Body Changes After Childbirth

Every pregnant woman knows that her body is going to change in more ways than one, after delivering. For some women, these changes are drastic while for other you can never say these ladies were ever pregnant. This all has to do with genetics and the lifestyle led before, during and after giving birth.

Body changes after childbirthApart from the physical appearance, there are some other changes happening to your body and we’re not answering some of the most commonly asked questions.

How much weight will I lose right after giving birth?
Immediately after delivery, expect to lose a significant amount of weight. And while you won’t return to your pre-pregnancy weight for some time, most new moms should be about 12 pounds lighter after the baby is born.

Further, most of this weight gain was water so after you’ve given birth, you’ll produce more urine than usual – the shocking 3 quarts a day. Expect to lose about 4 to 6 pounds of water weight by the end of the first week.

How long will it take for my uterus to shrink?
Your uterus is about 15 times heavier at the moment you go into labor. And – wait for it – not including its contents!

“Within minutes after your baby is born, contractions cause your uterus to shrink, clenching itself like a fist, its crisscrossed fibers tightening just like they did during labor”, explain OBGYNs.
With the uterus contracting, you may feel cramps known as afterpains, but that’s normal and is nothing to be worried about. For several weeks or even a bit longer after you’ve given birth, you may continue to look somewhat pregnant – this is due your abdominal muscles trying to get back in shape given they got stretched out during pregnancy.

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Will my vagina and perineum ever get back to normal?
In women who have given birth vaginally, it is expected for the vagina to remain a bit larger than it was before. It is common for the vagina to be swollen and bruised after the delivery. The swelling will go down over the next few days and your vagina begins to regain muscle tone. It will gradually get smaller in the next few weeks but getting to its pre-birth size is highly unlikely. What helps restore muscle tone at large is doing Kegel exercises regularly.

Why can’t I tell when I need to pee?
Loss of sensitivity and temporary swelling of your bladder are normal after delivery. In the first days after you give birth, you may not feel the usual urge to pee especially if you had an epidural, a forceps or vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery.

However, all the extra fluid in your kidneys will fill up your bladder pretty fast, so it’s important to try urinating even when you don’t feel the urge to.

Don’t let too much urine accumulate in your bladder as you might experience problems making it to the bathroom without leaking.

Why am I losing my hair?
And while most new moms get panic attacks when they start losing hair after giving birth, this is nothing to be worried about. You won’t get bald.

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In case your hair got thicker during your pregnancy, it will probably start shedding in handfuls after the delivery, returning to its normal state.

Due to high estrogen levels during pregnancy, your hair’s growing phase may be prolonged, causing less to fall out than usual. In a year or so, the rate of shedding and new growth will return to what it once was.

What’s happening to my sex drive?
While most pregnant women feel a crazy sex drive, once they give birth they experience a sex drive dive. For some women it is not uncommon for a year to pass before they feel like they are in the mood for sex again.

This happens not only because your focus shifts from everything else to your newborn, but because your body is slowly going back to normal, gaining back its strength and vitality. Plus, for a few months after giving birth, your vagina is still more sensitive than it was pre-birth which may make sex feel uncomfortable and even painful.

If you feel like you would want to give your sex life a slight nudge, make sure you both are careful and gentle. Plus, getting pregnant again soon after you’ve given birth to your baby is pretty common. If you don’t want another pregnancy, gynecologists recommend using non latex condoms for contraception instead of the pills, especially if you are breastfeeding.

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All the changes happening to your body and psyche are normal. If you feel worried or notice some unusual changes, speak to your doctor. In the mean time, enjoy your newborn bundle of joy!

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