10 Ways Your Body May Change Post Pregnancy
After you have a baby, your life changes in many ways. So many wonderful new adventures await you as you welcome your bundle of joy into the family! Unfortunately, your body can also change and it may not always be as joyful as the baby. Sometimes these changes are only temporary, but others may last longer than you had hoped.
Listed below are ten post pregnancy issues that many women may encounter, according to the pregnancy care providers at Gainesville's All About Women women's health practice:
- Excess belly bulge — Your uterus can take approximately 6-8 weeks to shrink to the size it was before pregnancy. Also, the excess weight gain may take some time to shake off. Healthy eating and exercise before and after the birth can help speed up this process.
- Swollen feet — The additional weight you gain during pregnancy may actually flatten the arch in your foot and cause it to increase in size. Many women go up half an inch or larger in shoe size during the process of having a baby.
- Sex drive — Estrogen levels rise during pregnancy and drop abruptly after the baby is born. This significant change can cause your sex drive to be very low post pregnancy. Not to mention you are flat out exhausted! However, this should eventually return to normal.
- Breast engorgement and sagging — After pregnancy, your breasts may become engorged. If you have chosen not to breastfeed, do not try to get rid of the milk even though you will feel like you want to. If you are going to nurse your baby, you may need to use a breast pump to help relieve the engorgement.
- Hair loss — Because of the decrease in estrogen levels after the baby, your hair may actually fall out more than normal. Three to four months after birth is generally when the hair loss peaks, and it should return to normal six to twelve months post pregnancy.
- Urinary Incontinence — Well, this one is no fun for sure! When you are pregnant, the baby presses on nerves in your uterus, causing these nerves to become numb. When this happens, your body can lose the control it once had. For a while, you may need to wear sanitary napkins or under pants as you may soil your underwear until this goes back to normal.
- Excessive bleeding — Many pregnant women definitely enjoy the nine month reprieve from their monthly period. However, after you deliver, sometimes your period comes back heavy and with a vengeance! It should eventually go back to normal, but for several days to months your period may be different than it was before you were pregnant.
- Hemorrhoids — With all of the pushing in the rectal area during labor, some women get very large and painful hemorrhoids. They will eventually go away, but it can take time. Cold compresses, soaking in a tub, or using medicated wipes after your bowel movements can usually help give you some relief.
- Back and hip pain — Experts are not certain as to why back and hip pain only happens in certain women. Some guesses are over-stretched ligaments and the effects of carrying the baby. Some women find a chiropractor helps relieve this pain until it naturally subsides.
- Looseness in the vaginal area — As a result of labor, your vagina, uterus and rectum actually drop a bit, causing a woman to feel loose in that area or as if there is a falling sensation. Generally, this will get better in a few weeks. Kegel exercises can help tremendously. At your 6-week post-pregnancy checkup, tell your doctor if this side effect persists.
You may not have to deal with any of these issues following your pregnancy, or you may experience all of them. It all depends on how each individual's body chooses to react.
At All About Women, we care about your entire childbirth journey from pre- to post-pregnancy. For additional resources regarding your pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care, browse our knowledge center and blog.
Have you found a reliable and knowledgeable pregnancy doctor who you can really trust? If not, contact our Gainesville or Lake City, Florida location to set up your appointment today.