It took nine long months for your body to grow the beautiful little baby that the doula you hired just helped you give birth to. But it’ll snap right back to your pre-preggo state right away, right? Um, maybe not. In the weeks after delivery day, your body will be going through some pretty major changes. No one expects you to look like a paparazzi-ready celeb and slip into a size 0 right away (or at all — ever). Check out what you actually can expect of your post-baby body!
1. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: As your belly grew, so did your hair. You had shining, thick, super lush locks! Ah, but that head of hair was not meant to be. If you’re suddenly shedding more than Fluffy does, don’t freak. Losing some extra hair after pregnancy is completely normal. Most likely, it’s the falling estrogen levels that are to blame. Even though it may seem like you’re shedding by the fistful, in most cases, post-pregnancy hair loss will gradually stop. Your normal hair growth will likely resume by the time your baby is one.
2. Your Cups Won’t Runneth Over: Those pregnancy boobs that grew (and grew and grew) aren’t sticking around. They may stay while you nurse, but it’s likely they’ll go back down to pre-baby size at some point after delivery. That said, every woman’s body is different, meaning that it’s entirely possible your breasts will stay slightly larger than they were before.
3. Sneeze Pees: Pushing your way through labor and delivery may weaken the muscles that support your bladder. Along with that, childbirth can damage the surrounding nerves. Yikes! What’s the result? For some new mamas, bladder control isn’t exactly easy. A simple sneeze, cough or deep belly laugh may make you pee — a little. This light leakage may stop when the pelvic floor muscles heal, or it could stick around a bit longer. Don’t worry about borrowing your baby’s diapers just yet: These little leaks are typically minor and don’t happen all of the time. (If you do have continued incontinence or leakage that gets in the way of your daily activities, talk to your doctor right away.)
4. Perspiration, Post-Pregnancy: You finally crawl into bed to get a few zzz’s. As you drift off, you notice something strange — you’re super sweaty. It’s not mid-August (and even if it is, the AC is cranked all the way up), you haven’t just come back from the gym and you aren’t in the middle of a spinning class. It’s likely that you’re just getting rid of some of that extra fluid you retained during pregnancy. As your postpartum hormones start to balance themselves out, you’ll stop sweating like a teenager after a marathon cross-country meet.
5. Some Swelling: And here you thought swelling only happened during pregnancy. Nope! That excess fluid your body is trying to dump may cause swelling in your hands or feet. Even though some swelling is normal, excessive swelling isn’t. If you’re ballooning up to the point of discomfort, aren’t getting better or are getting worse, call your medical pro ASAP.
6. Hemorrhoid Horror: Hmm, maybe horror is a bit of an overstatement. That doesn’t mean you won’t get them, though. The same mechanisms that set light bladder leakage into motion may also cause this not-so-welcome postpartum body issue. The stress of pregnancy and the pushing of childbirth can cause swelling of the blood vessels in your rectal area: in other words, hemorrhoids.
7. Drying, Down There: Yep, you may experience vaginal dryness after giving birth. Again, your changing hormones are at fault here. The decline in estrogen may result in a noticeable drop from your normal natural lubrication. This may continue during the time that you’re breastfeeding. Don’t worry: Your doctor or midwife can help you to deal with this issue and provide ideas for adding moisture when you need it.
What post-pregnancy body change are you most concerned about? Share your answer with us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)