For most women, pregnancy is a special, happy time. For others, it’s difficult and uncomfortable. But whatever a woman feels during pregnancy or childbirth, there’s no denying that the experience will change her body. The postpartum body may resemble the pre-pregnancy body in some ways. But in other ways, it will look and feel completely different.
It’s impossible to know exactly how pregnancy affects your body without going through the experience. It’s different for every woman, and each pregnancy may affect the same woman differently as well. But here are some changes that women commonly experience during and after pregnancy:
1. Saggy Breasts
Producing and storing milk enlarges breasts, and increases breast tissue density. When lactation ends, the breast gland “involutes,” shrinking in size. Depending on skin elasticity, breasts may flatten, drop, sag, and assume an empty shape. Stretch marks may remain.
2. Shrinking Breasts
Pregnancy and breastfeeding (nursing, lactating) grow breast tissue. When the breasts lose size after nursing, they become less robust appearing, with less breast fullness. Many women find that their breasts are smaller after they stop breastfeeding.
3. Loose Belly (Abdominal) Skin
During pregnancy, collagen fibers in the skin overstretch and may rupture, making it unlikely to shrink back after childbirth. Saggy belly skin is common even for women who quickly go back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
4. Stretch Marks
Rapid pregnancy weight-gain increases the likelihood of developing stretch marks (dermal tears) on the belly, butt, hips, and breasts. But genetics play a role, too.
5. Wider Hips
A pregnant woman’s body produces the hormone relaxin to help relax and expand the pelvic joints and ligaments in preparation for delivery. For many women, this results in hips that remain wide even after the baby is born.
6. Larger Feet
The combination of the extra weight carried around during pregnancy and high amounts of the hormone relaxin often flatten the feet arches, causing a permanent half-size increase.
7. Varicose Veins
When the uterus applies pressure to the inferior vena cava (the vein that carries blood from your feet and legs back up to your heart), it can result in varicose veins in your legs. For some women, these go away within a few months after childbirth. But for others, they may stick around.
8. Weight Gain
One study showed that of 774 pregnant women, almost half retained more than 10 pounds of the weight they gained during pregnancy.
9. Vaginal Changes
The vagina before and after birth may not resemble itself in appearance or sensation. Many women experience vaginal looseness, vaginal weakness, dryness, and diminished sensitivity following pregnancy and childbirth.
10. Hair Changes
Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy usually make for a thick full head of lustrous hair. But shortly after childbirth, natural shedding resumes. In addition to post-pregnancy hair loss, some women also report changes in hair color and texture.
Ready to Make Your Body Yours Again? Dr. Laverson is the San Diego Mommy Makeover Specialist
During pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing, a woman’s body is not completely her own, but is shared. Most mothers happily sacrifice the integrity of their body in exchange for bearing offspring. But for many women, an unrecognizable post-pregnancy body and unrecoverable pre-pregnancy body stirs a sense of loss and diminished femininity. If you’ve experienced this loss and are ready to restore your body, you’ve come to the right place.
Mommy Makeover plastic surgeon Dr. Steve Laverson has performed thousands of successful procedures, helping moms reclaim their bodies and feel like themselves again. Call 858-295-4001 to schedule your free Mommy Makeover consultation with Dr. Laverson today.