9 Changes a Female Body Endures After Childbirth
American writer J.D. Salinger once wrote that, “All mothers are slightly insane.” Considering all the changes a woman experiences after childbirth based on her hormones alone, can you blame her for seeming just a little off-kilter?
In all seriousness, childbirth is a beautiful, chaotic, blessed time that, if all goes well, brings a tiny, squirming, squalling bundle of new life into this world. New moms should spend the time afterward cuddling their little bundle of joy, not stressed out over medical problems.
Physical Changes are Common Postpartum
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control cesarean delivery rates, preterm birth rates, and twin birth rates were all on the decline in 2010, but there were still a total of nearly 4 million births. Do you know what that means?
That means nearly 4 million females still experienced the changes that a body typically endures after childbirth. Some of those changes include:
Uterus Shrinkage – By the time a woman’s contractions start, her uterus is about 15 times heavier than when she is not pregnant – and that does not even include the little bundle of joy swaddled within it. After childbirth, the uterus shrinking can cause abdominal pains.
Weight Loss – Do not be alarmed if you do not lose all your baby weight within a few weeks after delivering a child. After all, it took you nine months to gain it all and unless you are a celebrity with a personal trainer, it could take you nine months or more to lose it.
Urinary Incontinence – Prolonged labor, stretched muscles from pushing during delivery, and the doctor using forceps or vacuum to assist during delivery can all contribute to incontinence problems like needing to urinate more frequently or urgently.
Vaginal Stretching – Regardless of how pristine your female parts were before childbirth, you just pushed out a child. Some bruising, swelling, and stretching is to be expected, as well as stitches in the case of a tear in your perineum.
Vaginal Discharge – After giving birth, discharge could happen for the next eight weeks or longer. This discharge is sloughed tissue from the inside of the uterus as well as a mixture of blood and bacteria. More importantly, it is perfectly natural.
Breast Milk – Even if you are not breast feeding, the hormonal changes after giving birth will cause your breasts to start producing fluid. During the first few days it is a thick yellowish substance called colostrum, but then it is pure, natural breast milk.
Mood Swings – It is perfectly natural to experience mood swings brought on by all the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy and childbirth as well as during the postpartum time afterwards. If your mood grows darker though, it is time to tell your OBGYN.
Hair Loss – High estrogen levels during pregnancy promote thick, luxurious hair not unlike what you see on women in shampoo commercials. But after pregnancy, your hair goes right back to normal which means the extra will at some point fall out.
Skin Changes – Pregnancy hormones, stress, and the fatigue you experience after childbirth could also affect your skin. Some new moms experience acne while others experience patchy, rash-like areas, complexion changes, or pigment changes.
The Best Way to Deal with Post-Pregnancy Changes
Now that pregnancy is over, your body will not bounce back to normal overnight. Some people refer to the three months after you deliver a child as the “fourth trimester” as that is when most of the postpartum changes tend to take place.
Because you are bound to feel more fatigued after giving birth to a baby, it can be difficult to remember all your concerns by the time you get to the doctor’s office. Keep a notepad and write down your symptoms as well as the date and time when they occur.
Your OBGYN may be able to treat these symptoms, or he may refer you to a specialist. For example women experiencing incontinence when they cough or laugh may be referred to a stress urinary incontinence doctor for further examination.
Some women find that joining a support group for new moms is a great way to help deal with the emotional side of post-pregnancy changes. If this sounds like the solution for you, then it is something that your doctor or your child’s pediatrician can recommend.
About the Author
Canadian freelancer Mark Harris has found success as both a writer and an internet marketer. He only uses reputable sites like www.bapelvicsurgery.com when writing new articles. Freelancing sometimes causes this outdoor enthusiast to sit a little too long, which is why during his free time he spends as much time as possible getting back to nature through activities like kayaking and hiking.