Dr. Brittanie Hagen, OB/GYN with Baptist Health Women’s Clinic-Conway
Bringing home a new baby comes with lots of changes. You have a new routine, new priorities and you’ll find your body is a little different as well. Read on for 10 of the changes you may experience after pregnancy.
1. Stomach Bulge
Though you are no longer carrying your baby, your uterus is still enlarged, and will take a while to go back down. When you leave the hospital with baby, expect to be around the size you were at 20 weeks pregnant. Your uterus should return to its previous size within 6-8 weeks, but your stomach may not completely flatten.
2. Larger Feet
Feet typically swell during pregnancy and may not return to their previous size. The extra weight you carried during pregnancy and hormones that help relax ligaments to make room for baby may also flatten the arch of your foot.
3. Change in Breast Size
Breasts can grow up to two cup sizes during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Breasts will be swollen, sore and engorged with milk for a couple days after birth, and you may have some milk leakage for several weeks whether you breastfeed or not. Once you are done breastfeeding, breasts will typically shrink significantly and may sag.
4. Hair Loss
Thanks to an influx of hormones, hair is usually fuller and shinier during pregnancy, but returns to its normal thickness after giving birth. This results in significant hair loss, which peaks 3-4 months after birth and plateaus within 6-12 months.
During vaginal birth, the baby can apply pressure on the urethra, causing you to temporarily lose some of your bladder control. Most women regain complete control within a year, but those who have larger babies could experience more permanent damage that should be treated by a physician.
6. Skin Condition
While pregnant, some women develop a melasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” a skin condition that causes brown to gray-brown splotches to pop up on the face. The condition typically resolves within a year after giving birth, but it can remain permanent for some. Melasma that doesn’t dissipate can be treated by a dermatologist.
7. Stretch Marks
Stretch marks often appear as your body expands to accommodate your growing baby. While they will eventually fade and become less prominent, they won’t ever completely go away.
8. Back Pain
Most new moms experience back pain in the first couple of months after giving birth due to stretched, weakened ab muscles and compromised posture during pregnancy. The pain will typically resolve within six weeks. If it doesn’t, make an appointment with your physician to learn out how you can find relief.
9. Wider Hips
A woman’s bone structure changes slightly during pregnancy and after giving birth, particularly in the pelvic bone. For some women, this results in noticeably wider hips.
10. Vaginal Pain
After a vaginal birth, your vagina will likely feel stretched or sore. Women that tear during delivery or have an episiotomy will experience extra discomfort. To ease your pain, apply ice packs after delivery.
Baptist Health is committed to helping your transition to motherhood be as healthy and happy as possible.