Your body is constantly changing the entire nine months you are pregnant. Once you deliver your bundle of joy, you may believe all these changes will come to an end. This is not the case. Several other changes may occur in your body postpartum. Keep reading to learn what some of the most common changes are.
Your body must work overtime when you go into labor. You are pushing, contorting, and straining almost every muscle you have. It is completely natural to feel achy, tired, and out of it. As your uterus begins to contract back to its normal size, you may also feel flutters and aches in your abdomen. Some women even compare this to menstrual cramps.
Have you heard of lochia? It is a type of vaginal discharge that occurs after giving birth. While it is not pretty, it is all the leftover tissue, mucus, and blood from the uterus. It does not matter if you deliver your baby naturally or have a C-section; the flow you experience can be as heavy as your period. Do not use a tampon, though, as this can cause irritation, pain, and even an infection. A better option is to use a heavy-duty pad.
Swollen Extremities and Feet
When you are pregnant, your body will produce about 50% more fluids and blood to help meet the needs of your growing baby. Fluctuations in your hormones, which are also common, can cause edema, which means swelling of your neck, hands, ankles, feet, and other extremities. Your food may even increase in size. It may take a few weeks for all these extra fluids to leave your system. You can speed up this process by eating foods that are rich in potassium, such as vegetables and fruits.
Your breasts are probably going to become sore, swollen, flushed, and even engorged with milk a few days after you give birth. Once the swelling dissipates after three or four days, your breasts may begin to sag because of stretched skin. You could also experience milk leakage for a few weeks, even if you are not breastfeeding. You may even notice that your nipples appear displaced.
A Stomach Pooch
Your belly is going to go through many changes while you are pregnant. Depending on a person’s age, their genetics, and how much weight a person gains, it may mean excess flab or stretch marks. It may take as much as six weeks for your uterus to fully shrink to its old size, which will help to reduce the size of your belly.
Having a baby puts a lot of stress and strain on your body. You cannot expect everything to fall back into place once you deliver magically. It takes time and effort to get your pre-baby body. Being informed and knowing what to expect will help ensure you do not have unrealistic expectations for the process and that you are patient as your body heals and recovers.