Child bearing is such a wonderful thing all women desire but comes with a lot of responsibilities and challenges. Here are 11 possible changes that may occur after pregnancy.
1. Hair Loss: A few weeks after delivery, you may start losing large amounts of hair. During pregnancy, you lose far less due to those raging hormones. Now that the pregnancy is over, your body will have to compensate and lose extra hair for the first six months after delivery. But don’t worry, your hair will soon return to its normal growth cycle.
2. Skin Discoloration: Some women develop what’s called the “mask of pregnancy.” That tan-colored area around your eyes will start to fade. Women who suffered from severe acne during pregnancy should see their skin start to clear up. However, other women will begin to experience a red rash around their mouth and chin or suffer from extremely dry skin. Both of these conditions should be gone within weeks.
3. Breast Changes: Your breasts will probably become flushed, swollen, sore, and engorged with milk for a day or two after the birth. Once this swelling goes down, in about three to four days (or until you stop breastfeeding), your breasts will probably begin to sag as a result of the stretched skin. You may also experience milk leakage for several weeks, even if you don’t breastfeed.
5. Back Pain: Because it will take some time for the stretched abdomen muscles to become strong again, your body is putting extra weight on the muscles of your back. This can lead to a backache until the abdominal muscles tighten up again. A new mom can also be suffering from back pain due to poor posture during pregnancy. Generally, these problems should clear up in the first six weeks after giving birth. If not, you may want to see a chiropractor.
6. Incontinence: Without the baby pressing on your bladder any more, you’re not urinating as frequently. But pressure on the urethra during delivery can make urination difficult postpartum. New moms may also suffer from incontinence or a urinary tract infection, which can cause a burning sensation during urination.
7. Constipation: If you were constipated during pregnancy, you may still have a problem with constipation, even after you give birth. An episiotomy or hemorrhoids may make a bowel movement painful. A diet high in fiber and plenty of water, milk, and juices can help ease the pain.
8. Vaginal pain and discharge: Your vagina may feel stretched and tender after the delivery. If you had an episiotomy, using cold packs right after delivery can help ease discomfort. Shortly after delivery, you will start to have a vaginal discharge made mostly of blood and what is left of the uterine lining from your pregancy. This is called lochia and can last for several weeks. You can usually start having sex again about three to four weeks after giving birth. If you’re breastfeeding at that point, you may experience vaginal dryness, which can make intercourse very uncomfortable. Look for a water-soluble vaginal lubricant to ease the pain. If you’re not breastfeeding, expect your period to return about seven to nine weeks after delivery. If you are breastfeeding, your periods may not return for several months — or possibly not until you stop breastfeeding altogether.
9. Swollen legs and varicose veins: The swelling and puffiness in your legs that you may have experienced during pregnancy will lessen very quickly after you give birth. However, some women begin experiencing twitchiness in their legs postpartum. If this happens to you, walking can provide some relief. Spider veins and varicose veins will probably improve with postpartum weight loss, but they will never go away completely.
10. Sweating: You may start experiencing excessive sweating at night after giving birth. This is because your body needs to get rid of all the extra fluids it accumulated during your pregnancy.
11. Energy Levels: Some new mothers say that they feel more energetic than they ever did before pregnancy. In fact, a woman’s aerobic capacity can increase up to 20% in the first six weeks postpartum. Other women say that the sheer exhaustion of childbirth, caring for a newborn, and excess body weight makes them feel sluggish and moody.