There’s probably nothing as beautiful and rewarding as giving birth and holding your newborn in your arms. However, pregnancy changes a woman’s body, and usually not in a good way. Some of these changes disappear once the pregnancy is over, but others stick with you long afterwards, and some even for good. These post-pregnancy changes are something quite common and can cause various problems which can affect not only your body and mind, but your life as well. Here are some of these changes and struggles and ways to deal with them.
Many women face continuous and sometimes severe back pain after giving birth. One reason for that is the hormone called relaxin, which your body releases while you’re pregnant. Its role is to relax your pelvis ligaments and your joints, making your body more flexible. This allows your baby to pass through your birth canal more easily. The problem occurs when this process leads to inflammation and back pain. Luckily, the relaxin-caused issues should subside during the first couple of months after your pregnancy, since that’s when the hormone levels normalize. Some other causes of back pain include lifting your baby often while taking care of them, or even bad posture throughout your pregnancy. To stay on the safe side, visit your doctor, but also try some moderate exercises to stretch and lose any extra weight.
This is also a frequent issue with new mothers. It tends to happen for two reasons. One of them is weight gain which can flatten the arch of your foot, making it about half a shoe size bigger. The other reason is the above-mentioned hormone, relaxin. Namely, as it relaxes the ligaments and joints in the rest of your body, it doesn’t skip your feet either. It can make them looser and spread them a bit wider. The downside to this is that this is almost exclusively a permanent change and something you should get used to. Having to buy shoes in a larger size is something you should accept, since not even losing your weight can shrink your feet back to what they were before you got pregnant.
Your breasts go through a whole range of changes during and after your pregnancy. As they fill with milk, they become bigger, harder and sometimes very painful. Warm towels or cooling packs may provide some relief, but also feeding your baby more frequently or pumping out your milk, so that your breasts don’t fill with too much milk. You may also experience sore nipples and pain while breastfeeding, as well as leaking breasts, which happens when they overfill with milk. Again, feeding your baby more often might help, since they won’t suck as greedily if they aren’t too hungry. Also, choosing quality maternity bras which aren’t too tight can ease the pain. And since feeling pain while feeding your newborn can mean you’ve developed an infection, you should see your doctor, so that they can give you medicines and creams to help you.
While you’re pregnant, your baby usually presses hard on your bladder, which forces you to go to the bathroom more often. Even though this problem should vanish after you’ve given birth, another similar issue can arise. Namely, during your delivery you could experience some extreme pressure on your urethra, and this can make urinating after birth very unpleasant and hard. Also, you could get a urinary infection, or lose some of the control over your bladder due to the stretching and weakening of your muscles while giving birth, which could lead to urinal leaks. In some cases, there’s even damage to the bladder nerves and its supporting tissue, causing a prolapse of the pelvic floor. If this happens, try doing some kegel exercises for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, or see your doctor for advice and treatment.
After the changes your body goes through during your pregnancy, it would be unreasonable to expect it to return to normal as soon as the baby’s born. And while sometimes time does all the work, you might have to invest some effort into getting your body back in shape, with some diet and exercises and your doctor’s valuable advice.