Pregnancy and childbirth are incredible experiences. No matter how you deliver your baby, you will have just created a whole entire person. That deserves some recognition and congratulations! But, while you are reveling in the new addition to your family and your shocking and newfound capacity for love, you may also begin to notice that your body is changing in ways you weren’t prepared for. While not all of these changes happen to all people who give birth, this list provides a comprehensive overview of some things that might happen.
1. You’ll still want maternity clothes.
While giving birth does help you lose about 10-12 pounds upfront, the rest of your pregnancy weight loss may take longer. And, after your body and uterus expanded so much during your pregnancy, it will just take some time for everything to contract again. This is temporary and pretty much every woman experiences this. While there are healthy ways to lose weight postpartum, you should try not to lose too much weight too quickly, because you need those nutrients to feed yourself and your baby.
2. You may feel differently towards your partner.
Oh yes, blame this one on the hormones and the completely overwhelming experience of being a new mother. At a certain point after giving birth, you might completely hate your partner. This certainly doesn’t always happen to everyone, but it is a possibility if you happen to be up one night feeding the baby and the man next to you is sleeping like a baby.
3. Expect heavy periods.
Postpartum bleeding will happen regardless of how you give birth. It lasts between 2 to 6 weeks postpartum and you will have to rely on giant pads rather than tampons because you can’t run the risk of sticking anything else up there for the time being. This is all part of your body’s healing process.
4. Hair loss.
Oh yeah. In addition to all the other physical changes, you might begin to worry that you’re balding. This is due to the hormone changes in your body that occur both during and after pregnancy, but fortunately none of it is temporary. If you are worried about this, it can be helpful to eat high-nutrient foods for hair health and to stop using hair ties or anything that will stress your hair out more.
5. Your boobs can get rock hard.
This is one no one expects. If you skip a feeding, or are not breastfeeding at all, your breasts can get uncomfortably full. Like, so full they can’t move. An easy way to help this feel better is to breastfeed or breast pump regularly, and take warm showers.
6. Difficulty breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and luckily nowadays we know that formula is just as effective of an alternative. If, however, you do decide to breastfeed your newborn, you should be prepared for the fact that it might not go entirely smoothly. It may be hard at first for you and baby to get the hang of it, but once you do, it should be smooth sailing and you may find that there are a number of benefits you didn’t see coming.
7. Your crotch turning into a hot mess.
I would recommend not looking for a few weeks. I mean, your body, and especially your nether regions, are recovering from a serious life event that put your body through a lot. So it makes sense that you need some time down there to recover, and there’s no shame in that! If you feel any pain or discomfort, it may help to do Kegel exercises or use an ice pack for some relief.
8. “Tentative Terror” with your BMs.
Did your mother ever warn you about this one? Probably not. But the problem is fairly logical: you just pushed something giant out of your body, so you might be a little nervous to revisit that sensation again.
9. Those hormones will make you hot.
And not like, sexy hot. Like, “am I going through menopause ALREADY?” hot. It’s just your hormones, but boy, those hot flashes are no joke.
10. The amount that you cry might surprise you.
Again, this is hormones. But whether it’s just the baby blues or severe postpartum depression, you will most likely get a few good cries in. While baby blues typically go away on their own after a few days or weeks, postpartum depression is much more severe and requires a strong support team and therapy. Again, this is a fairly common side effect of giving birth and there shouldn’t be any shame in it. With that in mind, make sure your partner and the rest of your support system are watching out for you and are here to help you out when you need.
No matter how you feel, go gentle on yourself!
You may feel all of these symptoms or none at all. But either way, you just put your body through a lot of work regardless of how you gave birth. The first 6 weeks postpartum are considered your body’s recovery period, so try to take advantage of that and tend to yourself while you tend to your baby.
To learn more about the changes your body may experience, read this article.
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