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Body after birth:
8 Ways your Body Changes after Pregnancy

Going through a pregnancy and childbirth will change your body in more ways than you think – it is all a normal part of the process of creating a human life after all! Your body changes not only during the course of your pregnancy, but after labour as well. The good news is that you can prepare for these changes before they happen so that you can welcome your newborn with as little worry as possible!

The beginning of motherhood may feel daunting when you are unprepared but it is also deeply wonderful – here are some of the things that you may notice from your postpartum body and how you can better prepare for some of it.

1. Brain & Hormones

If you haven’t been feeling like yourself after going through childbirth, there is a reason why. Did you know that ‘baby blues’ is caused by the drastic drop in hormonal levels after birth delivery? Feelings such as anxiety, stress, sadness and irritability could arise right after you give birth as your oestrogen & progesterone levels drop significantly.

On the other hand, oxytocin (also known as the ‘love hormone’) levels increase after childbirth and creates that instant bond you feel with your little one.

Research has also shown that there is an increase in grey matter in the brain – which is responsible for activating your protective mommy mode and to better adjust responses to your baby’s behaviour and actions. How cool is that?

2. Swollen Feet

During pregnancy, you may notice that your feet, hands, neck and face may appear to be swollen. This occurs as your body naturally produces more blood and other bodily fluids that are needed for your growing child – which can increase by around 50% from your pre-pregnancy blood levels. Hence, if you notice that your shoe size increased after your pregnancy, it is 100% normal!

It will also take some time (say, weeks) for all these extra fluids to leave your body, but here are a few ways you can help to speed it up:

  • Eat potassium-rich foods such as fruits & veggies

  • Avoid salty food

  • Hydrate yourself often

  • Elevate your legs every now and then throughout the day

  • Opt for compression socks to ease swollen feet


3. Engorged breasts

You may also realise that your breasts appear swollen, feel sore or engorged with milk for the first few days after delivery. Fret not as the swelling will reduce over the next couple of days! Your breasts may also begin to sag due to the skin being stretched during your pregnancy, or you may even notice that your nipples appear displaced – these are all common and nothing to worry about.

As you go through the period of recovering from birth and nursing your baby, it is natural for your breasts to reduce in volume and retain stretch marks. However, you can ease any discomfort during this time by making sure to invest in a supportive bra as well as using cold compresses to soothe your breasts. Additionally, gentle massages around the sore areas could also go a long way in making you feel more comfortable.

4. Loss of Bladder Control


As you approach the end of your pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles may have weakened due to the strain of the weight of your baby. This in turn could reduce your bladder control and lead to involuntary urine leakages – especially when you are exerting pressure such as when you are sneezing, laughing, coughing or trying to lift something heavy.

Pregnancy incontinence is a common occurrence amongst mothers, but you can improve this condition by incorporating simple habits to your daily routine while recovering. Do try kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles, drink enough liquids and increase your fibre intake.


5. Vitamin & Mineral Levels

Due to the heavy blood loss during childbirth, your body may be iron-deficient after pregnancy, which could manifest as feelings of lethargy and shakiness. During this period of healing, it is important for you to make sure you are getting all the vitamins you need – through a healthy diet consisting of vitamin-rich foods or taking postnatal multivitamins. Stock up on your favourite fruits, veggies, proteins and whole grains for a balanced diet!


6. Post-Pregnancy Constipation


After experiencing birth delivery, you may need to wait for a few days before having a bowel movement. This could be due to abdominal muscles that have weakened, or bowels that may have been strained during childbirth.


Ease feelings of constipation through a few simple tips:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water everyday

  • Incorporate fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, beans and leafy greens

  • Go on a light walk daily

  • Avoid strenuous activities


7. Hair Loss


Did you know that your hair grows thicker while you are pregnant due to the increased hormonal levels? So don’t be alarmed when you notice hair loss after childbirth – you may lose around 10% of your hair volume but it is normal since you are simply shedding the excess hair! Typically, your locks should go back to its pre-pregnancy natural volume in about 3 months’ time from delivery.


8. Varicose Veins & Stretch Marks


Varicose veins are a regular, normally harmless part of the pregnancy journey for some women. This happens when the growth of your baby in the uterus puts pressure on the vein that carries blood back from your lower body to your heart. You may encounter itchiness or feelings of discomfort when this happens, but the good news is they typically go away in around 3-4 months.


Soothe your legs by applying cold packs, elevating your legs from time to time and trying out compression stockings.

Book a consultation with us to find out more about your condition.
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