Pregnancy changes the body in various ways, ranging from common changes like fluid retention, weight gain, and swelling, to less expected changes like blurred vision. Also, new mothers may have sagging breasts due to lactation and breastfeeding. However, these changes are normal, so you don’t need to worry about getting your original body shape back. Read on for more information.
How Your Body Changes During Pregnancy
The physiological and hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy are due to a dramatic increase in progesterone and estrogen. These hormones are typically responsible for mood swings, but they also cause the following:
· Give you the ‘glow’ of pregnancy
· Alter the impact of physical activities and exercise on your body
· Significantly help the fetus to develop by transferring nutrients that enhance the formation of blood vessels
While these hormones are vital for a fetus to develop normally, they often cause your entire posture to change. Your breasts will enlarge and your tummy will transform from flat to convex, increasing your back’s curvature. These effects when combined may lead to loss of balance as they shift the center of gravity.
Weight gain during pregnancy often takes a toll on the body when you engage in any physical activity. The extra weight and shifted gravity slow down blood circulation and bodily fluid retention. The retained fluids, particularly in the lower limbs, cause the swelling of the limbs and face.
Swelling is experienced during the second and third trimesters, but here are tips for easing the problem:
- Avoid standing for long periods
- Take more potassium
- Avoid sodium and caffeine
Taste and smell changes also occur in most women, making them prefer sweeter and saltier foods. Also, you may have a higher threshold for sweet, salty and sour tastes. Many women also experience a dulled sense of taste, but it’s typically regained after pregnancy. Research also reveals that you’ll be able to identify the intensity of certain odors. More taste preferences are unique to each pregnant woman.
There are several other changes to expect including:
- Changes in the cervix
- Changes in the skin, nails, and hair
- Hyperpigmentation such as a dark line down the middle of your tummy
- Stretch marks
- Dizziness and fainting
Are These Changes Permanent?
Pregnancy is more than beautiful maternity clothes and glowing skin; it can get uncomfortable and tiring at times because of all these changes. Although some changes are permanent, the great news is that most are temporary, so your body will naturally go back to the way it was before pregnancy.
Here are some common permanent changes after pregnancy:
1. Wider hips
During pregnancy, your pelvic bone widens, which as a result gives you wider hips. The bone structure changes during childbirth as the baby exits the womb. Not all women experience a significant change because the degree depends on other factors like the size of the baby.
2. Brain changes
Ever heard of the phrase ‘mama bear comes out after pregnancy’? Well, the protective mother mode you’ll naturally adapt is caused by permanent changes in the brain. A subconscious ‘switch’ is flipped on so that you can focus on nurturing, protecting and parenting.
3. Stretch marks
There is no sure way to prevent stretch marks from forming when pregnant because the skin stretches excessively as the baby develops. Stretch marks usually appear on the tummy, but they may also appear on breasts, buttocks, and legs. The marks may fade over time, but they won’t disappear completely.
If you fancy getting a tan, then you’ll enjoy a darker skin tone, which is similar to what you normally get when out on holiday in a tropical beach. This may happen to the whole body or just certain spots. However, this change does not occur in all women.
But numerous other changes are temporary, and women do report that their bodies often go back to normal after a while. Examples of temporary changes include baby weight, nesting urge, hormonal mood swings, and constipation.
How to Lose the Baby Weight
After giving birth, many women think about losing the extra weight, and it normally takes a few months up to a year to get rid of all the pregnancy weight. But if you were already overweight before pregnancy, it may take a bit longer.
That being said, here are some tips for losing baby weight:
- Improve your diet – Eat more vegetables, fruits, fish and organic foods. Don’t fast as it will cause frustration by making you feel deprived of your favorite foods. This stress can cause weight gain.
- Breastfeed – Some studies reveal that exclusively breastfeeding your baby will make you lose weight faster. Furthermore, it’s good for the baby as it provides numerous health benefits like enhanced immunity.
- Drink plenty of water – Drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water daily will keep you hydrated and flush out all toxins in the body. Besides, the water will fill you up and you won’t eat as much.
- Exercise – It’s vital to incorporate strength training and aerobic exercise to burn the extra calories and strengthen your bones and muscles. Apart from helping you to lose weight, exercise will also ease depression and improve sleep.
- Get enough sleep – When tired, the human body releases hormones that promote weight gain. With newborn babies, it will be impossible to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep at night. Take a nap as many times as you can during the day and always retire to bed early until your baby starts to sleep through the night.
Health Issues to Worry About When Pregnant
When pregnant, take care not to dismiss all health issues as pregnancy-related. Health experts warn that some symptoms are associated with diseases or conditions that require immediate treatment.
Some conditions to watch out for include the following:
- Preeclampsia – This entails a high-blood pressure complication that damages certain organs like the kidney. Symptoms include swelling of limbs, peeing less frequently, headaches and shortness of breath.
- Fifth disease – This disease is caused by a parvovirus B19 infection leading to serious pregnancy consequences such as the baby developing severe anemia.
- Diabetes – Women are susceptible to developing gestational diabetes (a type of high blood sugar) during pregnancy. This will not affect the pregnancy when treated early and the pregnancy is monitored regularly.
- Appendicitis – Constipation, bloating and gastrointestinal distress are normal during pregnancy, but they could also signal appendicitis. Consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
- Breast cancer – Studies reveal that pregnancy and breast cancer are linked, and it often depends on age. If you conceive your first child in your 30s, the odds of suffering from genetic damages that cause breast cancer increase.
How to Get Your Old Body Back
Getting your old body back is possible with a body makeover, which is a combination of procedures specifically designed for women who have given birth. The cosmetic surgery rejuvenates and restores all the body areas affected by pregnancy and childbirth.
The makeover comprises of the following:
- Breast lift with or without implants
- Tummy tuck
- Labiaplasty or vaginal tightening
If you’ve been thinking about cosmetic surgery to restore your original body after childbirth, contact a registered cosmetic surgeon and book a consultation.