Being a mother changes you, both emotionally and physically. Only when you are pregnant, your body will get a whole new organ, your heart will pump 50% more blood and alien cells will try to hijack your brain.
Most of them will just disappear after delivery, but these 18 in this list will be permanently different. Brace yourself and learn them well to avoid shocks.
1. Vagina changes
This shouldn’t come off as a surprise due to the size of your newborn’s head. Most of the time, your vagina cannot regain its original size, which means you will now have a permanently wider vagina. According to New York City-based gynecologist, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, the author of “The Complete A to Z for Your V,” (Fair Winds Press, 2017), some of the factors include size of baby, type of delivery, genetic factors [and] being overweight.
2. Bladder problem
Squeezing an 8-lb. (3.6 kg) human out of weakens the muscles needed for bladder control, hence leading to incontinence, or loss of bladder control. Vaginal birth also damages bladder nerves and supportive tissue, causing pelvic floor prolapse. C-sections does not keep you safe from the risk as it also increases the risk of incontinence.
Don’t sweat it, you can still improve your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises. You can also search for a Bluetooth-enabled device that includes an app on your phone and a small intravaginal device to help with pelvic floor exercises and biofeedback.
3. Sagging breasts
Also technically known as ptosis, this is one of the biggest nightmares of women after childbirth. The sagging is caused when the ligaments and elastin that hold the fatty tissue in place are overly stretched. Hence, your breasts won’t perk up again, once they droop, they can only get worse. However, unlike common belief, breastfeeding does not worsen droopiness according to a 2010 study in the journal Annals of Plastic Surgery. You will need to stay away from weight gain, smoking status and additional pregnancies, not breastfeeding. This information will surely make you less worried about the baby nursing.
Fortunately, you can start to regain the breasts’ perkiness once you are done with breastfeeding. Provide your body with Phytoestrogen (plant-based estrogen) from Vagifirm to get your firm, sexy breasts back!
4. Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when you experience a big increase or decrease in weight, and pregnancy cannot be an exception. Stretch marks don’t typically go away, but luckily they fade away in one or 2 years after childbirth. However, keep it in mind that they will become more pronounced if your weight dramatically changes or you get pregnant again.
5. Skin changes
You never know how much your skin can change till you get pregnant. First, you will have to deal with linea nigra, the very dark, vertical line that commonly appears on the abdomen. Second, your face will also be a victim with the brown patches called melasma and darkened freckles and moles. Caused by an increase in melanin, these annoying issues will normally disappear after delivery. But, for some cases, they can stick around for years. While waiting for them to get lost for good, you can use sunscreen or wear a hat before going out, or use skin lighteners to lessen their dark colours.
6. Sex drive
After childbirth, your sex drive might take a year to get back to normal. It makes sense, why would you want to have sex when you don’t even have time for some proper sleep? Some women never find sex as pleasurable as before. One more factor to consider is breastfeeding. It affects your hormones, which can make your sex drive almost non-existent.
7. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins
Varicose veins (twisted, enlarged blue veins) might appear on your legs, your vulva and in your vagina. And if they are on the rectum, they get another name, hemorrhoids.
When the uterus’s heavy weight and pressure reduce blood flow from the lower part of your body, varicose veins and hemorrhoids start to develop. Some other reasons include increased blood flow and a weakening of the blood vessels’ lining.
Varicose veins do tend to improve within six to 12 months after delivery. To prevent them from developing, you should exercise regularly, wear support hose, avoid sitting for long with your legs crossed and eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of liquids to avoid constipation.
8. Slightly larger uterus
During pregnancy, your pear-sized uterus has to swell to the size of a watermelon to host your baby. After childbirth, the uterus takes around 6 weeks for a process named involution, in which it deflates and shrinks again. However, the results might not be 100% perfect.
According to a 1996 study published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the uteruses of premenopausal women who never gave birth are slightly smaller than of those who had children, even after the involution had passed. But this effect won’t stay permanent as your uterus will shrink to an even smaller size after menopause.
9. Abdominal separation
Diastasis recti, or rectus abdominis diastasis, is a surprisingly common, and ultimately permanent change that you should be aware of. It’s when the abdominal muscles separate, creating a gap of around 1 inch or more in between the two Rectus abdominis muscles. This separation is necessary to make room for the growing belly at the late stages of pregnancy. However, according to various studies, about one to two thirds of women will have to live with that separation for up to 1 year postpartum.
10. Weaker orgasm
If you pelvic floor muscles are weakened due to delivery, your orgasm will be less intense than before. However, it would be unfair if a weakened pelvic floor is the only thing that gets blamed. Other changes after childbirth might contribute to the condition such as breastfeeding, sheer fatigue, pain, and insecurities due to body changes. To many of us, the biggest sex organ is the brain, not the vagina.