Pregnancy is an exciting, daunting and miraculous thing, but it’s also pretty tough on the body. After giving birth, there’s a number of changes which occur that can come as a pretty nasty surprise. Therefore, it can really help if you read up and prepare yourself for the possible changes your body may experience.
Here, we’ll look at some of the main changes you’re likely to notice after pregnancy so you know exactly what to expect.
1. Your Hair May Fall Out
Ok, so it won’t fall out completely, but it will shed, a LOT. This is all thanks to the changing hormone levels and it’s so common it even has its own medical reference – postpartum hair loss.
When you become pregnant, your estrogen levels increase dramatically. This causes the normal hair growth cycle to stop in its tracks. Usually, there are three phases in the growth cycle. First, the hair grows, then it rests and then finally, it falls out. The increase in estrogen causes the hair to rest for much longer than it usually would, resulting in hardly any shedding throughout the pregnancy. Then, once you’ve given birth, those estrogen levels drop and the resting hairs begin to fall out.
This is why many pregnant women report having the healthiest looking hair they’ve ever had. Then, they’re shocked when months after giving birth, they start to notice large amounts of hair falling out. It can be devastating, but the good news is it’s temporary. You won’t lose all of your hair and it will grow back. So, if you notice your hair has become significantly thinner, or you’re losing way more than you should be, relax and remember it will soon pass!
There are also things you can do to minimize the problem. Topical treatments are readily available, while many new moms also choose to cut their hair shorter which does disguise the issue pretty well.
See: 10 Things You Won’t Expect To Happen After Giving Birth
2. Your Uterus Will Shrink
Right after giving birth, you’ll be able to feel your uterus. This is because it starts to detach the placenta from the walls of the uterus. So, you’ll essentially feel cramps which are often referred to as after pains.
You’ll typically feel the uterus around the belly button area for a few days after the birth. After approximately one week, the uterus weighs roughly one pound, which is half of the weight it was when you gave birth. It takes two weeks for the uterus to shrink to approximately 11 ounces, and go back solely into the pelvis. It finally reaches its original pre-pregnancy weight of just 3.5 ounces within four weeks.
So, it’s a temporary change, but it can still come as a surprise as it isn’t something you typically learn about when you’re pregnant.
3. Discolored Skin
Another surprising change which can occur after pregnancy is discolored skin. Usually, there’s a tan-colored area surrounding the eyes, but after pregnancy this can start to fade. It’s often called the “mask of pregnancy”.
Many women also suffer from either extremely dry skin, or a red rash can develop around the chin or mouth. All of these skin issues should start to go after a few weeks.
4. Your Sex Drive Will Become Almost Non-Existent
You might associate your sex drive as more of a psychological issue, but it’s also partly down to changes which happen within the body during and after pregnancy. The decline in estrogen levels causes your sex drive to decrease. This, along with the fact you no longer have time for yourself and you’re busy taking care of baby, sends sex to the bottom of your priorities.
It’s completely natural to lose interest in sex for weeks, if not months after giving birth. However, as with many other changes to the body, it is only temporary and your sex drive will return to normal when the tiredness and the initial overwhelming sense of responsibility dies down.
5. You May Experience Back Pain
When you give birth, your abdominal muscles stretch significantly. This makes them really weak and unable to support the body the same way they did before. So, until the abdominal muscles strengthen again, your body starts to put more pressure onto the back. This in turn can cause backache.
Another reason you may suffer with backache after pregnancy is down to poor posture. When you’re pregnant, your posture may change significantly due to the extra weight you’re carrying around.
Whatever the reason for the back pain, it should rectify itself within six weeks. If it doesn’t, you should visit your doctor to see what’s going on and how the pain can be managed.
6. You’ll Likely Still Have A Lot Of Stomach Fat
It’s common for women to think the stomach will automatically shrink down to its pre-pregnancy size right after giving birth. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t happen. As mentioned earlier, the uterus is still pretty big right after giving birth so this does push the stomach out a little (or in many cases a LOT).
It’s not until the uterus shrinks, which can take a total of four to six weeks, that the stomach will return to normal. Also, it will depend upon your diet and exercise routine as to how quickly you get back into shape. If you spent the majority of the pregnancy eating junk food and double the portions you usually would, it’s obviously going to take you a little longer to reach your pre-pregnancy weight as you’ll need to first lose the weight you gained.
Another factor which contributes to many women still looking pregnant after giving birth is the fact the abdominal muscles have been stretched. This means your stomach isn’t going to look as toned as it once did.
So, don’t expect your stomach to be instantly flat right after giving birth. It takes time and most likely a healthy diet and regular exercise routine to get back into shape.
7. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are a pretty common side effect of pregnancy, along with swollen legs. After giving birth, they do tend to become a lot less visible. However, it’s very rare for them to go away completely. This is one of the few changes to the body which can be permanent. However, the good news is there are treatments available which can help to eliminate them.
It’s actually pretty important to seek treatment for varicose veins as they can become progressively worse. It’s a common misconception that they’re completely harmless and solely a cosmetic issue. In rare cases, they can even cause fatal blood clots to develop, so seeking treatment is definitely advisable.
8. Your Feet May Be Larger Than Usual
By far one of the most surprising body changes which can occur after pregnancy is the size of your feet. It’s common for the feet to swell up during pregnancy, but did you know the feet may never return to their pre-pregnancy size?
Your shoe size could be permanently different now and it can come as quite a shock. You’d assume the feet would simply shrink back down to their original size but that’s not always the case.
So, why does the shoe size change? Well the additional weight you carry around throughout the pregnancy puts an awful lot of pressure onto the feet. This can cause the natural curve of the foot to start to flatten out. If it does, your feet could become up to ½ an inch longer. It’s not just the additional weight which is the problem however. It’s also down to a hormone known as Relaxin. This is produced by the body in preparation for childbirth. It literally relaxes the ligaments and affects the entire body.
So, you may need to invest in some bigger shoes once you become a new mom!
9. Your Hips May Become Wider
If you feel like your hips are wider after childbirth you aren’t imagining it. As baby passes through the birth canal, it can slightly change the pelvic bone structure. So, your hips may be permanently wider as a result.
This doesn’t happen to all new moms, but it’s definitely worth being aware of. It can be difficult to accept you now need to wear larger size jeans, but it is a possibility you should prepare for.
10. Change In Breast Size
Did you know that regardless of whether or not you breastfeed, your breasts can still become deflated? This is down to the body storing excess fat in the breasts during pregnancy and they also fill up with milk. After giving birth, if you don’t breastfeed, the breasts will automatically start to lose the excess fat and milk and you could be left with sagging, deflated breasts.
It’s also possible to be left with larger breasts, too. According to some experts, a third of women end up with larger breasts, a third end up with smaller breasts and the final third find their breasts go back to normal.
So, there you have it – 10 ways the body changes after pregnancy. Some can come as a bit of a shock but they are entirely normal. If you are worried about any changes in your body, it’s a good idea to get checked by a doctor. Even if the changes are considered normal, it’s still worth seeking a professional opinion if you’re concerned.
The appearance of stretchmarks is the most common change I see after pregnancy. A lot of people are so concerned about it. I also see some of the body changes you have mentioned like back pain, more stomach fats, varicose veins, wider hips, and larger breasts in some people. I was surprised with the other things you have mentioned like hair loss, discolored skin, larger feet and shrinking uterus. I haven’t seen anyone experiencing those things. My sisters and friends had more of stretchmarks instead.
I am more concerned about the back pain. It’s through that you bear weight while you carry the baby during pregnancy. I’m quite scared about it because I have a spinal problem, scoliosis. My doctor said I can still get pregnant though. I just have a feeling that there is a big chance that I will be on a bed rest.
Thanks to this information, I can try to avoid some of the things that might happen to me in the future. For the hair loss, I’ll include Biotin in my diet. Biotin is responsible for hair, nails, and skin integrity. For the back pain, I’ll consider more calcium intake. I’ll choose calcium forms that are easily dissolved by the body. It will benefit the bone development of the baby as well. For the stretchmarks and varicose veins, I’ll increase my vitamin C and Coenzyme Q10 intake after pregnancy. Vitamin C helps promote good blood circulation to reduce varicose veins. Both Vitamin C and Coenzyme Q10 help promote good skin. Vitamin C is for collagen formation, while Coenzyme Q10 is for replenishing muscle tone which is good for varicose veins. I hope my idea helps as an addition to your information.
Looks like you’re already prepared more than you think, Krisleen. Thank you for sharing all those details about supplements/vitamins. I’m sure a lot of women/moms will find the info useful.
I guess you really have to prepare for the back pain if you have scoliosis. Pregnancy could aggravate it so it’s best to consult your doctor about the best remedy aside from your meds, if you have any. And when pregnant, you may be asked to stop taking some meds that could harm the baby.
It is nice that you took your time to make this list that explains the reaction of the nursing mothers bodies after delivery of their baby. I mean this has got to show how experienced you’re on the things that relate to women. By understanding the ten reactions any nursing mother might experience after delivery, it is a show way to feel relaxed after delivery even at the face of the body changes.
Thank you, Henrywrites. We do our best to provide women and men about issues they would face as they start a family or even if they already have a family. We hope to equip each and everyone with proper know-how so they could face parenthood and family life better. Thank you for appreciating our efforts 🙂
Having given birth a year ago, I can definitely relate to a lot of these changes. Despite having read all about them during my pregnancy, I was still surprised once my baby was actually born. I mean, I had been applying stretchmark creams religiously to prevent the stretchmarks. However, sure enough once I had a look in the mirror I was horrified to see the deep blue stretchmarks!
Despite the less than flattering changes, I have learnt to embrace my new body. After all, I have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl and that’s all that really matters.
Accepting the body changes would be the best thing we can do, Pauline. It’s inevitable, and truly one of the sacrifices a woman makes in order to have a family (although there are women who are really blessed to be able to bounce back to their pre-pregnancy shape).
When you do look at your baby smiling at you or laughing at the simplest things, you know he/she is worth all the sacrifice you’ve made 🙂
What are my going to do with this information? Hahaha….pardon me, am just being silly.
This is a most know list of informations for mothers, especially first timers. It’s good that you took it up yourself to share this information so mothers know what to expect after delivery, that way they could prepare to take measures ahead of time.
Changes as we know is inevitable, and certain physical changes have the tendency to affect relationships negatively, between spouses. So It’s not just about women, I think it’s important to share the above information with men too, especially fathers.
That’s so true, Rumu. Relationships between husbands and wives may be affected by the body changes mentioned here. It is important that men also know these so they would understand that these changes are inevitable and that it’s not the woman’s fault, especially number 4.
These changes are not easy for women to accept, especially in this day and age when society puts a lot of emphasis on looking fit and fab, making most women feel bad about themselves.
That’s informative. I’m a guy and some of it are common things we notice and we know of but thank you for explaining it further so we guys really understand it. But we’ve seen lots of people that became even better and hotter after pregnancy. Could it be genes or their way of taking care of their selves? Nowadays there’s a lot of solutions to solve some of these problems and mainly its about diet and exercise. There is an important piece to solve this and that’s is willingness.
Thank God we now have more men who better understand women’s plight, haha.
You’re right, willingness (and I would say determination) is the key to achieve a better-looking body after pregnancy but it is not that easy. And yes, genes also play a role as to why some women remain fit/sexy even after pregnancy while others end up being “disfigured”. But as you’ve said, there are solutions to such problems like diet and exercise.
Well researched and articulated. The points highlighted is no doubt some of the general changes that occur in women during and after pregnancy. However, as a guy, there were few points above that I feel all men especially the ‘soon to parents’ should take note.
Changes in these forms are virtually inevitable, but with understanding and constant appreciation or compliments to our spouses will go a long way in helping them get back to the beautiful woman we fell in love!
I guess compliments/appreciation from their spouses would do the trick for some women to take care of themselves better, and encourage them to stay fit or get back in shape. For some, it could be the reverse. But of course, this is all about physical attraction which will eventually change as people age. I would say couples should not only work on the physical aspect of their relationship but should invest more on the substantive ones like understanding, commitment, loyalty, etc.
This article is very informative. I hope all the new fathers can read this piece. They should understand what we will become, as mothers, right after we give birth. Take note, our sex drive will be zero or non-existent, so please, do not force us. There are still so many things to be done like, taking care of the baby and also ourselves while regaining our normal strength. While it is true it is going to be so hard for both of the parents, nurturing the baby must be the utmost priority.
I have all of those changes. My husband tends to tell me I’ve changed. If only he understands the changes I’m going through after giving birth. I had a C-section. Those stubborn belly fats lowered my self-esteem. I don’t know. Maybe, I’m just really not used to having these belly fats. Well, it’s loose skin most of it. My hair definitely falls out. Everything listed here has happened to me. My husband and I use to laugh at my breasts. They’re not that small, but after I breastfed my little one, it shrank. My husband was like, “what happened to my babies? (referring to my breasts)”. Then he will just laugh and look at our baby girl and will tell her what did she do to my breasts. LOL. I also have minimal varicose veins. BACKPAIN. Ugh. Oh, how I hate backpains. Even after a massage, it seems like it’s never gonna go away. Well, a woman’s body is definitely a miraculous thing human could have. We may have changes in our bodies, but that will not matter anymore especially when you see the precious gift given from God to you. Our little bundles of joy.
Yes mdbree17, you’ll feel really down at times when you see the physical changes after giving birth. We may laugh about it but deep inside, it hurts. I mean, men will always be men. No matter how much they say they love us, our physical appearance will still be noticed or may still be an issue with them. That’s really one of our big difference with the opposite sex (although not all men have issues with appearance, I hope, haha).
I don’t know about you but I think for most women, they really don’t care if their husbands/partners grow fat or ugly, they would still love them just as much as the day they fell in love with the guy.
I agree, Katherine, about nurturing the child as the utmost priority as well as regaining your strength. However, you should never regret your well-being (emotional, psychological) as well as your relationship as husband and wife. These things are important, too. Trust me when I say when you become depressed with the stress brought about by raising a child, you will feel even worse if you see yourself in the mirror. So we should balance everything as much as possible.
Im a guy and this gives me ideas on what will happen when a woman gets pregnant. Thank you for this information. It makes me understand more about women
You’re very much welcome, Girardo. Now we have more men who understand the changes women go through. We really hope men like you multiply, haha.
It’s not easy for women to bear these changes. It could be really depressing for some but they can’t do anything about it, it’s inevitable. It’s a very big sacrifice to suffer the physical consequences of child-bearing but it’s a necessary sacrifice if we want to have a family.
My daughter is already 10 years old but sometimes most specially during winter season I can still feel a sort of pain on my C-section. I ask my OB-gyne about it and answered me that it’s normal to feel it that way sometimes and not too long. The stored fat in my tummy never went away together with my stretch marks. Physical changes due to pregnancy are just reminders that we are lucky to carry a gift from GOD. The graetest gift every woman is aspiring for.
Pregnancy is not an easy task at all, women are to be given a lot of kudos in being effective and efficient in successfully carrying a baby for 9 long months, and as well pass through the suffering and pains of child delivery, either through C – Section or normal natural delivery.
Now, after bearing the pains of Child delivery, they are still subjected to extensive body changes like postpartum hair loss, although it’s not a permanent falling of hairs but temporal, it’s not a an easy thing for women to lose their hairs. I have never seen a lady that is pleased with losing her hair.
All these 10 changes listed in this article are so true in what nursing mothers experience after child birth, they are truly deserving of all the respect in the world.
If we knew these things before pregnancy, we would have been better prepared. But anyways, thank you very much for this useful and informative article.
#4 did not surprise me because I observed this in my wife. I was unaware about #8. I will have to check whether her feet are wider than they used to be previously.
Haha, the number 4 is actually a thing both parents feel because of the effects of the baby passing through the vagina and some babies are too big that a mother would be given a cut to allow the pass through with ease, so this affects the elasticity of the vagina thereby cutting the drive to make love with one’s wife.
All the points here are definitely true but too bad it comes as a shock to most women. Having big feet is really not a good surprise because getting big pretty shoes for women with bigger feet is not easy at my place.
I am happy to know the uterus shrinks although I read somewhere about the uterus sagging permanently with subsequent pregnancies. I would like to read an article about how to prevent this condition.
It will be very nice if the hips get wider and the breasts change to be bigger after becoming a mother because most girls are self conscience about their smaller parts and experiencing this change after becoming a mother will be a pleasant surprise. 😀
The body changes a lot during pregnancy, I have had a whole lot of experiences when I was pregnant, they were bitter sweet memories because at first I hated the whole feeling till I lost them to the cold hands of death.
When I was pregnant my nose got bigger and I felt so much pains in my tummy and at my back, there were nights I couldn’t sleep well and I change positions when I was not comfortable, my body shape began to change and I felt very ugly. I had the worst episodes of depression back then.
Depending on the body of the lady, because when I was pregnant it was only pains at my back and in my stomach I felt most of the time, there was not much change except on my nose and stomach.