Pregnancy brings so many freakish bodily changes that you just stop keeping track at some point. What no one tells you is that there are some equally unsexy postpartum changes ahead.
You've probably read about lochia, that postpartum bleeding that feels like an endless period, but while you're stocking up on granny panties and maxi pads, you might want to prepare yourself for a few other postpartum events.
Proceed with caution. Here are the five most unpleasant postpartum changes to your body:
1. You will sweat like crazy. Starting that first night after delivery and lasting anywhere from a week to a month, you will wake up drenched. Expect clothes, hair, and sheets to be wet. The good news is you're losing fluids accumulated during pregnancy, so expect to see those numbers go down on the scale.
2. Those weird brown marks on your body don't disappear. Sorry, but as long as you're breastfeeding, the bizarre brown discoloration around the nipple sticks around. Same goes for that pesky linea nigra, the dark line running down the middle of your belly like a seam. It gradually fades within a few months, but may take longer if you're breastfeeding.
3. Your hair will fall out. You know how your hair is crazy thick during pregnancy? Your hormones have put your everyday shedding on hold, but that comes to an end after pregnancy. It could be so severe that hair comes out in clumps. Don't worry -- you're not going bald and it's unlikely that anyone but you will notice. Breastfeeding may delay the hair loss.
4. Engorgement hurts. Sometime in the first week when the milk comes in, your breasts may become very swollen, hard, tender, and possibly red and hot to the touch. Frequent nursing is supposed to prevent or minimize this, but it might happen anyway and it might be accompanied by a fever and chills. Do not freak out if this happens! If it doesn't go away with as much nursing and pumping as possible (hot compresses and showers will help, too) or if the pain and fever persist, call your doc. It could be mastitis, which is incredibly painful.
5. Pooping is not the same. And neither is your, um, rectal area, so don't look at it! It's super swollen after birth -- some describe it as a balloon -- and you will most likely be constipated for a few days after delivery. Once you go, though, you'll feel like throwing a party, and eventually the swelling will go down. Oh, and if you survived pregnancy without hemorrhoids, you might experience them now. Sorry!
Got something to add to the list? Don't hold back!
Image via joncoxphoto.com/Flickr