There is no doubt that post delivery every woman has those “this-never-happened-to-me-before” moments. The slight weight on the belly, those extra wiggly arms, the sudden streams of sweat down your spine, yes, we know you see all that and wonder - what is happening to me?
Dear Moms, while some of these changes can be dealt with through exercise and good diet, there are those which will be permanent. Read on to know what will stay...
1. Bigger or smaller breast
Breasts tend to get bigger and the skin stretches during pregnancy and lactation. As a result breasts tend to sometimes stay bigger or often smaller as well as soft and floppy.
2. Your skin
You may end up with anything from dry skin, darkened patches of skin, moles to spots. Some women tan more easily, they sweat more, have body odour - and this seems to stay.
3. A flabby tummy
You will have a flabby tummy but it will slowly shrink if you eat healthy and start gentle exercises initially - however it may take up to a year before you get back into shape.
4. A Caesarean scar
Some women end up with a tiny mark just below the bikini line. Others end up with a more obvious scars and a tummy bulging over the top. It is important to start exercising slowly and strictly and to avoid fatty foods and sweets.
5. Bigger feet
Many women report a changing shoe size caused due to swollen feet and the extra weight, making the arch of the feet a little flatter and hence increasing shoe size.
6. Your ability to do without sleep
After you have a baby, many women manage to get through weeks and even months on a few hours of sleep a night.
7. A loose pelvic floor
During pregnancy and birth - especially after an assisted delivery, or a very long labour – your pelvic floor muscles may get stretched and be less able to work efficiently. This may mean if you laugh or cough you may pee accidentally (and, sometimes, a less satisfying sex life). Pelvic floor exercises or Kegels are very important and may help in reversing it.
8. Your hair
In some women, hair changes permanently. They become curly or straight, coarse or wavy, frizzy or thin.
9. Stretch marks
Weight gain in pregnancy, can cause stretch marks on your tummy, your breasts, your thighs or your buttocks. Stretch marks fade over time but they don't ever fully disappear.
10. Receding gums
The increased circulation of progesterone in your body during pregnancy causes plaque. As a result, you may find your gums bleeding. It is very important to keep brushing and flossing and to visit your dentist, or you could end up with gum diseases - which could lead to receding gums.
11. A damaged perineum
A tear or an episiotomy in childbirth usually heals in time. However for some women who have particularly bad tears, stitching that was too tight, or scar tissues end up suffering for years. It is important to visit a specialist and seek help.
12. Getting thinner
Just as some women put on extra weight after the birth, some women end up losing weight and maybe thinner than before. Breastfeeding can sometimes trigger this. Some women lose weight because there’s so much to do they never sit down. This is not good.
13. Wider hips
During pregnancy when a baby goes through the birth canal, it changes the bone structure slightly. As a result, many women feel their hips are wider. Some people don’t notice a change after, but others do.
14. Darker areola, labia, and even moles
Along with your breast size, the usual color of your areola and nipples may become a darker shade during pregnancy and then stay that way after you have a baby. This can also happen for your labia and even some moles on your body, due to the high levels of estrogen during pregnancy.
15. Hair on Nipples, Belly, Moles, Chin, Knuckles & Toes
Hair on the areola, belly, moles, chin, knuckles and toes post delivery is completely normal. The areola and moles contain hair follicles. If you feel that your hair growth is rapid, abnormal or thicker than it should be or if you have other symptoms, do see your doctor.
In Spite of all the postnatal changes, remember that every single phase of it is natural, perfect and deserving of celebration. We are conditioned to believe that things like stretch marks and not-as-firm breasts equal to less beauty, but you must believe that this is far from the truth. Let’s accept and love ourselves.
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