A woman’s body undergoes tremendous changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. We look at 10 surprising body changes post-pregnancy that you may not realize.
1) An Increase in Shoe Size
Most people know that the feet will typically swell during pregnancy, but for some women, it is a permanent change. The extra weight gained during pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the feet, which flattens the arches of the feet. Additionally, a hormone called relaxin loosens the muscle ligaments in the body in anticipation of childbirth, and it isn’t confined to the pelvic area, but the feet as well. Therefore, the loosened ligaments plus flattened arches result in lengthened feet. (Source: WebMD)
2) The “Pregnancy Pouch”
Of course, it’s wildly unrealistic to expect your body to snap back into its pre-pregnancy size, but why do you look like you’re still pregnant after you’ve given birth? Well, the uterus takes about 6-8 weeks to return to its normal size, so you’ll have to give it some time. You can help tone your round and squishy belly by doing core muscle exercises such as the pelvic tilt, pelvic bridge, heel slides and towel pulse (under the advice of your doctor). (Source: fitpregnancy.com)
3) Cup Size Goes Down
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, your breast size does increase. Sometimes by a lot. However, when you wean your baby, your breasts tend to drop in cup size, and they may also droop or sag. This is because weaning stops the production of milk, and your breasts then return to their normal size, or even smaller. Women who are of a more advanced maternal age, smokers, have a higher BMI, have a larger bra size pre-pregnancy, and have multiple pregnancies are more prone to decrease in cup size.
Incontinence is another word for peeing involuntarily. These involuntary pees occur because when you carry a baby, the baby puts pressure on your pelvic muscles. And then, when you give birth, the pelvic muscles are weakened further. Therefore, you may have difficulty in controlling your bladder. But don’t worry, this issue is a temporary one. Once your muscles are strengthened again, you won’t have this problem anymore! (Source: U.S.News)
After childbirth, your body will still be recovering from the effects of pregnancy, and that causes constipation. High levels of progesterone and the weight of your baby on your intestines actually slows down the digestive system, and during labour, the digestive system slows down even more dramatically. Also, drugs for pain relief during labour may affect your bowels as well (Source: Baby Centre), so you may find yourself not passing motion for a few days after childbirth. Longer-lasting constipation may also occur, especially if you are taking iron tablets.
6) Widened Hips
The aforementioned relaxin hormone impacts the pelvic area the most, widening the hips in anticipation of pushing out a baby. This brings about changes in the structure of the pelvis bone, which means it’s a rather permanent change. For some women, it’s not very noticeable, but some women may find that their old jeans may no longer fit.
7) Skin Discolouration
Pregnancy hormones boost the production in melanin, which increases pigments everywhere in the body, especially in areas where there is additional pigment. You may find that scars, freckles, moles, the underarms, and the labia and the nipples may all get darker. After birth, they may lighten and fade, but some will remain in a darker shade.
8) Skin Changes
Progesterone and estrogen levels surge during pregnancy, and these two hormones play a role in the “pregnancy glow”. Progesterone dilates blood vessels for better circulation (the glow), and estrogen triggers collagen production, which results in a stronger skin barrier to keep the moisture in and the irritants out. When these hormones drop, it can lead to excess oil, acne, red patches, dry skin and inflammation.
9) Weight Gain
With a baby growing inside of you, it’s only normal that you gain weight. But after giving birth, sometimes the weight you gained stays with you. Possibly, one of the most common weight gain causes is overindulging during pregnancy – the “eating for two” mentality. That statement has no backing, and if you’d still like to have your pre-pregnancy body after you give birth, remember to not overindulge!
10) Stretch Marks
Stretch marks occur when the skin is stretched too quickly (a growing baby counts), and though they may not completely disappear, they may fade. The lines of stretch marks are of a different colour and texture than your normal skin, ranging in colour from purple to pink to light grey. A dark line down the abdomen known as the linea nigra may also appear on some women.
A solution to your post-pregnancy problems
Whilst some changes are there to stay, there is a solution to some of the post-pregnancy problems! A multipurpose specialist skincare product, Bio-Oil is best known for reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks, it works in moisturising your skin as well. From stretch marks to dry skin, Bio-Oil is the solution to your post-pregnancy skin conditions by keeping your skin hydrated and supple.
Bio-Oil contains several natural plant essential oils and vitamins A and E, along with PurCellin Oil™. This is a unique ingredient that keeps the formulation light, regenerating and nourishing the skin, without leaving an oily residue. With its no. 1 ranking in 24 countries as the best-selling scar and stretch mark product, it’s now a well-known household brand! Take care of your skin with Bio-Oil while you embark on your motherhood journey.