Pregnancy and childbirth transforms our body in a multitude of ways. Besides weight gain, there are several unexpected ways our body can change after each pregnancy. However, these changes can vary for one mum to another.
Personally, no one told me about MAJORITY of them! What about you?
Thus, here’s a little heads-up to pregnant mamas on how things may look and feel different. There are ways to deal with them! Fingers crossed, of course!
Surprising and unexpected body changes after pregnancy new mums should know!
1) Pubic Symphysis or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
When I was diagnosed with Pubic Symphysis after delivering my second child, this was a SHOCK for me as I’ve NEVER heard of this condition. The excruciating shooting pain struck me after a natural vaginal birth when I was trying to get off the hospital bed. Moving my legs was horrible due to the sharp pelvic pain. Felt like I was paralysed waist-down!
What causes Pubic Symphysis pain? Thanks to the relaxin hormone, which helps to relax our ligaments in the joint between our left and right pelvic bones in anticipation for the delivery of baby. However, pushing to get baby out adds pressure to that region. For me, it could be a mix of the size of my baby’s shoulders/head and the pushing pressure that left me with this major discomfort. However, SPD can also occur when pregnant. Mums who experience it during pregnancy may feel the weight of their baby pressing onto their pelvic/groin area. This makes walking, standing, getting in and out of a car/bed difficult. Read this to find out how I managed to recover from Pubic Symphysis.
2) Postpartum Constipation
I’m embarrassed to say that while I had pregnancy constipation, this annoying bowel issue worsened after childbirth. Although it’s normal that digestion becomes sluggish – I was also given pregnancy-safe laxatives to help move things. Why is it so hard to poop normally after pregnancy? Weak abdominal muscles (is it my DR??), pregnancy supplements and dehydration make stools hard.
Some may also attribute constipation to iron supplements – I had low iron levels, and took my iron-boosting drink to improve it when iron pills didn’t work for me. After birth, things were “hard” for a few weeks into my confinement.
How to deal with postpartum constipation? Eat prunes, papaya, yogurt or probiotics that tackle gut health. Drink lots of fluids. Massage the tummy area.
Sneeze, cough, exercise and leak pee? It’s not only affecting seniors but postpartum mums too. It’s more common than we think, and it can get pretty embarrassing. There are 5 types of incontinence – Stress Incontinence means involuntary leaking, usually resulting from pregnancy.
How to fix postpartum incontinence? Non-surgical treatment methods include doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Alternatively, mums can rely on technology like the Emsella chair which uses HIFEM technology to enable over 11,000 supramaximal pelvic floor muscle contractions to re-educate the muscles in just 30 minutes.
4) Diastasis Recti – separated rectus abdominis muscles
This must have been like a sleeping time bomb for me. I was diagnosed with Diastasis Recti (DR) after pregnancy back in 2018. That means 5 years after becoming a mother; 2 years after delivering my second child! You can read about how I accidentally found out about my DR condition and what I’ve been doing to close my DR gap without surgery years after my children were born. The bigger belly area aka mum tum is probably the most obvious and stubborn body transformation!
Improvements after fixing my Diastasis Recti: Almost zero backaches, except when period’s approaching! I can walk for hours without feeling the nagging aches at my lower back. That’s the most significant improvement after treating my DR, I must say! The next thing I did? Start exercising! With Diastasis Recti, there are exercises to avoid so that the split abdominal muscles don’t deteriorate further.
***If you suspect that your weak core muscles could be due to Diastasis Recti, schedule a body assessment to find out. This 3-point assessment reviews postpartum body conditions e.g. Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation or ‘Mummy Tummy’), Pelvic Floor conditions (e.g. incontinence) and Vulva/Vaginal Laxity. Receive a Self Care Gift (worth $200) from me if you’ve mentioned my name (Cindy Gan) or @deedeedee13 / The Hooting Post when you attend the assessment or sign up for a treatment plan at Orchard Clinic :) Simply send me a DM over Instagram / email me to let me know and I’ll make the arrangements!
5) Umbilical Hernia
Didn’t know I have umbilical hernia, until my therapists at Orchard Clinic mentioned. My crater has been with me since my firstborn, so I’ve always thought my unsightly naval bulge was a result of baking babies and stretched skin. Did you know that babies can have umbilical hernia too?
What causes umbilical hernia in adults? Straining when pushing or lifting heavy things. An umbilical hernia occurs when a part of your intestine bulges through the opening in your abdominal muscles (I guess this must be my Diastasis Recti gap. Sob.) near your belly button. How to treat umbilical hernia? Well, it’s harmless but it most likely wouldn’t disappear. Surgery is the only option to tackle that bulge.
6) Linea Nigra aka Pregnancy Line
This dark vertical pregnancy line shows up on our huge baby bumps when pregnant. For most of us, it usually fades away from our belly within 3 months after childbirth. It’s harmless, and is a result of the increase in melanin production (thanks again, pregnancy hormones!), which causes that line to darken. No cause for concerns.
7) Ever-changing Boobs Sizes – body changes after pregnancy
Did your bosom buddies upsize during pregnancy? Pretty sure they got fuller too during your breastfeeding period. Engorgement days were a mix of discomfort and wow-ness for me, when I was nursing my 2 bubs. HA! So, what happens to our breasts once we stop breastfeeding? Well, after-pregnancy boob size changes! Some of us may return to pre-pregnant sizes, some of us lose volume/fats and downsize, while others meet sagginess. #truthsnoonetoldus
Some of these are permanent body changes after pregnancy. Others can be improved or fixed to revert to almost pre-pregnancy condition. Whatever we have experienced or are seeing right now, the most important thing is to take charge of our health. If you don’t like the new changes, find out what can be done especially if it affects your life or health.
Here’s to a happier and healthier YOU, ladies! :)
Mummies, did you notice other changes in your body after pregnancy? Leave a comment below to share with fellow mums :)