After having her first baby, a woman goes through many noticeable changes with regards to herself. While some of these changes may disappear over time, there is a good chance that a big chunk of those changes will not go away at all.
The reason I am telling you this is not to ruin your day, but because it's been over a decade since I have been pregnant and given birth, and I speak from experience.
It does not mean that your body will be forever ruined because there are methods around that you can use in order to get your new mom bod back to almost the way your body was before you got pregnant. Did you notice how I emphasized the word almost? That is because after having your kids, your body will never be the way it was before you conceived and went through a pregnancy.
My advice to you is to embrace your mom body because you really don't have any other option. And at the same time, if some aspects of your new mom body bother you, then look for ways to lessen the effects. The good news is that there are solutions around for plenty of baby-related problems. So now, let's look at the 15 permanent pregnancy changes that moms might still feel 10 years later -- or even much longer than that! And let's see if there are solutions that can be done about some of these effects as well.
15 Mom Brain Forever
You may think that being forgetful associated with being pregnant is due to the hormonal changes which are true. However, even after you are done with having kids- you may find that you are just as forgetful as you were when you were pregnant. In fact, your overall perspective on so many things will have changed as well. You may think you are more forgetful because you are just too busy now that you are a mom for your own good.
Since you are always tending to the needs of your kids as well as your husband, you are going to assume that the cause for your forgetfulness is due to the fact that you are just too busy and distracted.
While some of that may be true, according to CNN, researchers have found that a woman's brain after going through pregnancy will be changed forever. That is because apparently, pregnancy changes the size and structure of the brain permanently. Therefore, the areas of the brain that control thoughts, feelings, memory, and beliefs are changed for good.
This also explains the fact that you are still as forgetful or feeling very differently even once your kids are older and more independent, and need you less as a result
14 Is Someone Cutting Onions?
We already know that a mom's memory is changed for good after going through pregnancy. However, that is not the only part of the brain that changes. If you have older kids, you may have noticed over time that your emotional response to stimuli has changed as well.
The stuff that may have stressed you out before you became a parent no longer phases you. On the flip side, the stuff that you used to have a nonchalant attitude about keeps you up at night.
Sure, your perception will change heaps after having kids. You will worry about new things because that is what having kids makes you do. And you may no longer sweat the small stuff.
However, the experience of being a mom is only part of the reason as to why your emotional state and responses are different after having kids.
Your pregnancies have literally changed so many areas of your brain that your emotions have been affected, according to The Atlantic.
That is a good thing and a bad thing. Because of the combination of your brain changing quite a bit after pregnancy and raising kids, you will find yourself worrying a lot. On the flip side, the stuff that mattered to you before entering motherhood no longer is even a thought. Pregnancy changes every aspect of you, which include your emotions for good.
13 Sneeze Or Laugh At Your Own Risk
After you have just one baby, you are going to find that you will have problems with controlling your bladder no matter how old they get. That is because after giving birth, your pelvic area and bladder weaken. Therefore, you will experience many moments of leaking
Even though your bladder will unfortunately never be as strong as it was before getting pregnant, there are steps you can take to strengthen it so you are leaking a lot less, according to What To Expect.
One suggestion they have is to do Kegels for a half an hour a day. Making sure to be consistent with doing these exercises should have for effect to strengthen your pelvic region. A major problem with this comes in the form of the post-pregnancy brain, which might make it easy for you to forget to do your Kegels, especially after a busy day. But you can always create a routine and schedule it in at a certain time of the day.
Another suggestion is to limit coffee (actually they say avoid it altogether but who can go without caffeine these days). However, if you are able to limit your caffeine intake, then you may find your bladder cooperating with you a little more!
12 Mask Of Pregnancy
Have you heard of Melasma? That is known as the mask of pregnancy, and it can cause brown spots to appear on your face. I am fortunate enough to have never experienced this. However, it's actually quite common, and I can only imagine how embarrassing it can be for those women who struggle with this a lot.
According to SELF, an OBGYN from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Dr. Michael Cackovic stated the following: The characteristic darkening of the face usually regresses within one year, but some may never completely resolve.
That said, maybe I did have this temporarily but it ended up clearing up at some point. I personally don't recall this being an issue. And if you know nothing about this condition, then you may either have never had it or you did, but it cleared up quickly.
Apparently, there are some unlucky moms who are still dealing with masks of pregnancy even though their kids are already over 20 years old! If that is the case, it is safe to say that they will be dealing with this issue for the rest of their lives. Then again, when you are at that age, I would imagine that very little concerns you whenever it comes to things like that. I can't assume since I am not even close to being at that stage. I would hope that is for their case if they are dealing with this issue.
11 Forget About Shorts
Varicose veins are not a pleasant thing to deal with as they are extremely common in women who have been pregnant. If you are thinking that varicose veins are the same as spider veins, they are not the same thing. WebMD explains the differences quite well, saying that varicose veins are swollen blood vessels that are large and can twist and turn. Spider veins also twist and turn but are smaller vessels that may be red, blue or purple.
Both varicose veins and spider veins protrude and can be easily seen through the skin
More often than not, varicose veins develop in the legs and feet, and they are a result of having high pressure and weight for a long time. After going through even one pregnancy can cause women to have these annoying veins that can make them self-conscious about it.
However, the good news is that they are removable. According to the same source, it is said that 100 mg coenzyme Q10 can help with circulation and tissue oxygenation. It is also said that 1000mg of Omega-3 oils can help with the blood vessels elasticity. And there may be other home remedies that you can look for as well. The bottom line is that if you have varicose veins due to being pregnant a decade ago or more, there are natural methods to solve the issue.
10 The Hips Don't Lie
If your kids are 10 years old or older and you still find that your hips never became narrow again, even after losing those pregnancy pounds years ago- then you may not be happy to know that this is a permanent effect of pregnancy. According to SELF, the assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology, and director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, Dr. Jessica Shepherd shared the reason for this.
According to Dr. Shepherd, during the time you are pregnant, especially if you gave birth naturally, your pelvis bone structure will be changed. Some women actually are fortunate enough to go back to having narrower hips again, and those women are the ones who likely had C- section deliveries.
However, more often than not, women will have wider hips after giving birth for the rest of their lives. If your kids are teens or are in their 20's, and your hips are still just as wide as they were after giving birth, then unfortunately, nothing about that will change.
Having wide hips is something that women who have had kids will need to find a way to accept and to embrace. What other option is there?
9 Up A Shoe Size
You would expect to have swollen legs and feet towards the end of your pregnancy, and for a while after birth. Having swollen legs and feet isn't always warning signs of preeclampsia in pregnancy either. If there is no protein detected in urine, and your blood pressure is at an acceptable level, then there is not a need to worry. It simply happens.
According to Medical Daily, research that was conducted less than 10 years ago has shown that pregnancy swelling can most definitely affect the size of the feet forever. That means the size and shape of the feet will never be the same, and that means you will have to buy larger shoes, and maybe even socks!
I have to say that before I had my kids, my shoe size was always around seven. It always confused me whenever I shopped for new pairs of shoes after I had my kids that a size nine or 10 was the only size that fit me. Therefore, those days when I wore size seven shoes are long gone.
It's a strange phenomenon but it certainly happens and I have to say that this is nothing I was really self-conscious about. But I cannot speak for other moms.
8 A Major Perk
You may already know this but your breast size will change after you give birth. You can end up with larger breasts or smaller ones- but just know that their size will change. According to SELF, an OBGYN from the Center for Sexual Health & Education, Dr. Maureen Whelihan says that even though your breasts do bulk up during pregnancy due to weight gain and milk, after the birth whether you breastfeed or not, they will deflate. It will happen if you choose not to nurse as the breast milk dries up, or if you do nurse but once you stop breastfeeding.
That does not mean that your breasts will be smaller after they deflate. Dr. Whelihan explains that the loss of fat under the skin causes drooping and sagging in breast tissue. This can actually increase the size of the breasts, due to gravity causing them to sag more. Or, the breasts can also shrink. There is no way to predict whether your breasts will decrease or increase in size.
Just know that they will change drastically after having a baby, and they are changed for the rest of your life.
That is why there is such a thing as implants for women who are bothered by this! Thank goodness for that.
7 Hair Of A Dog
You may have heard the myth that your hair and nails grow after you pass away, which is actually not true. However, you may not be aware that the same thing happens while you are pregnant, and that is not a myth- it is a fact. According to SELF, an OBGYN from the Center for Sexual Health & Education, Dr. Maureen Whelihan explains that once you give birth, your hair and nails stop growing.
In fact, she says that you can actually lose your hair after childbirth. This can make your hair feel limp and lifeless. However, some women are fortunate enough to have their hair grow back nicely after a year of giving birth. But not all women are so lucky. Many women never have their nice hair back after having their kids and have to rely on hair treatments in order to bring life back to their hair.
Because of the fact that I have PCOS, my hair has always been limp and lifeless and that is definitely a result of hormone imbalances. So I know nothing about having nice and full hair. I am glad my daughter did not inherit that from me as she has gorgeous hair. She does want to make me a grandma one day (no pressure from me, ever of course), but when that time comes, she'll have to be prepared for the strong possibility that her full and thick hair won't stay that way after she has kids.
6 The Tiger Stripes
Was it over a decade since you had your last pregnancy? And, are you wondering why you still have those stretch marks when they should have disappeared years ago? Here is some bad news. These stretch marks won't likely go away- naturally anyway.>
According to SELF, an OBGYN from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Dr. Michael Cackovic said that a large amount of weight gain during pregnancy makes women more prone to them. However, even if weight gain was minimal, pregnancy changes women's bodies forever. Therefore, you can still end up with permanent stretch marks even if you did not gain much weight.
Dr. Cackovic also points out that stretch marks are completely normal! However, if you have a difficult time embracing these marks that show you went through a pregnancy or multiple pregnancies- there are natural ways you can remove stretch marks- the best you can anyway.
According to Top 10 Home Remedies, if you take aloe vera and rub it on the affected areas, that will take care of it. Just make sure that you leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. You may have to rinse and repeat until the stretch marks are faded enough that you can't see them anymore.
5 To The Dark Side
If you think the size of your breasts is the only thing that changes forever after going through pregnancy, then think again. Other aspects of your breasts go through permanent changes as well- and that is the color of your areolas. Additionally, the color of other parts of your body will change as well. Not just your areolas.
According to SELF, an OBGYN from the Center for Sexual Health & Education, Dr. Maureen Whelihan explains that the reason your areolas darken during pregnancy is due to the rising levels of estrogen. Therefore, consider the change like a permanent tattoo (though tattoos can be removable as the darkened areas of your body cannot be so that is not the best comparison really).
By the way, it does not matter if your skin type is dark or fair. Those areas of your body will darken for good after going through a pregnancy.
I just remember personally when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was shocked to notice how dark those parts of my body were getting. My skin color is as fair as a ghost, and I was always one of those unlucky ones that always burned and never tanned. So seeing anything darken on my body was a shock.
4 The Dreaded Tummy Shelf
After going through a pregnancy, whether you have been pregnant just once or multiple times, your abdominal muscles will stretch and weaken. As a result, you are left with what is referred to as a pregnancy pouch which is what the loose area in your tummy. This can make any mom self-conscious.
According to What To Expect, there are ways to tone down the pregnancy pouch. It is recommended that you do pelvic tilts and simple ab contractions. All you have to do is lie on your back with your knees bent, and with your feet on the floor. Then you will gradually tighten your abs and then tilt your pelvis towards the direction of your head. At the same time, you will need to tighten the pelvic floor which also is great for Kegles, which also strengthens the bladder, since a weak bladder is the other issue that moms face after pregnancy!
If you do this exercise consistently, then you will be able to tone down your tummy well and the pregnancy pouch will be less noticeable. However, because of the fact that everything was stretched while you were pregnant, it won't be 100 percent gone for good. The pregnancy pouch is just another part of being a mom.
3 Inevitable Scars
The fact of the matter is, when you give birth, whether you deliver naturally or have a C-section, you will have a scar. That is also because whenever you deliver naturally, you will likely tear or have an episiotomy. That will always leave scarring, and there is no reason to even explain why you would end up with a permanent scar after having a C-section.
According to The Health Site, even though the scar will be hidden and may be small- especially if it was due to tearing or having an episiotomy, moms should not be ashamed to have those. In fact, those scars really represent how tough you were to endure labor and birth!
I never had a C-section but my feeling is that moms who have had one are more likely to be more self-conscious about those scars than the moms who ended up with tearing scars due to delivering naturally. Especially for these moms who want to wear a bikini.
Again there is no reason to be ashamed. Giving birth is a huge deal and any mom that ensures it is most definitely a fighter and a warrior. This is why no mom should ever be ashamed of having a scar. And you know what they say about what scars in general represent!
2 Broken Slumber
After you have a baby, it is expected to have a difficult time getting eight hours of sleep like those sleep experts recommend people get per night. That is because the newborn is up every few hours and even once the baby matures, the baby will not always sleep through the night.
However, the fact of the matter is that even years after having your kids when they are long past learning how to sleep through the night- you will still find that sleeping is a challenge. It may be due to your internal clock being interrupted and the effects of it are long-lasting. It may also be due to a dip in melatonin levels.
According to WebMD, melatonin levels do drop as anyone ages so the sleep disturbances may have to do with that as well, in conjunction with going through a pregnancy and being used to having broken sleep.
Men also have sleep issues as they age as well so that is obviously only linked to dropping levels of melatonin.
However, you still cannot compare a man's sleep disturbances to the disruption of sleep that moms face, even long after their kids are sleeping through the night. That is also because there are other hormones that come into play which do not affect aging men. With that said, moms will never have the same kind of quality of sleep the way they did before becoming pregnant.
1 Possible Thyroid Complications
Not every mom has complications with their thyroid after giving birth. However, according to Parents.com, it is said that five to ten percent of women do end up having an overactive or under-active thyroid after giving birth. The problem may disappear after a certain post however, many women do end up with permanent problems with their thyroid as well.
It is not uncommon for these affected women who end up with hypothyroidism, which include symptoms of lethargy, having trouble with concentrating, fatigue, weight gain or weight loss without trying to do either, and depression.
The only thing I have to say is that any thyroid problem is not always detectable. Your thyroid may appear to be perfectly functional but only a few hormones are checked. If you suspect that you have problems with your thyroid even though you were told it was normal, then you will have to see your doctor and explain the issues you are having. Your doctor will likely refer you to an endocrinologist, who will be able to detect whether or not you have an issue with your thyroid. They do so by looking further into the issue and treating you accordingly if you do indeed have a thyroid issue.
References: CNN.com, TheAtlantic.com, WhatToExpect.com, Self.com, MedicalDaily.com, Top10HomeRemedies.com, TheHealthSite.com, Parents.com