Nine months of dealing with any physical issue can seem like forever. That's one reason why pregnant women can't wait to deliver their baby — along with the joy of meeting the little one. But unfortunately, a lot of pains and problems that come with pregnancy do not go away right away with the birth.
Doctors can't do much to combat the problems of pregnancy, such as nausea, which can continue for some women for the entire nine months. Moms are encouraged to just deal with backaches and heartburn because medications could have an impact on the baby, so they hold on to hope that their pain will soon end. But sometimes the delivery isn't a magical end to the problems of pregnancy.
While the baby will no longer be sitting on mom's bladder and causing her to rush to the bathroom, it will take longer to get over the constant worries that can plague that time in life. And while the baby bump won't itch anymore, the stretch marks will remain for months — and let's face it, the bump isn't going anywhere for a while either.
Some items on this list might be good news for new moms, but others will temper her expectations for how long she will have to deal with her pregnancy symptoms, well into the fourth trimester. Here are seven symptoms that go away the moment baby's born (and 13 that take a while).
20 Right Away: Cravings (But Not Hunger)
Pregnancy hunger is an animal unlike any other. Moms can feel ravenous from the time the embryo begins growing, and as the baby grows, so can the hunger. On top of that, many women experience some pretty off the wall cravings that can have them sending their partner to the grocery store at all hours of the day and night.
But after the birth, the hunger continues but the cravings go away. In fact, many women have a hard time eating in the last few weeks of pregnancy since the baby takes up so much room in the abdomen. And if they are nursing, the body still needs extra nutrition. Usually, though, the desire to fill the grocery cart with one particular food tends to dissipate. It's time to get back to a balanced diet.
19 Right Away: Heartburn
The heartburn can be really intense for moms-to-be. It can start out as a digestion issue that comes with hormones, but by the third trimester, most of the issue comes from the fact that the stomach has been pushed so high in the abdomen due to the growing baby.
But with the birth, the uterus shrinks. It doesn't go back to the original size, and it can take a little while to go back to its new normal. But the stomach is allowed to shift lower down and that means that the acids aren't so close to the throat. Many times heartburn can keep moms-to-be up at night in the eighth and ninth month, but after the birth, it's the baby's job.
18 Right Away: Stuffy Nose
One of the strangest and most unexpected issues that come with pregnancy is the fact that some women get a stuffy nose. It's not related to an illness, so there is nothing that doctors can do to help, but it can be really annoying. Like, we're talking really, really annoying.
The issue comes from swelling in the mucous membranes. And even though blowing the nose won't help, it can make a woman feel like she always needs to have some tissues on hand. Luckily, the shift in hormones after giving birth can make a woman breath easier really quickly.
17 Right Away: Back Pain (Most Of The Time)
Pregnancy back pain is the worst. Many women don't have issues with their back at all until the strain of the baby belly makes it pretty hard to stand upright. The ligaments in the pelvis area get lax during pregnancy, so they can help the hips open up a little to allow for the birth, but that doesn't help with the backaches.
The good news is that, for the most part, the back pain goes away with the birth. The strain on the ligaments might take a little while to heal, especially since breastfeeding hormones can keep them lax. But the belly isn't as heavy, and that can make it a lot easier to get around pain-free. Just watch out for lingering issues and talk to the doctor if necessary.
16 Right Away: Pressure To "Go"
One of the earliest and most annoying issues of pregnancy is when the mom has to run to the bathroom because of the sudden urge to urinate. It starts off in the beginning because of pregnancy hormones, and while it might get better in the second trimester, the sudden urge can get worse in the final months because of the pressure on the bladder from the baby.
When the baby is born, thankfully, that means he is no longer sitting on mom's bladder. That usually means she gets a little more notice before she has to take off for the restroom. But there are other bathroom issues that might remain for a while, and we'll get into that in a little bit.
15 Right Away: Nausea
Pregnancy is kind of synonymous with nausea. That's because of the bad reputation that morning sickness has given to the experience, and while many women deal with their worst issues in the first trimester, some have to deal with the nauseated feeling for the entire pregnancy. And others experience some nausea during the labour and delivery, especially during the transition phase.
Luckily, the feeling usually goes away with the birth of the baby. That's good news for women who have struggled for nine months, especially, but all moms should celebrate it. Some women might experience some nausea due to medications during birth, but that feeling should go away quickly as well. Pretty soon, it'll all be a distant memory.
14 Right Away: Itching
Pregnancy can be a really itchy time for a woman. While some women end up with severe issues brought on by liver issues, most moms-to-be end up having some problems with itchiness as their baby bump grows and the skin stretches. The good news is that annoyance goes away as soon as the baby is delivered.
While most of the time the baby bump is still around, it isn't as full and stretched out once the baby is out. That allows the skin to get some relief and the mom to stop having an urge to scratch. Women with liver issues often get better pretty quickly too, so that means that the itchy annoyance is over.
13 Take A While: The Baby Bump
Some women think that once the baby is out, the baby bump will be gone. But it can actually take a while for it to go down. There are lots of celebrities who seem to have flat stomachs within days, but most women leave the hospital still appearing as if they are about six months pregnant.
Part of that is because the uterus shrinks a lot in the hours after birth but it still takes weeks to get close to its pre-pregnancy size (it'll never be all the way back, though- sorry!). Plus, a lot of women pack on extra pounds, and it takes a bit for all of the extra water and blood that the body develops during pregnancy to go back down.
It can take some women up to a year to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, and even then, their body shape may never be the same.
12 Take A While: Contractions
Moms expect that giving birth means the end of their contractions, but that isn't always the case. Even after the placenta is delivered, a lot of women experience contractions for days or even weeks after the birth.
The contractions are part of the natural reaction that causes the uterus to shrink back to the size of a fist. The pains can be pretty sharp, although second-time moms are more likely to have severe pains than first-timers. The contractions can come when the mom nurses, too, since that can stimulate the uterus.
It isn't fun to have contractions again, but they usually aren't as severe as labor and they will go away for good soon.
11 Take A While: Hair And Nail Changes
This part of the list is a lot more negative than the rest. That's because pregnancy actually has a positive impact on women's hair and nails. But unfortunately, that goes away after the birth — just not right away.
Women stop shedding their hair during pregnancy, so they often end up with lush, thick locks. But about a month after the delivery, the hormones that help the hair go away and some women find their hair coming out in clumps. The same can be true for nails, although they usually don't fall off, they just get less thick.
It's a sad day when these pregnancy perks go away.
10 Take A While: Swelling
All moms-to-be retain water during pregnancy, but some women can swell a lot during the last few months of pregnancy. Many times the swelling happens in the feet at the end of the day, but some women can see it in their face and really everywhere. It can be a sign of a problem if the swelling goes up dramatically in a short time, but the truth is that pretty much all moms swell even further after the birth.
That's because the extra water retained during pregnancy has to go. That means that a mom's legs might look like tree trunks for a few weeks. And the water often comes out in the form of night sweats that can go on for a couple of months. It's not really fun, as this issue usually gets worse before it gets better.
9 Take A While: Dry Eyes
This is an issue that some women might not even notice, but others could have a problem with dry eyes, even when they are retaining water everywhere else. It's an issue that could cause some women to have to forego their contacts during pregnancy, and it could be painful as well as irritating.
But women hoping to go back to contacts after the birth may have to wait a while. It can take time for the moisture levels to return, although some women might have to use eye drops for the rest of their lives. It might be annoying, but most moms agree that the baby is worth a few artificial tears.
8 Take A While: Incontinence
As we've already mentioned, after the birth, the baby is no longer sitting on mom's bladder, and that can make a big difference in feeling a quick urge to go to the bathroom. But many new moms still have accidents, especially in the first few months after giving birth.
The pelvic floor can be damaged during the delivery, and moms might need to get help from the doctor if they end up leaking when they sneeze, run, or something similar. They might not feel an urge at all before their pants get wet, and that can lead to embarrassing situations. Kegel exercises might help, but sometimes it goes even further and interventions are needed.
7 Take A While: Bodily Changes
Another really early pregnancy symptom moms can experience is changes in their chest that can cause them to burst right out of their shirts just weeks after conceiving a baby. But changes come and go for months during the pregnancy and after the birth, as well, and the girls may never look the same again.
Postpartum hormones bring all new changes to a woman's top. A mom might gain a cup size or two, as her body starts making milk. Whether she nurses or not, her girls can get engorged, and she will need to take care of it one way or another. Sometimes the girls never go back to their original size after nursing. The changes might just last forever.
6 Take A While: Hemorrhoids
Lots of pregnancy symptoms are pretty painful, and most of the worst can go away after giving birth. But unfortunately, hemorrhoids don't usually dissipate so quickly. The issue can come from swollen blood vessels, which happen because of the excess blood that builds in a mom-to-be's body. Plus, a slowed digestion can cause her to push hard and the vessels to protrude.
Hemorrhoids can actually get worse after the delivery since pushing the baby out can cause them to get inflamed all over again. It might be a while after the birth before things heal in that area, so be sure to be gentle with yourself.
5 Take A While: Stretch Marks
A lot of moms worry about stretch marks, thinking they might mar their bikini body forever. Usually, they do get better — although it might take time.
Stretch marks can get pretty dark, usually purplish or red. Some women get them at all, while others might get them on their bellies and bottom and top, even if they don't gain much weight.
The stretch marks and the baby bump won't necessarily disappear together. The marks might stay around a really long time, even after the mom loses the baby weight and even with the use of lotions and such. How a mom's body reacts is genetic. Over time, though, most of the time the redness goes away, and the mom might not even notice the marks anymore.
4 Take A While: Normal Periods
For nine months, moms get a break from their periods while pregnant. And the good news is that it might still be a while before they return.
Moms will have to deal with a big discharge after birth that seems like a period on steroids and might last for six weeks. But after that, they could get another big break before they have to break out the tampons.
The return of a period comes differently for everyone and sometimes it's different for each baby. For example, some women who breastfeed might not have a period until after they wean. But moms do need to keep in mind that they ovulate before their period arrives, which might mean that they could get pregnant before they expect it.
3 Take A While: High Blood Pressure (If A Problem)
There are a lot of pregnancy complications that go away quickly after giving birth, but some of them remain for a bit. That is true for women who suffer from high blood pressure, which can impact be dangerous for the mother's health and could lead to issues with the baby. Some women have elevated blood pressure for weeks, while others have a spike at the end of pregnancy, which could be a sign of preeclampsia.
Many women know that delivering the baby might be the only way to solve the problem, but many times the issue doesn't resolve right away. It can take some time, and possibly some medication. Preeclampsia might continue after the birth, so moms need to be observed closely so that they can return to health as quickly as possible.
2 Take A While: Bathroom Issues
During pregnancy, a woman's digestion can slow down. That can lead to issues in the bathroom, including constipation. And that can persist for a little while after the birth. That first week after the birth, moms need to be warned that it could be painful.
Many women get cleaned out before they give birth, and medications for labour and pain meds after C-sections might make things worse. Doctors recommend that moms start taking laxatives right away after giving birth, but even then that first time can be very difficult. And if a mom is torn down there, the bathroom will be a mom's worst nightmare.
1 Take A While: Hormonal Ups and Downs
The hormonal roller coaster of pregnancy can be really crazy. Moms-to-be might spend one moment happy and the next really angry. Watching movies — or even commercials — can end in tears, and the moods can be even more extreme than before. Some dads might think they can't wait to see the roller coaster end, but they might be disappointed when the baby's delivery isn't the last stop.
In fact, the hormones change again after the birth, setting moms off on an entirely different track. The hormone shifts that happen in the postpartum period can be so severe that some women end up with depression, OCD, or other issues related to the changes.
Moms and their family members need to be aware of the potential for serious issues in the postpartum period, and they should seek help if they need it. It's normal, and eventually, the symptoms will go away. It just might take a little longer than people expect.