Retired tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki welcomed her daughter Olivia on June 11, and she's already started posting on Instagram about life as a new mom. But one post, in particular, is getting a lot of attention.
In it, the 30-year-old is standing on a walking path by a picturesque harbor while pushing Olivia in a stroller. She's wearing a red sports bra, matching red leggings and a big smile. "New routines," Wozniacki captioned the shot.
While Wozniacki just posted a photo of herself with her baby, plenty of people took the opportunity to comment on her body. "How is a catsuit a possibility after ten days???" one person wrote. "Were you ever pregnant?" another person said, while someone else chimed in with, "How do you look this good 10 days after having a baby!?? Incredible!!!!!"
Wozniacki is hardly the first mom to get comments on her body after giving birth. After actress Sophie Turner, who welcomed her daughter Willa last year, shared a photo of her bare midsection on Instagram two weeks ago, she got comments like "Didn’t you [have] a baby? How the f do you look so good?"
Bachelor star Lauren Burnham, who gave birth to twins on June 11— the same day as Wozniacki's daughter was born — just shared a photo of herself in her Instagram Story. In the photo, Burnham is wearing a black bra and underwear, and she has a little belly. "11 days [postpartum]... just a reminder that not everyone gets a flat tummy back right after popping babies out & it's all good," she wrote. "Proud of this squishy belly even if i have to ask, 'what could possibly be in there?!' lol."
These photos are a good reminder that not all post-baby bodies look the same, Dr. Christine Greves, a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Fla., told Yahoo Life. "Most women do not have flat bellies and do not get into their pre-pregnancy clothes until at least after six weeks postpartum," she said. "I tell women to give themselves at least six months."
For the first six weeks postpartum there are "a lot of fluid changes and your uterus is still large," Greves said, adding, "you just had a baby in there!" Many women also gain excess weight during pregnancy, and that doesn't just magically go away, she points out.
"How the body responds and recovers physically after delivery is dependent on many factors," Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an ob-gyn and founder of Sanctum Med + Wellness, told Yahoo Life, citing exercise, diet, how the pregnancy went and genetics as possible factors. "Considering Caroline is an elite athlete who had a high-intensity exercise regimen prior to pregnancy, it is not uncommon for the body to respond as quickly as it has in her instance," she said.
Women's health expert Dr. Jennifer Wider compares pregnancy to training for the Olympics. "Your body has gone through many changes over the last nine months, growing a new life," she said. "When you're finished with labor and delivery, you can't flip a switch and get back to 'normal' immediately. For many women, it can take months and months for bodies to return to their pre-pregnancy shape."
Most of the comments in Wozniacki's post were positive, but it's still potentially damaging to make comments on a woman's body in the postpartum period, Dr. Tamar Gur, a women's health expert and reproductive psychiatrist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Life.
"It just continues to set unhelpful and abnormal standards for all women when certain women are complimented on their appearance in the postpartum time period," she said. "It's very important to acknowledge that every woman and every body is different."
Even if the intention of commenting on a woman's postpartum body is good, "the consequences can be negative," Gur said.
"A woman who is six months out and still looks pregnant can see that commentary and feel less than or othered," she explained. "We need to be supportive and uplifting of postpartum women — their bodies have done something incredibly hard."
If you want to compliment a new mom, Gur recommends focusing on emotions over appearance. "You can say things like, 'You seem happy,' 'you seem fulfilled,' and 'you seem to really be enjoying the baby,'" she said."Just don't comment on someone's body."
Also, keep this in mind, per Greves: "Many women at 10 days postpartum still look pregnant, and that's completely normal." Wider agreed. "It's not one size fits all," she said. "Women need to be more delicate with their own expectations."
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