12 Ways Pregnancy Might Change Your Post-Baby Body Forever

Motherhood is a beautiful thing and will change your life forever. You’re bringing a new life into this world and growing your family. With this new life, comes a new experience—both internal and external. While a lot of the extreme body changes will return back to normal post-pregnancy and delivery, there are a few things that have the potential to change your body forever.

If you experience these forever changes, don’t worry. At the end of the day they are completely worth it and you’ll come to learn this as soon as you hold your baby for the first time. With that being said, it’s always better to be prepared, which is why we put together the top 12 ways pregnancy might change your post-baby body forever.

1. Weight Gain

Women gain weight during pregnancy. It’s inevitable. Your growing baby alone will add extra pounds, not to mention all of the vital changes to your body needed to nourish him or her. Your post-baby body depends a lot on your diet and exercise regime, but for many women, a small increase in weight will be the new norm.

On average, for every baby a woman has, they will gain around 2.5 to 5lbs. The more children you have, the more your “normal weight” will increase. To avoid any weight gain that exceeds 2.5 to 5lbs, make sure you’re eating a well balanced, nourishing diet while pregnant and after delivery.

2. Shoe Size

Most women have heard rumors that pregnancy will make your feet enormous. While they won’t jump to anything unnaturally large, you will experience an increase in shoe size at some point. Some women will only experience this during pregnancy, as their feet simply swell and return back to normal post-baby, but others will sport their new size forever.

This permanent increase in shoe size is commonly due to your foot’s arch changing after carrying around extra weight—it flattens out, thus lengthening your foot. The extra weight from your baby is paired with an increase in the hormone relaxin—which relaxes your ligaments and bones in your body to prepare for childbirth. The change in shoe size shouldn’t be too severe, but you will need to update your wardrobe.

3. Vaginal Changes

A woman’s body is truly amazing, especially during pregnancy and childbirth. With that being said, a baby will have a huge impact on the size of your vagina and surrounding organs. Your vagina itself will end up contracting back to its original size, but it will likely to a little wider than pre-delivery.

This is completely normal and is no surprise considering the size of a newborn baby! On the other hand, your uterus will stay enlarged until after you go through menopause.

4. Bathroom Problems

Depending on the size of your baby and some other pregnancy factors, you will likely experience at least some degree of incontinence. Delivery will weaken surrounding muscles, including the ones that help you control your bladder. Pair this with a prolapsed pelvic floor and you’ll experience incontinence here and there.

Luckily, there are some things to do to help combat any uncomfortable, or potentially embarrassing, incontinence problems. Practice your Kegels, check out any available technology, and wear a panty liner or thin pad for the first few months post-delivery. Even if your continence doesn’t return to pre-baby status, it will get better.

5. Breast Changes

It’s no surprise that you’ll experience changes with your breasts post-baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding. For most women, their breasts will get larger during pregnancy and shrink back to their pre-baby sizes. For others, they will end up with permanently larger breasts.

Both women who receive a free breast enhancement and those that don’t will experience an increase in sagginess from size fluctuation and stretching ligaments. On a more positive note though, breastfeeding won’t make sagging worse and is associated with a lower chance of breast cancer!

6. Stretch Marks

Pregnant women will experience stretch marks, or as we like to call them, tiger stripes. Your skin is going to stretch a lot to accommodate for your growing baby. While you should lather on as much cocoa butter as you please, stretch marks will likely occur at some point during your pregnancy.

After you deliver and begin to lose a little of your baby weight, you will notice that stretch marks will fade and become lighter as time passes. Don’t be ashamed of them! All women have them and you should be proud of them. To reduce your chances of pronounced stretch marks, eat well during pregnancy and gain a healthy amount of weight.

7. Hair Growth

Another thing that will happen to your body post-baby is an increase in hair growth. Luckily, this primarily occurs on your head, which is great news. Since your hormones change so intensely during pregnancy, you will experience a much thicker head of hair. This is because the hormones your body is producing are directly related to your hair strength, thus you’ll experience fewer lost strands.

For most women, this will return to normal post-pregnancy, but some women do reap the benefits for years to come.

8. Skin Changes

There are a lot of things that happen to your skin throughout your pregnancy due to changing hormones and overall body composition. In addition to the stretch marks that you’ll develop, one or more of the following may occur: linea nigra, melasma, or varicose veins. While none of these are 100% guaranteed, it’s important to be aware of them just incase.

Linea nigra is the dark, vertical line that runs down the length of your stomach towards your pubic hair region during pregnancy. This appears because pregnancy increases the amount of melanin a woman’s body produces, and thus adds colored pigmentation to your skin.

This is why some women will also experience melasma, commonly referred to as the mask of pregnancy. Melasma involves brown patches that color the face—sometimes temporarily, but has the potential to become permanent. It all depends on your skin pre-pregnancy, genetics, and after care. Use sunscreen at all times, especially on your face during pregnancy.

Another common skin ailment that women will experience is varicose veins. Varicose veins are swollen, blue, and sometimes sore veins on the lower half of their body. These occur due to your uterus’ heavy weight and pressure reducing blood flow to your lower body. While some women only experience these during pregnancy, others are plagued for life. Luckily, varicose veins are mostly harmless and are reduced with exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and support hose.

9. Swollen Hands

Just as your feet will swell, so will your hands. Rings will be difficult to wear if you experience swelling, so once you start noticing any swelling take them off. Some women are lucky enough to see their hands return back to normal, but some women experience permanent changes in their hands.

10. Gestational Diabetes

Women will often experience gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but sometimes diabetes continues after birth. Gestational diabetes turns into type 2 diabetes in up to half of the women that experience it. The determining factor depends on previous risk levels, lifestyle choices, and genetics. Make sure you talk to your doctor and get regularly check ups to prevent any form of diabetes.

11. Muscle Tone

Since your baby grows in your uterus, which is in the same region as your abdomen, you will experience a change in your muscle tone. This is because during pregnancy, your body grows and your muscles get pushed, pulled, and separated to make room for your growing baby. Post-delivery, depending on a number of factors, your muscles will return back to normal or stay separated and be less defined.

12. Tooth Loss

This is the most bizarre change that occurs to your body post-pregnancy. It was found that women who have had a child are more likely to lose teeth. We don’t know why exactly, but it does happen. Post-baby bodies also tend to experience more gum-related issues due to changes in blood flow and bacteria production. Talk to your dentist to find out what you to do to prevent any serious complications and always make sure you’re practicing good oral hygiene.

Conclusion

Every pregnancy is different, even if they occur in the same woman. The fact of the matter is, you’re growing a life inside you and the changes that your body goes through are intense. While you might not be too excited about some of the things on this list, remember that they come with something beautiful—your son or daughter. If you have any questions or concerns, make sure to schedule a visit with your primary care physician. While none of these post-baby body changes are life threatening, you can always look into your options for prevention and management. If you plan to breastfeed, don’t forget to head over to Byram Healthcare to browse our selection of pumps. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you’re eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by your insurance provider!

If you have any stories or tips for expecting moms on how pregnancy changed your post-baby body, visit our Facebook page and leave a comment today! We always love hearing from our readers!

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