Your body will go through so many dramatic changes during your pregnancy. Your belly will grow. Your breasts will swell. You’ll even experience changes in your vision, taste and sense of smell.
The changes don’t stop after you have the baby. Your body won’t immediately snap back to what it was before you found out that you were expecting. Read ahead to find out what unexpected changes will happen to your post-baby body and what you can do to address them:
Spider veins and varicose veins are two of the many strange side effects that come with pregnancy. They tend to develop in your legs and ankles.
Spider veins are small web-like veins that are visible through the skin. They’re usually purple, blue or red. They’re not painful. At worst, you might find them ugly or embarrassing.
On the other hand, varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that bulge through the skin. They can be very painful and come with itching, aching, throbbing or burning sensations.
What Can You Do?
Varicose veins often dissipate after you have the baby, usually within 3 to 6 months. While you’re waiting for them to disappear, you should wear compression stockings and exercise regularly to increase the circulation in your legs and reduce your discomfort.
It’s possible that these damaged veins won’t disappear after 6 months. In that case, you may want to seek treatment. Sclerotherapy, laser therapy, radiofrequency ablation and vein ligation surgery are all effective ways to eliminate this problem.
You might notice that your skin — particularly the skin on your belly — is loose or saggy. This is a common problem for women right after they give birth or after they lose their “baby weight.”
Women who give birth to twins, triplets and higher sets are more likely to have sagging skin because their bellies expand more. Age also plays a role in this. As you get older, your skin loses its elasticity, so it will have a harder time snapping back after the rapid weight gain and loss.
What Can You Do?
You can minimize your chances of dealing with sagging skin by sticking to the weight gain recommendation during pregnancy. Gaining more than your doctor recommends can stretch out your skin.
If you want to lose weight after giving birth, you should try to do it at a slow and steady pace. Don’t try to get back to your pre-baby body right away. Trying to race through the process could leave you with more sagging skin.
Regular exercise, drinking plenty of water and avoiding cigarettes should also help with your skin’s recovery.
What if the problem doesn’t go away? It’s possible that the skin around your belly stays loose. In that case, there are several cosmetic and surgical treatments that can help you. Non-invasive cosmetic treatments like SkinTyte, Exilis or Renuvion can target areas of loose skin, making them taut and contoured to your body. Liposuction will remove stubborn fat, particularly in the tummy and lower body. A Tummy Tuck will remove excess skin and fat, giving you a firmer, flatter stomach.
Where can you get these treatments? If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you can look into GraceMed plastic surgeons — they have world-class clinics in and around the city. You can access their top-quality plastic surgery options in Toronto, Mississauga, Burlington and Oakville. If you’ve found other post-baby body problems that you’d like to fix, these clinics offer customizable Mommy Makeover treatments. These treatments can help moms handle things like stubborn weight gain and sagging breasts so that they can be comfortable and confident with their bodies again.
Your belly isn’t the only area that can be left with sagging skin after giving birth. You might notice that your breasts are lower, droopier and flatter than they were pre-baby. If this isn’t your first time, you’re more likely to deal with this side effect. The more that you go through pregnancy and nursing, the harder it will be for your breasts to recover.
What Can You Do?
As stated before, you should try to lose any postpartum weight as slowly as you can. Losing weight rapidly will give your skin less time to recover and leave you with more sagging.
You should also wear a supportive nursing bra day and night. Your breasts will be engorged from hormones and milk, so they will be heavier than normal. Without constant support, they will pull down on the ligaments and cause sagging.
Similar to the loose skin problem, you can go through with surgical procedures if you’re unhappy with how your breasts look. A breast lift (mastopexy) can help you remove the excess skin and raise your breasts to a perkier position. A breast reduction can remove fat and tissue to bring your breasts down to a smaller shape and size. A breast augmentation can increase the size and shape of your breasts — this helps women who feel like their postpartum breasts are flatter.
During your pregnancy, you might notice that your hair is thicker, shinier and healthier. Why is that? Hormones, of course. By 20 weeks, you’ll have increased levels of estrogen and androgen, which will make your hair grow faster. It will also be less likely to shed.
That perk ends after you give birth, and your hormone levels change. Your luscious locks tend to thin out and shed — a lot. This is a common condition called postpartum telogen effluvium. Women with postpartum telogen effluvium find that they’re pulling clumps of hair out when they brush, shampoo or blow-dry their hair. They lose a significant amount of volume, and their hair develops a stringy, oily texture. Some get small bald spots.
Postpartum hair loss tends to happen 3 to 6 months after you deliver. The good news is that it’s a temporary problem. It can last for 6 months. Your hair shedding should slow down and eventually stop. If it doesn’t, you may need to visit your doctor and get your thyroid checked.
What Can You Do?
If you want to minimize your chances of hair loss, you should eat a diet full of nutritious superfoods and proteins (nuts, seeds, meats, beans, eggs, dairy products, etc.). You will also want to eat foods rich in iron, zinc and vitamin C. Talk to your doctor first before taking any new vitamin supplements, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Be gentle with your hair for several months. You should avoid the following:
- Hairstyles that pull at your hair (for example, high ponytails, tight braids, dreads)
If your hair has started thinning or shedding, and you’re embarrassed about how it looks, you can cover it up using head wraps, headbands, hats or wigs. Or you can shave your head to save yourself from the stress of pulling out clumps of hair.
These changes are awkward, embarrassing and stressful. They’re also completely normal. You’re not the only mom who has gone through this, and you won’t be the last. You can recover from all of this.