The changes a mother experiences after her pregnancy can be shocking and even contrary to her nature. Those changes which are common during pregnancy but which fade fast, like hair texture, food preferences, and nesting behaviors, stay with a rare few mothers for the rest of their life! Other changes, like extreme periods or jealousy of one's partner, will only last for a few months. Though short-lived these changes can still be disruptive to your life, especially if you're one of the few mothers who experience a heightened version of a common problem. Sudden food allergies, that began during pregnancy, can be deadly. Mood fluctuations after your labor could result in postpartum psychosis (as well as the well-known postpartum depression).
Then again, some of these extreme cases are gifts instead of problems. Our playfully dubbed "Mother Bear Mode" is a combination of crazy hormonal shifts that could save your baby's life. If you've always wanted straight hair you could be in luck. You could even develop a new favorite food that becomes the highlight of dinner time. Join us to hear about the best and worst of post-pregnancy changes that could forever alter your life in small, or huge, ways.
15 Loosing Teeth
During pregnancy the connective tissue in the body loosens, probably to help the baby pass through the pelvis, but it effects even the gums! Plus, pregnant women are more likely to suffer gingivitis and gum irritation due to hormonal changes. Before proper dental hygiene was common there was an old wive's tale "gain a child lose a tooth". Though full loss of a tooth is uncommon now it still happens!
14 Running and Exercising
After pregnancy some women may have difficulty restarting their running regime. Even fitness experts have dealt with this problem, taking months to get back into the swing of things, literally. Pregnancy and childbirth, even without C-section, stretches the core muscles that provide pelvis and core support. You can find yourself getting frequent cramps while running, and have difficulty maintaining form (you'll be tilting forward), until those muscles recover. And the only way they'll recover properly is if you spend time strengthening them!
13 The Incessant Urge to Shop
We're all familiar with the "nesting" stage before the baby arrives where mom-to-be needs absolutely everything to be in order for baby's arrival, usually including buying the baby essentials. But some women experience this urge to buy things past the nesting stage. One poor man reports that his wife actually seemed to develop a form of hoarding specifically for baby items. He reports that they had two whole rooms full of unopened baby clothing and accessories, well into the toddler stage. Of course, such cases are rare, but you may find yourself buying a little more than you really need after pregnancy too.
12 Postpartum Psychosis
While postpartum depression is also a serious condition that affects recent mothers, few realize that postpartum psychosis is also a risk of pregnancy. Those one in a thousand women who are affected by postpartum psychosis develop symptoms between twenty-four to seventy-two hours post-delivery. Symptoms are similar to those experienced by bi-polar sufferers, including erratic and rapid mood changes and disorganized behavior. Postpartum psychosis focuses on the infant and so mothers may experience delusions surrounding their baby, or auditory hallucinations about their baby.
11 Mother Bear Mode
When that little baby finally makes it to your arms you think that you'd do anything to protect it. Some moms have to put that promise to the test. When you're lactating the hormones associated with fear and anxiety are actually significantly reduced, and so you may find yourself able to react in life-or-death situations when you may have been overwhelmed with fear before. Similarly, you've probably heard tales of women lifting cars off their trapped babies. The jury is out on this one, but it's possible that hysterical strength, a burst of strength due to the fight-or-flight response, is the reason mothers can perform this amazing feat.
10 Jealousy of Partner's Selflessness
It's not all glory in motherhood. Sometimes we struggle, and make mistakes. Luckily we have our partners or family members around to support us through these challenges. However, some mothers report being jealous of how well their partner can go without sleep, or can put up with constant crying, or can go without any alone time. It's odd to think that we'd become jealous of our partners selflessness, but it happens. If you find yourself in this position, just remember that there will be other arenas of parenthood that you're great in, and in which your partner will need your support.
9 Better Communication
Have you ever noticed that your baby will cry out if they hear you snapping at your partner, even if it's quiet? Babies can differentiate between tones of voice, and may prefer some over the others, but don't know what emotion each tone of voice means for the first few months. If you're lucky enough that your baby dislikes snippy tones you'll find that your communication skills with your partner are about to improve drastically. No one wants to wake the baby, and after a few months of being trained by your baby your new habit of talking calmly is likely to continue!
8 Bloating During Periods
Some women's period gets wilder after their pregnancy. We've heard women refer to it as "The River of Death" post-pregnancy, when they hardly had a cramp before hand. It's common for women to have heavy and unpredictable periods for months after childbirth. The reason for these shifts is that hormones are still stabilizing, the uterus has been "broken in", and the muscles that support the uterus are weak. Some women will bloat dramatically as the muscles don't hold down the contracting uterus like they used to.
7 Hair Texture Changes
You've probably heard that some women's hair changes texture, or gets significantly drier or greasier, during pregnancy. But for some women, that change is permanent! Usually what's happening is that women loss their hair much slower than normal during pregnancy, and then after the baby is born their scalp catches up on the hair loss it normally would've gone through those past nine months. Yet, in some unusual cases the hair follicle shape actually changes during pregnancy, for the larger. It's the shape of the follicle that determines the hair texture, and larger follicles mean straighter hair. If this happens to you your hair will become straighter, permanently.
6 Lost Affection for Pet
When you bring home your darling new baby it's hard to feel as connected to your dog or cat. Dare I say it, also sometimes mothers don't feel as close to their older children when the youngest comes along! Don't feel guilty, this is just your hormones working over-time to make sure you bond with your new baby. This feeling will fade and your love for your children will equalize soon. There will also come a time where walking the dog feels like a relaxing time together, instead of a nuisance.
5 New Food Allergies
When you're pregnant your immune system is weakened, and may respond to allergens in a new way. You can develop a serious allergy after this exposure during pregnancy, even a life-threatening one! Most new allergies will be mild, but you should keep a eye out for allergic reactions post-pregnancy.
4 New Favorite Foods
Pregnant women go through so much nausea that it might be nice to hear that you might actually end up liking new foods after your baby is born. A particularly common change is suddenly liking spicy foods. Women who couldn't handle any amount of heat before their baby occasionally turn into spice lovers afterwards! Maybe that's because many mothers avoid spice during breastfeeding and want to make up for lost time afterwards. But, it's actually a myth that spicy foods will spice your breast milk!
3 Suddenly Wanting More Kids
Some women who have pleasant pregnancy experiences find that they're suddenly interested in having several more kids, even though they only wanted one child previously. We've heard the opposite story too, that having their first child made a mother realize she only wanted one. It makes sense that you might change your perspective after having experienced being a mother, but it still comes as a big surprise to mothers who were very sure about how many children they wanted.
2 Unexpected Priority Changes
We've all heard that your "whole world" changes when your baby comes along. One of the biggest changes is your priorities. Suddenly sky diving doesn't quite seem worth it, or you begin re-thinking your career as a stunt driver. Some women even experience a resurgence in their old risk-seeking behaviors when their children become adults.
1 Sudden Possessiveness
You've read The Helicopter Parent, and you agree that there's danger is raising a child in too protective of an environment. You swore off the over-protective habits of your own parents, or other parents you know, but suddenly you can't bear to let your infant leave your arms. You're not alone, plenty of mothers feel more protective of their newborns than they expected, and some take this to the extreme. Don't worry, it's not a lasting characteristic of your parenting style, it's simply your reaction to the post-labour hormones that are impressing upon you the importance of your little one. These most intense feelings of possessiveness will pass.