10 things no one tells you about the post-delivery body
There’s a whole lot of changes that the body has to deal with and much that you should know about so you can deal with it in the best way possible.
It will take time and a lot of hard work to regain your shape
After the delivery, the drop in estrogen to pre-pregnancy levels causes hair to fall out
Most women will have a period of around 40 days after delivery
With the months of pregnancy and delivery behind you, you bring your baby home. Your family and your doctors have prepared you for some of the things to expect: midnight feeds, check. Diaper changes, check. Sleepless nights, check.
But whatever else friends and family might have told you, no one ever tells you about the post-pregnancy body. True, we know that most women will have a period of around 40 days after delivery. Some of us know that the breasts can feel tender for a while. And most of us guess that sex isn’t going to be top-of-mind for a few weeks post-delivery. But there’s a whole range of changes that the body has to deal with, and much that you should know about the post-pregnancy body so you can deal with it in the best way possible.
1. Eager to get back into your old clothes? Wait, what’s the hurry:
If you’ve been dreaming about putting on your favourite clothes once you’ve brought your baby home, wait. Your uterus will take six to eight weeks to shrink back. Your tummy may feel a bit wobbly - depending on how much weight you put on during pregnancy, it will take time and a lot of hard work to regain your shape.
On the upside, breastfeeding helps you lose weight and produces a hormone that makes the uterus shrink faster.
2. Hormonal changes, hot flashes, teary eyes and frequent mood swings:
It doesn’t matter which season you have delivered your baby in, the dramatic hormonal changes will keep your body confused. You may feel hot flashes even in the winter months.
The high prolactin levels, absence of progesterone, and dopamine touching an all-time low will likely make you moody. Many women experience Baby Blues: a kind of sadness immediately post-delivery. Baby Blues is different from postpartum depression in that baby blues last for a maximum of six weeks and don't require treatment.
This hormonal imbalance is the most prominent reason for postpartum depression which affects one in every 10 women.
3. Bye-bye bigger breasts, welcome saggy boobs:
Women’s breasts undergo many changes during pregnancy as the body prepares itself for breastfeeding. The boobs will be bigger, firmer and no doubt you will love this new asset during pregnancy and lactation. But boobs tend to become saggy afterwards when you’re no longer feeding. And the more babies you have, the saggier they become.
4. Enjoyed the nine-month break from periods? It’s time to welcome them back:
Pregnancy is not an easy phase but one thing is for sure, women do enjoy being free from their monthly visitor, and that too for nine long months. But post-delivery, your monthly visitor will be back with a bang. The wound of the detached placenta will bleed for almost six weeks. So be ready with your saviours, your sanitary pads.
5. Learn to love your linea nigra:
The vertical line running along the midline of the abdomen, from the pubis to the umbilicus, is called the linea nigra. During pregnancy, hormones can make this region darker.
In some women, the same hormone also causes darkening of the nipples and melasma, which shows up as dark patches on the face especially near the cheekbones.
This hyperpigmentation reduces after six months, but it rarely goes away completely.
6. Forget that sexy belly button:
Remember how you loved to flaunt your sexy belly button in your favourite sarees or short tops before pregnancy? This may be disheartening for you, but your belly button won’t be the same for several weeks after delivery.
7. Loved your lustrous hair during pregnancy? Get ready to see them on your pillow now:
Glowing skin and shining lustrous hair are definitely among the positives of pregnancy. Now that you have delivered the baby, brace yourself to see your beautiful hair falling in clumps on your pillow and the bathroom floor.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy not only promote hair growth but also prevent it from falling. After the delivery, the drop in estrogen to pre-pregnancy levels causes hair to fall out. This phenomenon is known as telogen effluvium.
Rest assured, this will be temporary. You are not going to go bald.
8. Expect your libido to take a nosedive:
Getting in the mood for sex will be hard for a few weeks; and not just because the baby might need you at any time. Low estrogen levels will pile on sleepless nights to send your sex drive into flight mode - temporarily. Vaginal dryness, pain, bleeding, possible tearing during delivery don’t help the situation either.
9. If the shoe doesn't fit:
During pregnancy, women tend to gain about 15 kilograms. This puts pressure on the feet, even as a hormone called relaxin tells the ligaments in the body to relax and stretch. In some women, the arch of their feet can become just a little bit flatter as this happens and they may gain a shoe size - permanently.
10. Tummy ache for mummy:
During the last trimester of pregnancy, you had tummy ache because your uterus was getting bigger to accommodate your baby. Now, expect “afterpains” because the uterus is shrinking back to normal again! Many women feel these pains while breastfeeding.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our articles on Pregnancy: Care and Tips.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
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