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13 Postpartum Body Changes No One Tells You About

Today we’re talking about post partum body changes no one tells you about. This post originally appeared on ElisabethMcknight.com in May 2017 when I was 8 months post partum with Adelaide. Westley is now 8 months old so it seemed appropriate this get a little refresh. 

We’ve survived with Westley almost as long on the outside as we have on the inside! He turns nine months old next month and it is hard to remember when our family didn’t include him (although that might just be because memories don’t work very well on such interrupted small amounts of sleep). 

Everyone talks about the changes that happen during pregnancy. And everyone likes to tell their own miraculous and traumatizing birth experience. Friends told me what to expect in the days after delivery. But in the months after giving birth I still felt like I was getting reacquainted with my body… and struggling with a few postpartum changes I was not expecting.

Here are post partum changes you might not be expecting and people will not want to tell you about. Fingers crossed you don’t deal with some of them but if you do, you aren’t alone. 

1. Hair loss:

Everyone mentioned that their hair fell out a few months postpartum, but you can expect it to take up to a year for your hair to return to normal. Some women report their hair being permanently thinner after childbirth. While there isn’t science behind this, your hair does thin as you age and one year postpartum you’re almost two years older than before you got pregnant. 

2. Extra Skin:

You might be mentally prepared to lose the weight you’ve gained with each pregnancy but what I didn’t plan for is the extra skin that didn’t disappear as the pounds came off, especially around my belly. Lotions with vitamin E help tighten the skin but mostly it just takes time. Even as stretch marks fade, the skin is still just there.

3. Belly bulge:

It takes 6-8 weeks for your uterus to shrink back so plan on leaving the hospital still looking like you’re in your second trimester. This is why people recommend bringing maternity clothes to wear home from the hospital. A belly band after delivery can help shrink the bulge (and also help your abdominals).

This is the binder they gave me in the hospital and the post partum girdle below has almost 1000 positive reviews on amazon. 

4. New Shoe Size:

You’ve probably heard that your feet swell during pregnancy but did you realize that after the baby is born you may have a permanently different shoe size? The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommend gaining 25-35 pounds during your pregnancy (I gained 50+ pounds each time) and this results in a lot of pressure on your feet. This added weight can flatten your arch which may leave you finding larger shoes to be more comfortable. The hormone relaxin, which is released to relax muscle ligaments in your body to prepare for childbirth, also effects your feet. 

5. Peeing your pants:

Whether your push a baby our vaginally or have a c-section, you are at risk for incontinence. Pregnancy and delivery weaken the pelvic floor muscles which help with bladder control. Without strengthening those muscles, plan on crossing your legs before you sneeze and avoiding trampolines for a long time. 

6. Back Pain:

You’re probably excited for lower back pain to go away once you’re no longer pregnant but has anyone mentioned it can persist long the newborn months. The hours spent hunched over a newborn trying to nurse and carrying an extra 10-20 pounds in your arms for the first year doesn’t help.

Daily exercise and yoga stretches are a necessity (maybe along with some ibuprofen). Cat and cow (yoga poses) are great for relieving back pain … bonus points for doing it with your newborn lying on the floor making faces up at you while you do it.

portable massager might be your new best friend. This one was recommended by friends pregnant and post partum and is under $50. 

7. Abdominal separation:

All women experience the separation of abdominal muscles toward the end of pregnancy to make room for their growing belly. One year after delivery, though, 1/3-2/3 of women still have some separation. You’ll find a lot of mixed information on how to heal the separation which may ultimately be permanent.

My recovery nurse in the hospital recommended an abdominal binder (I used this one under $20) to help stabilize my core after delivery. 

8. Vaginal farts or queefing:

The vaginal canal is stretched during childbirth and it can take weeks or months for it to return to it’s normal size. You might notice air escaping in vaginal farts when you return to the gym for the first time. Pelvic floor exercises can help (they seem to be the answer for everything) . 

9. Dry Skin:

Did you know was that dry skin can be due to a hormonal imbalance after child birth and can persist for up to a year post partum. If you’re struggling with super dry skin after baby, try a deeply moisturizing lotion (Curel Hydrotherapy worked the best for me) and take hope that hormones balance out eventually. 

10. Sex Drive Drop:

Estrogen levels rise during pregnancy and plummet right after giving birth. Couple these hormone changes with exhaustion and it is very normal for sex drive to drop after baby arrives. 

11. Varicose veins and hemorrhoids: 

It is not uncommon for the added pressure of your baby to reduce blood flow in the lower half of your body resulting in varicose veins and hemorrhoids. If things get really bad you could have thrombosed hemorrhoids while pregnant (google it, I’ll spare you here). Usually these go away after delivery but in 25% of women, hemorrhoids are still hanging out 6 months after their baby is born. 

If you’re looking for relief, sitz baths, ibuprofen, and ice packs can help. Reduce the problem by taking a fiber gummy or stool softener to decrease pressure down there. 

12. Cup Size:

You might be enjoying (or bemoaning) going up a cup size or three during pregnancy. If you plan on breastfeeding, the trend will continue and you can gain another cup size while nursing. Be prepared for once you stop though (or after child birth if you’re not breastfeeding) for things to shrink back down, possibly to a cup size smaller than before you got pregnant. If size doesn’t change, it is likely that post partum everything will sag a bit more than before. 

13. The Sweats

Post partum hormones fluctuate like crazy so gear up for hot flashes and lots of sweating. It is worth upgrading your deodorant to one of these just for the month or two after birth: 

 

Postpartum Changes No One Tells You About by Boston mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight

From vaginal queefing to hormonal skin changes, are you prepared for all of these potential developments? Don't miss this before baby arrives so you can be prepared. #elisabethmcknight Mother holding her newborn in the hospital with the text "Post Partum Body Changes no one tells you about"

Your body changes after having a baby - but did you know about ALL the ways it changes? Make sure to read this before baby arrives! #elisabethmcknight
Your body changes after having a baby - but did you know about ALL the ways it changes? Make sure to read this before baby arrives! #elisabethmcknight

the post partum body changes no one told me about (besides hair loss, I hadn't heard of these) - Postpartum Changes No One Tells You About by Boston mom blogger Elisabeth McKnight

 

92 Comments

  1. My skin in dry especially during the winter, I’ll have to check out their product. I guess I wasn’t prepared to experience the pain of a shallow latch. I took a breastfeeding class but actually doing it was a learning experience, 4 days in and we had to call a lactation consultant to help which was well worth it. Everything is good now though and breastfeeding is easy 🙂 Our daughter will be 8 weeks soon and I have yet to experience the hair loss that everyone talks about.

  2. Yes, I have dry hands and dry elbows.

    I had my 4th baby 17 months ago and I was not prepared for the postpartum hair loss. It still hasn’t stopped.

  3. tweet–https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/838030662762442753

  4. Laura Tingey says:

    My hands get so dry and cracked after I have a baby. It is nice to know that other moms experience dry skin. I’ve always been a Curel fan! I will definitely try Curel Hydra Therapy.

  5. Julie Wood says:

    I have dry skin and my skin was even drier when I was pregnant and after, I also lost a lot of my hair after baby was born. It was terrible.

  6. Julie Wood says:

    tweet-https://twitter.com/JewelWood/status/838044615399747589

  7. I suffer from extremely dry skin on my hands. They get so bad in the winter that they crack and bleed. I cannot use harsh soaps because of it. I have not had a baby yet so I cannot speak to changes with pregnancy or postpartum.

  8. Steve Weber says:

    I only struggle with dry skin in the winter

    groogruxking40 @gmail dot com

  9. I struggle with dry skin in the winter months. No babies but I use a good moisturizer and drink a lot of water to help my dry skin.

  10. In the Winter my elbows and knees are always dry.

  11. Jessica To says:

    I do struggle with dry skin. I wasn’t prepared for how loose the skin on my stomach would be after I had my son.

  12. Margaret S Porter says:

    My hands and feet are so dry. Thanks for sharing this product

  13. Dana Rodriguez says:

    I struggle year round from dry skin. I moisturize twice a day but I need to try this Curel!

  14. Jessie C. says:

    I have dry skin and it got worse after baby. I have to rely on heavy cream and body oil to keep my skin moisturized all the time.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  15. Usually only during winter do I struggle with dry skin but still winter is months long and that’s a long time to have dry skin. 🙁
    I try to keep up with the lotion but you know how that goes, hectic days, hectic schedule, etc.
    What I need is a bed that moisturizes your skin overnight. 🙂
    thanks!

  16. Allison Swain says:

    Usually in the winter time, but I use coconut oil to help my skin,

    Thank you for the chance to win this!

    allisonrsdswain(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  17. I have dry skin. My skin became more dull and dry after pregnancy

  18. My skin is always dry – extremely dry – in the winter. I didn’t notice a big change after having my kids, but I could chalk that up to sleep deprivation 😉

  19. I struggle with dry skin–mainly on my elbows and lower legs. I’ll check out Hydratherapy!

  20. I live in the desert so dry skin is real. I combat with loads of lotion.

  21. I have dry, dull skin, and curel works for me.

  22. Angela Saver says:

    Yes, I do struggle with dry skin. I was unprepared for the dry skin and thinning hair after I had our first baby.

    [email protected]

  23. Barbara Montag says:

    Yes I have dry skin – especially in the winter.
    I was unprepared for the night time feedings.
    thank you

  24. I do struggle with dry skin. I noticed my skin was more drier post partum

  25. Yes, my hands are very dry.

  26. Cynthia C says:

    It’s been so long that I don’t remember what my skin was like postpartum. I have dry skin now and must moisturize daily.

  27. Yes, I get dry hands in the winter. I was unprepared for how much having a baby stretched out my stomach for a while!

  28. Susan Smith says:

    I have dry skin and my skin was even drier when I was pregnant and after.

  29. Sonya Morris says:

    I have very dry skin! My dry skin was worse and extremely sensitive to lotions on my stomach when I was pregnant! I think after my fourth baby, I was unprepared for my hair to thin for a few months after delivery!

  30. I have dry skin. I was prepared for the sleep adjustment. Before I had children I could have slept through an earthquake but afterwards the slightest sound wakes me up.

  31. Stephanie says:

    my hands and arms are so dry

  32. Lisa Brown says:

    I have the driest skin on my legs, hard to keep moisturized

  33. Patricia C says:

    I have dry skin on my feet

  34. amy pugmire says:

    I have horribly dry skin and have my entire life, but I have more dry patches on my body after I had my babies.

  35. Yes. I try to moisturize at night because it often gets washed or worn off during the day.

  36. i have very dry skin especially in the winter. and after 10 year, still battling stretch marks.

  37. I have dry skin on my hands and sometimes elbows. My wife did develop some eczema after the birth of our first son and it subsided not to long after.

  38. Francine Anchondo says:

    Yes I struggle with it.

  39. CR Williams says:

    I would have to say my breasts sagging and stretch marks!

  40. Not a fan of hearing that hair could become thinner! My hair has always been thin and I was hoping it wouldn’t get thicker with pregnancy, but it did, and while I admit I loved it, 2 months postpartum, I’m terrified of when it’ll fall out! ?

  41. Nicole Martin says:

    My skin is very dry, and I remember it being really, really dry after I had my son.

  42. Estefania says:

    I started crying after getting back home from the hospital after a c section and looking at myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognized my body and was very swollen. You often see procedures and what to do but I don’t think you are mentally prepared about the hormone changes and new lifestyle. And dry skin apparently is a trend because my hands till today I suffer from dry and cracking plus bleeding, which btw went to a dermatologist and she said it was eczema and prescribed me an ointment that calms it down but doesn’t heal it.

  43. Every mentioned postpartum hair loss but I was not prepared for the volume nor was I prepared for the fact that my hairline would almost disappear and at 11 Months postpartum I would be dealing with unruly baby hairs that stick out no matter what.
    Not even going to talk about the dry skin. It’s ridiculous. I may just try the curel lotion. It’s some serious level of dryness. Never goes away either. I wonder if breastfeeding makes it worse? I also have developed dry eyes.

  44. katherine says:

    My heels are very dry and cracked

  45. I don’t have kids, but I do have dry skin! My legs are dry and flaky.

  46. Ellie Wright says:

    I do struggle with dry skin. After pregnancy I wasn’t prepared for the changes in my skin or my teeth.

  47. Having babies didn’t have a huge effect on my hair and skin but I think a lot of that was due to the humid climate where we lived. Now I’m much older and in a different climate and between age and harsh winter weather my skin has gotten very dry. I plan on trying this Curel product soon.

  48. Tweeted-https://twitter.com/birdiebee52/status/847881471956332545

  49. I suffer from from dry skin due to the dry air and harsh water. During my pregnancies, I had a lot of pigmentation changes in my facial skin.

  50. No kids. I currently moisturize at night. My shins and feet have the driest skin.
    Thanks for the contest.

  51. Thomas Murphy says:

    I don’t have dry skin.

  52. I do have dry skin that I moisturize everyday — I even use a little argan oil sometimes

  53. I do struggle with dry skin especially on my elbows, knees, and feet.

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