After 9 long months of anticipating one of life’s greatest blessings, there should be no excuse for any mother – even first time moms – not to have an idea on what to expect during and after giving birth. While it is common knowledge that it involves a tremendous amount of pain and may lead to physical symptoms that may linger for weeks, there are a few more surprises that could occur after giving birth. Don’t worry; these unexpected changes are not beyond manageable.
Don’t wait until you’re already lying in the hospital mattress. When it comes to family, there is no such thing as too much planning, which is why it is important to consider all possibilities and practice preparedness.
#1: Increased Automatic Lactation
During pregnancy, you may have experienced occasional ‘leaks’. But a lot of women experience them more frequently after giving birth. It can happen anywhere – while taking a shower, watching TV, talking with friends, and so on. So be prepared to always have a jacket or extra shirt ready to avoid embarrassing situations. Aside from being inconvenient, sometimes automatic lactation is associated with breast pains.
An effective way to reduce and eventually eliminate unexpected lactations is to breastfeed. Naturally, a mother should produce milk when being stimulated in a breastfeeding scenario. But new mothers might take some time before their body adapts to this trigger. Plus, the facilitation of breastfeeding is also quite important for all GDM (gestational diabetes mellitus) mothers after delivery. If you have any concerns with taking your medicine for diabetes, it is best to consult with your doctor.
#2: Dental Problems
A lot of mothers experience a decrease in the integrity of their bone health during lactation periods. In addition to the occasional aches they might feel on the pelvis, legs, lower back, and so on, they may also experience swollen or bleeding gums. Evidence shows that a 3-5% loss in bone density may be experienced by lactating mothers since their babies require a lot of calcium for proper growth and development.
While losing a tooth due to the lowered levels of calcium rarely occurs, it is still a possibility that can easily be prevented by having a calcium-enriched diet. Consuming more calcium will also help decrease the likelihood of getting pains associated with motherhood. A tip for moms experiencing symptoms of dental problems: get your calcium from food and not from supplements! A recommended daily intake of calcium is at least 1,000 milligrams.
#3: Bigger Feet
Carrying extra weight that’s centered on your pelvis for 9 months will cause more than just pains in your lower back. It may also flatten your feet to a point where you’ll need a bigger shoe size. At least, that’s how doctors explain the numerous reports of women claiming that their feet grew larger after pregnancy. And although it is not particularly harmful, your feet’s new size is likely to be permanent, which can be annoying especially if you have a collection of shoes.
While the increase in your feet’s size will stay with you for life, the same cannot be said for your breasts. It is common for mothers to ‘sag’ in about a week; thanks to the stretched skin. And the more the breasts are stretched, the more visible the sag will be.
#4: Various Effects of Hormonal Turmoil
Oftentimes, the hormonal changes experienced after giving birth are significantly bigger than previously anticipated. These changes may affect the mother’s body in a variety of ways not only emotionally, but physically and psychologically as well. It can lead to random emotions such as sudden sadness and confusion. Hopefully, the hormonal changes aren’t big enough to lead to postpartum depression.
Another condition that may arise due to hormonal changes is the sudden increase in falling hair. Do not be alarmed if you see a lot of hair in the bathroom sink. They are simply reacting to the plunging levels of estrogen, which should’ve increased during pregnancy. However, it may take up to 12 months – sometimes more – for your hair to regain its thick state.
#5: Vaginal Pain with Odor
After experiencing a ton of stress from childbirth, it shouldn’t be too surprising to feel a few changes in a woman’s extremities. The most common one would be the sensation of dryness and pains. You may also experience a discharge of blood or lochia, which contains bacteria and leftover tissues from the uterus.
While the symptoms above are normal, some women might experience prolonged pains and odor that could indicate a postpartum infection. Keep in mind that it is possible for these symptoms to suddenly appear days or weeks after delivery, so don’t take vaginal pains lightly.
Ianna Reign Stevenson is a professional writer based in London, England. She is a young mother of a three year old toddler and a physical therapist by profession. Connect with her on Twitter.