8 Things That Happen to Your Body After You Give Birth (Surprise!)

Caroline Olney | Apr 10, 2015 Pregnancy

Pregnancy will definitely change you emotionally, but growing another life form in your body for nine changes you physically, too. People always talk about what happens to you during pregnancy (i.e., your stomach grows), but what about all the stuff that happens after that no one wants to tell you about?

You'll never be quite the same after you have a kid. Being a mother will shift the way you live your life, but the path to getting to motherhood will change you almost as much -- just in different ways.

How strange is #7? Are you surprised by these changes?


Image via Alexey Losevich/shutterstock

  • Your shoe size could change ... forever


    Image via Serega K Photo and Video/shutterstock

    We know, we know, it's not good news. But the truth that no one wants to say is that sometimes the change your feet experience during pregnancy sticks around permanently. And to make it worse, your arches could flatten out as well.

    The changes happen because of all the extra weight you're carrying around, plus the pregnancy hormones that cause your ligaments to loosen up and become more malleable. And in 60 to 70 percent of women, those changes will be around forever.

  • You could have carpal tunnel for the rest of your life.


    Image via Image Point Fr/shutterstock

    That carpal tunnel that's been bothering you for the past couple of months? Yep, it could be around for good

    It's not uncommon for women to develop carpal tunnel during pregnancy. Again, it's because of the swelling and the hormone that causes your ligaments to spread out. But what they don't tell you is that about half of women still experience symptoms three years down the road. For a small portion of those women, their carpal tunnel actually worsened with time.

  • You'll either never be able to stop peeing, or you won't be able to go at all.


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    Considering its proximity to the uterus, it's not surprising that the bladder gets pretty messed up after giving birth. There are two main pee-related complications that new moms complain of: in the first, they can't hold it in and leak all day long. In the second, they stop getting that feeling that they have to go, and don't realize that their bladder is full.

    The leakage issue isn't totally surprising -- after all, you get used to that during pregnancy. But for a lot of women, they can't go at all for a couple days after birth, and this can turn into a long-term issue if it's not taken care of right away. In some cases, the (unfortunate) solution is to get a catheter. 

    More from The Stir: 12 Things No One Ever Tells You About Baby's First Month of Life

  • You'll bleed enough to make up for all those periods you missed.


    Image via Piotr Marcinski/shutterstock

    Here's another thing you probably didn't think you'd have to pay for: All those months of not having to deal with your period. But the unfortunate truth is that you bleed after giving birth. You bleed a lot, and it's not uncommon for this "period" to last close to six weeks.

    It's not going to be pleasant, either. It'll be heavy and you'll probably pass a number of clots that can be as big as a small orange. After that, you might start getting your period like normal again -- unless you're breastfeeding, in which case it could be a while longer.

  • You could lactate way after you're done breastfeeding.


    Image via fufu10/shutterstock

    And when we say way after, we mean it: Some women will lactate months or even years after they've weaned their babies off breast milk. This "inappropriate lactation" is actually because of a condition called galactorrhea, and it effects 20 to 25 percent of women.

    There are a number of things that could set it off (stress and sex are both on the list), and spontaneously lactating isn't ever going to be much fun to deal with.

  • You could have to deal with constipation. Still.


    Image via Photographee.eu/shutterstock

    Constipation isn't pleasant when you're pregnant, and it's not going to be pleasant afterwards, either. Unfortunately, postpartum constipation is fairly common in new moms because of all the hormones making their way out of the body and the iron in your system.

    The best way to deal with it is to up your intake of fiber and fluids, but doctors can also prescribe laxatives if the problem calls for it.

  • You're going to sweat. A lot.


    Image via iordani/shutterstock

    Once the baby is out of your body, all the other stuff that accumulated in there over the last nine months is going to have to be flushed out, too. Your body's favorite way of doing this is by sweating, so expect to sweat a lot -- especially at night.

    They're commonly called night sweats, and chances are that you're going to want to keep an extra set of sheets on hand for a couple weeks after giving birth. Drinking a lot of fluids will help flush all those hormones out faster, but it's all gotta come out eventually.

    More from The Stir10 Surprising & Little Known Milestones in Baby's 1st Month

  • Your brain plays host to your baby's cells.


    Image via Rohappy/shutterstock

    It's a tricky idea to wrap your head around, but if you gave birth, then some of your baby's cells could be living in your brain. The exchange usually happens during pregnancy (the placenta is a lifeline for your baby, but it's actually a two-way street), but scientists think that even more cells can travel across during breastfeeding. 

    But don't worry, no one is harmed during this process. If anything, it's actually good for you: some studies show that the immune systems of moms with their baby's cells are actually much stronger.

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