During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes, and it’s not just your belly that got rounder and bigger. Your body stretched, expanded, and grew a human baby, and that may cause lasting body changes after pregnancy.
Scary? It may be.
However, see these changes as your body has gotten ready to give birth to a beautiful baby, changes which are totally worth it.
Or am I wrong?
Nah. I’m pretty sure almost every mom will agree that the changes they went through physically and mentally were totally worth it!
While some symptoms may fade or disappear completely, others will remain as a memory of the past. A beautiful memory, of all your body, has already accomplished.
9 Ways Your Body Changes After Pregnancy
- baby belly
- saggy, loose skin
- sex drive lowers
- shoe size
- wider hips
- stretch marks
- urinary incontinence
Okay, all done with the introduction. So let’s dive right in!
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
During pregnancy, your belly inflates like a balloon to make room for your growing baby.
While some women seem to bounce right back and have their flat stomach only a few weeks after delivery, most women carry their baby belly with them.
The baby belly is symbolically also called the baby pooch, as the top of your belly may be flat, with the bottom resembling something like a kangaroo pouch.
If not treated, this baby belly would most likely stay. However, with the right nutrition and exercise, you can train your muscles on your stomach and burn those last few baby pounds to get rid of that baby belly.
So good news, it can be reversed!
Saggy, Loose Skin
Almost all former pregnant women carry saggy and loose skin on their stomachs. Whether you have a toned stomach or a baby belly, the fact is your skin stretched so much, it most likely will never be as tight as before.
Think of your skin as a balloon. Hard to blow up and resistant the first time. Once you blew it up and held it there for a while, you let the air out it will be stretchier and looser than before. Same concept with your skin.
So, if you find your skin looser than before, it’s just a reminder that you have done miraculous things!
Also known as “mommy breasts” or “breastfeeding breasts”, your ladies go through a lot of changes during your pregnancy and postpartum.
Before pregnancy, your breasts were mainly fat cells. Due to the rise in hormones and the possibility to breastfeed, your breast tissue replaced itself with functional tissue. Thus, you probably encountered large breasts.
When breastfeeding, this functional tissue remains, and your added milk supply keeps your ladies nice and plump.
However, when a woman stops breastfeeding, her functional tissue disappears as it’s not being used anymore. The former fat cells in her breasts are also not replaced, thus making the breasts appear droopy and saggy.
A common misconception is that if you breastfeed, your breasts will become droopier and saggier than before. Studies have proved this wrong.
It is a pregnancy that changes your breasts, not breastfeeding. So, if you are pregnant and you don’t breastfeed after giving birth, your breasts may sag sooner due to the tissue changing sooner, but you won’t experience any less sagging than those moms who breastfed their babies.
Having doubts about breastfeeding? Why not give it a try? You’ve got nothing to lose right?
Sex Drive Lowers
While you may have experienced a higher or lower libido during pregnancy, this can change after pregnancy.
Most common is that a postpartum’s women’s sex drive is lowered. This is mainly because of the sheer exhaustion of caring for a newborn and different hormones. Breastfeeding can also increase these hormones and cause your sex drive to plummet.
But don’t worry, hormones are constantly changing, so things may be looking up for you in the future!
Shoe Size Changes
Many women experience swelling and weight gain during pregnancy and this is completely normal! Due to that weight gain and all those crazy hormones, you may find your pre-pregnancy shoes a bit tight fitting.
After pregnancy, carrying around all that weight puts pressure on your foot arch, thus flattening it out.
Most women can expect to increase in half a shoe size during pregnancy, but even a few sizes aren’t that uncommon.
You may have noticed your pre-pregnancy jeans are still not fitting like they used to. This could be because most women have wider hips after pregnancy and giving birth.
While some might think it’s because of your hips stretching, loosening, and widening to give birth, this is not exactly true.
The main cause is fat cell distribution. During pregnancy, your body accumulates fat cells, often around your hip area.
Even after losing your baby weight, your fat cells are distributed differently, causing the change of wider hips. But hey, look at it this way. The curvier the better is the new slogan nowadays!
Ah, the daily reminder of your biggest achievement in life. While stretch marks can come at any point in life where weight gain or weight loss is present, they are more common in pregnancy.
The good news? Stretch marks fade with time. They take a year or two to become less noticeable. The bad news? They most likely will never go away.
Once the skin has stretched to the point of stretch marks, while they will fade with time, they will never go away completely.
Have more questions on stretch marks? Find all of the most commonly asked questions (and answers) on this blog post.
Think about this.
You have just pushed out a human being, this is going to change things down there. Women who give birth vaginally are more likely to develop urinary incontinence as their muscles are weakened.
Weakened pelvic floor muscles and damaged nerve tissue may lead to you finding yourself leaking at times.
However, with proper Kegel exercises, most women can gain full control of their bladder and not be worried about being their pants every time they sneeze.
Stressed Out More?
We have all heard of “mommy brain”, the fact that during pregnancy and after giving birth, a women’s brain is completely mush and she can’t remember a thing.
But science has proven the exact opposite.
Parts of a mother’s brain actually grow (especially after giving birth). The midbrain region and the prefrontal cortex grow to support their role as a “maternal instinct”.
So, while these areas grow, other areas may have to shrink a bit. This re-prioritizing of the brain along with exhaustion from sleepless nights causes the common misconception of “mommy brain”.
Fun fact: Ever wonder why fathers seem to be able to ignore a baby’s cries more than the mother? This is because a father’s brain does not change as much as the mother’s brain. This enlarged area for “maternal instinct” is highly activated when a mother hears her baby’s cries. This makes it hard for her to “ignore” the crying and do something else meanwhile.
How Do I Deal With These Changes?
All of these changes occurring may seem daunting and scary. And yes it is, everything is changing all at once, and you may find yourself needing to donate a lot of your pre-pregnancy clothes.
For most first-time moms, this can be a soul-crushing and a negative impact on their self confidence.
However, remembering these few things will help you accept these changes and look at them in a new light…
See the Positives
Your body did so much, it took 2 tiny cells, and formed an adorable precious baby. What a miracle! Something that nobody can ever take away from you!
Looking at your body with thankful eyes instead of judging eyes can make all the difference. Doing positive affirmations, saying mantras, or even praying about being thankful for your body can take you feeling depressed to uplifted.
Things Can Change
Instead of focusing on all the things that did change, and how bad they are. Try focusing on how you can use these things for the better, or even how you can implement changes to embrace or change them.
Have a baby pooch? Find and stick with a belly tightening workout program. Have stretch marks? Use a stretch mark cream like this one to minimize scarring and reduce your stretch marks.
Focusing on how to change things and implementing these changes instead of focusing on the negatives, can make all the difference.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Surrounding yourself with people who are optimistic and see the positives in your postpartum journey, can really make a huge difference on your mental well-being.
If you don’t have family or friends who are the best support in this situation, look elsewhere.
I found huge inspiration in @sarahtherese and @delilahloeppky on YouTube, on embracing your body changes after pregnancy.
While every body is different and reacts differently to the strains of pregnancy, these are the most common body changes after pregnancy.
For all those postpartum moms out there, how has your body changed after pregnancy? Have you experienced any of these things above or different symptoms? Let us know in the comments below!
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