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel and other joint and skeletal issues more common for pregnant people.

  1. Walking


“Your pelvis is being shifted … your gait will change to accommodate the fact that your center of gravity is shifting.” - Lydia-Carlie

  1. Breathing

As your organs shift to accommodate a growing baby, you may experience an out-of-breath feeling or an inability to take a deep breath.

Copyright 2022 North Carolina Public Radio. To see more, visit North Carolina Public Radio.

Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.
Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.