Pregnancy is a wonderful and beautiful time in a woman’s life. She is glowing, feels beautiful and has just the cutest baby bump in the entire world. She loves to tell everyone how great she is feeling and have everything just marvel at this wonderful change that is happening. Now, did you buy any of that? I didn’t think so. That is how a lot of media depicts pregnancy - as this beautiful and wonderful time in a woman’s life. The truth is, pregnancy is rarely anything like that at all.
Being pregnant is a lot more than glowing skin and beautiful maternity clothes. It is messy, depressing and very uncomfortable. Then our big celebration is a long, painful and tiring childbirth experience. Only then do we get to meet the little person we have been suffering for.
We often think that once a woman has given birth, her body goes back to normal. Yes, it may take some time, but it should just bounce back. That is not exactly true. While there are changes that happen that are only temporary, there are also changes that are permanent. We have found a list of 10 temporary and 10 permanent changes that happen when a woman is pregnant. Some of them may shock you!
20 Permanent: Wider Hips
If you have always dreamed of having those wonderful hips you see on all the celebrities, then getting pregnant may make your wish come true. One of the permanent changes your body may go through is giving you wider hips. Now, that is a little misleading, because it is not exactly your hips that have gotten wider, but your pelvic bone – but it will give the same effect.
When your baby goes through your birth canal to enter the world, they exit and pass through your pelvic bone and your bone structure does change. This may mean that you notice that your jeans are not fitting as well. Not all women notice this change because the degree of severity will depend on a lot of factors. If you have a smaller baby, the change may not be as drastic than if you had a larger baby.
19 Temporary: Nesting Urge
A nesting urge is something that affects a lot of women when they are pregnant. It is called ‘nesting’ because it is similar to when a bird gets ready to lay her eggs by building a perfect nest for them. The nesting urge is a strong sense of wanting to organize your home and get it ready for the baby. This could be by either cleaning it from top to bottom or organizing.
It doesn’t just mean getting the nursery ready, but all the rooms in your house. You will want to clean out that closet that you have been neglecting or give your bathroom a good scrub. This normally occurs later in the pregnancy, as the realization that the baby is coming becomes more and more overwhelming. Sadly, this is just a temporary change in pregnancy, because when that baby comes it all goes away. Anyways, you will be too tired to even think about cleaning.
18 Permanent: Bigger Feet (Gulp!)
While some of us may dream of wider hips, not many of us wish for our feet to get bigger. This change can either be temporary or permanent. Feet and ankles swell during pregnancy, and this swelling is temporary and can fluctuate depending on the time of day and how much walking you did that day. There are a lot of instances where a woman’s feet stay larger even after giving birth.
You may notice that when the baby is born, your shoes are just not fitting the way they used too. This is because it is common for a woman’s feet to go as much as one whole size up and stay that way. The benefit of this is that you get to go shoe shopping; the downfall is if you are in a situation where you had larger feet to begin with.
17 Temporary: Pregnancy Brain
I am sure we have all heard of the term 'pregnancy brain'. We have said it to someone else or thought about it ourselves. We put the milk in the cupboard and the bowl in the fridge and just blame it on pregnancy brain. There are a lot of people who think this is just a myth, but it is definitely true. There is a phenomenon that occurs in pregnant women that causes them to be more forgetful or absent-minded.
This is blamed on both preoccupations with thoughts of the baby as well as hormonal changes. It has also been linked to an increase/decrease of blood flow to the brain. The good news is that this is a temporary change during pregnancy and doesn’t seem to last after birth. Of course, that is probably because then it is called mommy-brain. That condition has nothing to do with hormones, and everything to do with exhaustion.
16 Permanent: The Ladies Get Bigger (…Or Smaller)
I am not sure if women would be happy or sad about this next change, and that is a woman’s breast size goes through various changes when a woman is pregnant. It is normal for their size to fluctuate during pregnancy due to hormones and in preparation to breastfeed. The ladies can go through a permanent change after pregnancy and they could either get larger (or smaller) and remain that way.
Breasts can get smaller after birth because they essentially ‘deflate’ with all the extra weight that was gained during pregnancy is lost. They can also grow bigger and stay that way. There is no way to dictate which way your breasts will go for you after you give birth. The majority of breasts do get smaller after birth, so if you are a chesty woman, this may be good news! It is important to note that if you are breastfeeding, they may continue to fluctuate in size due to milk production.
15 Temporary: Hormonal Mood Swings
Mood swings are not a fun part of being pregnant, and it is why men all over the world state that they suffer during pregnancy too. Here is a tip, if your woman is pregnant, never say that to her! When a woman is pregnant, her hormones are raging, and this can cause irrational and erratic mood swings. This is totally normal and is only temporary.
There may be some mood changes lingering around after you give birth, but that is due to your hormones getting back to their normal state. This is also temporary and should pass. The hormonal mood swings are much more common to witness in the first trimester as well as towards the end of your last trimester. Although it is unsure if that is due to hormones, or just being cranky because you are 9-months pregnant. At the end of the day, it is best to just blame your husband!
14 Permanent: Skin Gets Darker
Do you enjoy getting a tan? Always having that glow-like look as if you were just at a beach or on a tropical vacation? Well, if you want to save money at the tanning salon, you can always get pregnant. One of the permanent changes that come with pregnancy is that, in some cases, a woman’s skin can get darker. This may be a good place to note that these are not rules. The permanent changes do not mean that they will happen to every single woman, they are things that can happen.
It also may not be your whole body that gets darker, it could just be certain spots. Certain private areas can appear darker as well as moles and other spots will darken in color. This is due to the influx in estrogen running through a woman’s body when she is pregnant. These changes are permanent and tend to happen quite often for women who have been pregnant.
13 Temporary: Skin Changes
While there are skin changes that are permanent, there are also changes that are only temporary and they will pass. Women are often told that they have the ‘glow’ of being pregnant, this is just excessive oil that is being produced by pregnancy hormones, or it is sweat (it’s probably sweat). Some women even notice yellow or brown patches on their skin while they are pregnant.
These are all caused by pregnancy hormones which can increase the pigment that is in a woman’s skin. When the pregnancy hormones are gone, the spots usually leave with it. So, while you may have this discoloration for a bit after you deliver, they will go away eventually. It takes some time for all those hormones to leave your system and for it to kind of reboot itself to its former glory. The reason they show up in patches is because even though the body is producing more pigment, it is not distributing it evenly.
12 Permanent: Isn’t Incontinence For Old People?
Very few of the changes that happen to a pregnant woman’s body are glamorous, and this one is no different. Incontinence is something that we only associate with little babies or older people. It is the inability to hold in urine or lacking the ability of control. While it may not be as severe as in a little baby, women sometimes have permanent changes when it comes to bladder control after they give birth.
They don’t have to wear any special garments because the incontinence is usually just when a woman coughs or sneeze. It is a familiar situation for a lot of moms out there - they have a little sneeze or a cough and a little bit of urine comes out. This is because the muscles are weakened after giving birth and it is harder to clench the muscles that you need to, to hold your urine in. Doing Kegel exercises when pregnant is said to help prevent this from happening, but I don’t know how accurate that is.
11 Temporary: Luscious Hair And Nails
One change that we really wish was permanent is the change that happens to our hair and nails when we are pregnant. Many women have experienced that when they are pregnant their nails grow faster and stronger and that their hair has never had more volume. This is due to many reasons. Mostly it is due to all the pregnancy hormones that are running through your system.
Unfortunately, they are not permanent - many women find their hair falling out in chunks after they give birth. That is because as the hormones leave, so does all that luscious and bouncy hair. The good news is that women who are pregnant may find hair growing in places that they would rather not have it. This is also temporary and is due to the hormones. It tells the hair to grow, but it does not specify where it should.
10 Permanent: Melasma
You may have never heard of Melasma before, and that is because it is often referred to as the ‘mask of pregnancy’. This condition causes brown spots to appear on a woman’s face when she is pregnant. Surprisingly, this happens to most women and has everything to do with pregnancy hormones. If you haven’t noticed a trend yet, hormones have a lot to do with the changes that occur in our bodies when we are pregnant.
This condition is (sometimes) permanent. Some women will see these spots fade, but it can take up to a year post-partum. Others, never really go away. They may fade in color, making them not as noticeable, but they never truly disappear. Just think of them as ‘tiger marks’, something to signify that your body has done something miraculous. Pregnancy changes our bodies, there is no way around it. It is better to embrace the changes than being annoyed at them.
9 Temporary: Fluctuating Shoe Size
We talked earlier about how it is possible for your feet to permanently grow in size after you have given birth. Your feet can even grow as much as one whole shoe size. While this may be permanent, our feet go through many temporary changes when we are pregnant. During pregnancy, it is quite normal for a woman’s feet to fluctuate in size. Shoes fit one day, and then the next you are struggling to get them in.
This is due to all the extra water in our system which leads to swelling. Gravity works against you here, and if you spend most of your time standing and walking, then all of that extra liquid is going to go right to your feet. The best way to combat this is to try and keep your feet up as much as possible. You are in luck if most of your swelling happens in the summer, as slip-on shoes will be your best friend.
8 Permanent: Limp Hair After!
Gone are the days of those glorious locks of hair that you enjoyed when you were pregnant. After you give birth, when the hormones start to leave your body, you will find yourself with limp hair. Since the hormones are what caused the great hair, it only makes sense that when those hormones are gone, so is all that hair.
Many women complain about all the hair they lose after giving birth, and it can lead to some pretty serious self-esteem issues. She already feels like she doesn’t look so hot, because she is beyond exhausted and cannot remember the last time she took a shower. Add some hair loss into this equation and it can feel like a disaster. Your best bet is to treat yourself to a hair-cut. Getting a shorter hairstyle can not only lessen the appearance of limp hair, but it will be much easier to maintain in those early days of motherhood.
7 Temporary: Loose Joints
This may be one that not a lot of people have heard of, and that is the changes in your joints when you are pregnant. Our joints are very important and are often not thought about. They are what give us the ability to move, to bend our knees and raise our arms. If anything caused our joints to be impaired it could be very uncomfortable.
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called Relaxin. This hormone is important, because it helps prepare the pubic area and cervix for birth. This hormone also loosens all the ligaments in your body, which makes it very easy for a woman to strain or injure herself. It is important that you watch when you are lifting to ensure that you do not strain a muscle. Luckily, this is a temporary change and when your body stops producing the hormone, your ligaments will strengthen back up.
6 Permanent: Stretch Marks
This is a change that a lot of women worry about when they first find out they are pregnant; will they get stretch marks? The answer is; probably! There is no sure way to prevent yourself from getting these, so sorry to say no matter how much cream you put on your belly, it cannot be helped. Stretch marks happen when the skin gets stretched too far.
Most think that only if you gain extra weight when pregnant will you be blessed with these marks. That is a myth. Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to our body and stretching skin is just one of them. Anytime skin stretches, stretch marks are bound to show up. They also do not just appear on the stomach. Women can get them on their breasts, legs and butt. These may fade a little over time, but they will rarely ever go away completely. What is more important to remember is that they are completely normal!
5 Temporary: Veins, Hemorrhoids, Oh My!
Varicose veins are very common in women who are pregnant. They are caused by pregnancy hormones, as they enlarge blood pools in the veins around the legs and groin area. Varicose veins often disappear after pregnancy, when the hormones run out, but there are things that you can do to try and prevent them. Avoiding sitting/standing for long periods of time, wearing loose-fitting clothes and elevating your feet are all things you can try.
Another form of varicose veins that occur are hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are very common in pregnancy, this is due to an increase in blood volume and your uterus putting pressure on your rectum. These cause the grape-like clusters that are very painful. Now, hemorrhoids are permanent (unless you get a removal procedure done), but the flare-ups are temporary. It is important to try not to strain when going to the bathroom and take stool softeners if possible.
4 Permanent: Brain Changes
Not many know about the permanent changes that happen in our brain when we are pregnant. This is a change that is most often overlooked and is described by the following process; “changes in the neuronal network during pregnancy influence how the brain moves into protective mother mode.” So, when people say that their mama bear is going to come out, they really do mean it. A switch is flipped in our brain when we are pregnant, and we become a mother!
This results in a subconscious focus on parenting, nurturing and protecting. This means that there will be a decline in the feels of sexiness and playfulness. Now, this doesn’t mean that you become a different person altogether, but pregnancy does change you, we just didn’t know it changed you biologically. Women do often report a decline in their intimate life after a baby is born, that feeling is temporary, and couples do report that they often go back to their normal routine at some point.
3 Temporary: Constipation
Going back to hemorrhoids, one of the main reasons a flare-up happens is because of constipation. The urge to go number two is there, but you are straining so much that you are adding pressure to your hemorrhoids. Unfortunately, constipation is quite normal during pregnancy and even though it is temporary, it can be a big problem for mom-to-be. The reason constipation is so common is because pregnancy hormones slow the rate of food passing through your system.
During the third trimester, your uterus may even push against your intestines, making it very hard for you to have a bowel movement. Your best weapon against constipation is to fight it before it is even there. Eating a fiber-rich diet will help ensure that food moves normally through your intestines. Talk to your doctor about any safe laxatives or stool softeners you can take - there are some that are completely fine for women to take when they are pregnant.
2 Temporary: Linea Nigra
The Linea Nigra is something that most pregnant women find themselves with at some point in their pregnancy. They wake up one morning and notice that they have a brown line going down the middle of their entire belly. This is completely normal and appears on most women. This is another side effect that is caused by pregnancy hormones.
It is due to the pigment changes in your body, where color can end up in some pretty unusual places. Not too worry, this is a temporary change, and while it may still last for a bit after you give birth, it won’t last forever. As your hormones regulate, it will stop messing with your pigment, and over time the line will fade, and you will be back to your (somewhat) normal pre-pregnancy body. Every pregnancy is different, and the changes are not a list of what WILL happen, but a list of what could happen. They are all battle wounds of one of the toughest things you will do in your life.
1 Permanent: You're A Mom!
The most permanent and significant change that you will go through when you are pregnant is that you are a mom. Being a mom doesn’t just go away when our children turn 18, it is a lifetime commitment. There are seniors out there in the world who still worry about their fully-grown adult children. It just never ends. This little person is going to need all your attention, and they will need it for a while.
This is enough to scare any woman, and most women do reach a point in their pregnancy where the realization starts to hit them that their life is about to change in the biggest and most permanent way. Not to worry, as soon as you see that baby, you will know what to do. You may need some help along the way, but before you know it, you will be a pro-mom and you wouldn’t be able to imagine your life any other way, and you wouldn’t want it any other way either.
Sources: kidshealth.org, self.com