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8 things you didn't know happen to your body after giving birth

Posted May 2

What to expect when you're not expecting anymore. (Deseret Photo)

It's amazing that women's bodies know how to care for a small human. Naturally, this feat causes changes to a woman's body. Here are some post-pregnancy and delivery symptoms that mothers can expect after their little one has been born.

1. You might go up a shoe size

During pregnancy, your body has high levels of progesterone, a hormone that manages fluid retention. Due to the other changes in your body during pregnancy, fluid may start to accumulate in your lower body. This fluid build-up is increased during birth, causing your legs and feet to swell. The swelling should go down eventually; but it is still possible that your post-pregnancy feet will remain a little larger than your pre-pregnancy feet.

2. You're probably going to sweat (a lot)

Not only does fluid retention cause swelling, but it also causes sweating. After birth, your body doesn't need to retain quite so much fluid, so it starts releasing it. This means that you are probably sweating more than normal, even when you're not being active (like when you're sleeping). As your fluid levels normalize, the excessive sweating should normalize as well.

3. You might lose your hair

Although pregnancy hormones cause you to retain more hair than normal, after you're no longer pregnant, your hair may seem to feel the need to make up for lost time. But within a year, your locks should be back to normal.

4. You might wet your pants

After giving birth, your muscles are weaker. This means you may have challenges controlling your bladder. Also, your uterus shrinks and sits directly on your bladder in the weeks following birth. That added weight can have you running to the ladies' room more often than usual. But don't worry, this shouldn't be a permanent problem.

5. You'll probably get hemorrhoids

Your bowel movements are probably going to hurt after you have a baby. Because you just gave birth, your veins are irritated and you probably have anal fissures, which cause both pain during bowel movements and hemorrhoids.

6. You might have dark spots on your skin

It's common for women to develop dark spots on their skin during pregnancy. These dark spots, called melasma, are the result of pregnancy hormones. In general, melasma clears up after pregnancy as hormones normalize. However, it's not uncommon for melasma to remain after you've given birth.

7. You might not have a period for a while

At first, your vagina will be excreting blood, mucus and your uterine lining leftover from delivery. This discharge, known as lochia, can be heavy at first and lasts about four to six weeks. However, it may be a while before your actual period starts again. Typically, menstrual cycles return to normal about 10 weeks after birth, if not breastfeeding, and 20, if breastfeeding.

8. Your vagina won't be the same

After birthing a child, your vagina at first will probably look and feel swollen and bruised. It may even have torn or been cut during birth, causing pain down there. This will heal; though it may never completely return to "normal," it won't always be so stretched out.

Melinda Fox has a Bachelor's in English and is a member of the FamilyShare content team.

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