A pregnant woman goes through a lot of troubles and discomforts before she can hold her bundle of joy in her arms. Pregnancy is ridden with problems like swelling, bloating and morning sickness. The body also goes through some pretty dramatic changes too.
Most pregnant women use two thoughts to survive through the 9 months of ups and downs. One is the thought of the baby that is growing within them and how they would hold and cuddle him/her at the end of the pregnancy.
The other thought is probably that they can be free of all the pesky side effects of pregnancy once they bear their baby. But, little do they know that after pregnancy, they will have to deal with the postpartum side effects too!
Truth be told, the changes that happen during the pregnancy phase is only one half of the story. A postpartum body undergoes changes that are almost as dramatic as the ones during the pregnancy. The hormones that surged through the body during the pregnancy have to slowly return to the normal levels.
The organs and bones that had to shift and move around to accommodate the constantly expanding womb and the growing fetus need to come back to their original positions. All these, when coupled with the stress and pressures of taking care of newborn, wreak havoc on the body of the new mother.
While the changes that happen during the pregnancy are often talked about and the woman prepares herself for it, the changes after birth are not discussed and come as a surprise to her. Today, we shall talk about the strange and weird changes that happen postpartum. This will help you to prepare for any eventuality postpartum too.
• Changes In Your Taste
Have you always loved spicy foods more than sweets? Do not be surprised if you crave for a plateful of sweet meats and dislike the chaats you once loved. Many women report that their taste buds have somehow changed and the once loved food items no longer entice them anymore.
• Changes In Appetite
You might have been a picky eater or the one who always watches what you eat. But once you give birth, all the caution is thrown out of the window. You are more likely to be ravenous and if you are breastfeeding, you will feel the hungriest you have ever been in your whole life. This sudden change in appetite can astonish you; but do not worry, it is just your body telling you that it needs more nutrition. Make sure that you eat healthy and only give in to your cravings once in a while.
• You Can Be Covered In Bruises
They say that giving birth is the most horrible pain that a human being can endure. Unsurprisingly, you won't come out of it unscathed. But what might surprise you is the fact that you have bruises too. Most women have bruising in and around their private parts. Some women bruise more intensely. Women can develop bruises on their body and even on the face. These will fade away in a couple of weeks but can be scary when you first see them on your body.
• Hair Loss
Most women experience a lush growth of hair during pregnancy. This is due to the fact that the body is pumped with hormones during this time and the great hair loss is one of the side effects of these hormones. They make your hair look full, shiny and healthy. But when you are done with the pregnancy, the hormones return to their formal levels. This leads to a bulk shedding of the hair. You can expect hair all over the place - your pillow, the bathroom, the floor and, of course, the comb. This hair loss can last for six months to a year, postpartum. Things go back to normal once the levels of oestrogen go back to what they were before pregnancy.
• Hair Changes Colour
This is one of the strangest things that can happen postpartum. Hair loss can be expected but the change of colour can be appalling; more so if you have never coloured your hair before. Normally, the hair can turn a shade darker. Some women have their hair become grey and stay that way for the rest of their lives and may have to use dyes and other hair products to get the hair back to the way they were before.
• Your Bladder Control Won't Go Back To The Way It Was
The third trimester is when you first lose control over your bladder. The uterus pushes on to the bladder and makes you pee more often. But god forbid if you cough on a full bladder! You might think that you will have the control of your bladder back once you are done being pregnant, but it is not so. Things do get better but running or bouncing on a full bladder will never end well, if you know what I mean.
• The Mom Smell
Once you are a mother, you will start to realize that you kind of stink - literally. Body odour is one of the most unpleasant side effects of pregnancy. The changes in hormones will bring about this new 'motherly' smell. You will also be working hard caring for your baby and dealing with the things that need to be done at work and home. All this will leave you a sweaty and smelly mess.
• New Allergies
You may have been allergy free all your life but postpartum, you will realize that you have developed new 'fun' allergies. There are new mothers who say that they have developed intolerance to lactose or gluten. Some develop allergies, rashes, fever and headache when they come in contact with things that never affected them before.
• Your Nipples Change
You might be expecting your breasts to become tender, larger and saggier with the new motherhood. But did you know that the nipples would change too? The lactation and the baby constantly suckling on it makes the nipples change its shape, become larger, get darker and rounder.
• Phantom Kicks
Most women start feeling their baby kick at 12 weeks. They go on to cherish and detest these kicks at the same time for the rest of the pregnancy. Once the baby has vacated the uterus, you would think that these kicks would stop; but no. Many postpartum women experience what is known as phantom kicks. This means that they feel kicks when there is no baby in the womb. It can be very eerie. Some women may even think that they have somehow become pregnant again.
• Your Feet Grow During The Pregnancy And They Stay That Way
It is common knowledge that feet grow and can even change their shape during the pregnancy. It is a way for the body to cope with the increasing weight burden when you are pregnant. But usually, the feet do not go back to their old former self after the child birth. This means that the pretty shoes that you owned before you were pregnant are pretty much useless to you now.
• Deepening Of The Voice
Some women are surprised to hear people tell them that they do not sound the same. The oestrogen levels are to be blamed for the change in the voice. The voice of most postpartum women deepens slightly. Many a times, it may not even be discernable. But if you are really unlucky, you will have a whole new voice to call your own.
• Change Of Skin Colour
This is another postpartum change that is unexpected. Again, the change in the levels of oestrogen is to be blamed for this. Postpartum women will experience a change in their skin colour. Most women will go a shade darker rather than lighter.
• Bad Teeth And Gums
You might find that your teeth are wobbly and your gums bleed after you gave birth. This is seen more if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding makes you lose a lot of calcium. This contributes to weak teeth and bones. Many women who never have had cavities in the tooth begin to have cavities after pregnancy. You can remedy this by eating foods rich in calcium, taking care of your oral hygiene and by visiting your dentist if any problem arises.
• Leaking Breasts
To a person who has never had babies, lactation seems to be a simple process - breasts make milk and the baby feeds on it. But breastfeeding is the most common challenge that a woman faces postpartum. While the most common problem that arises is the lack of milk, there are a lot of women who complain of a large let down of milk.
The breasts can leak or squirt milk when it is full, even if a baby is not latched on to it. In such cases, the baby will find it difficult to swallow the huge amount of milk that is produced. The mother will need to use her fingers to pinch and control the milk flow for the baby to be able to consume it without gagging or coughing. The extra milk can collect in the breasts and cause the mother to develop mastitis too. The milk will need to be manually pumped and discarded at times.