Pregnancy comes with its own set of changes as your body becomes a nurturing space for your growing baby. Hormones released during pregnancy result in glowing skin, longer and fuller hair, longer nails, and more. And then, after you have your baby there are more changes, but for some women, the effects aren’t so glamourous. It’s me! I am one of those women where the drastic decline of hormones during the postpartum period, and the effects of my second vaginal delivery resulted in some not so pretty postpartum symptoms. While everyone’s experiences are different, I find it’s helpful for women to read stories that truly express what a woman’s body is like after giving birth. In this post, I get real about my postpartum symptoms.
No Bladder Control
While pregnant, I was diligent about keeping up with my Kegels because I know how important it is for easier vaginal deliveries and recovery. But nothing could prepare me for the lack of bladder control I would experience postpartum. I remember the day after giving birth, feeling the urge to pee, and as soon as I got out of the hospital bed, the pee just started to flow. Nothing I did stopped it. Let’s just say that I was thankful for the bulky hospital pads.
Related: Vaginal Delivery? Here is a List of Postpartum Must-Haves
Tip: Do pelvic floor exercises. If incontinence is long-term, inform your healthcare provider because you may need physical therapy.
Postpartum Hair Loss
I know you’ve read stories about this postpartum symptom. Yes, hair loss after pregnancy is real thanks to the rapid decline in estrogen levels after giving birth. Yes, I was lucky enough to experience it twice. However, this time around postpartum hair loss and shedding weren’t as bad as the previous time. I lost a lot of the hair along my hairline starting during month three.
Tip: Wear your hair in styles that do not place tension on your hair (pulled back ponytails, braids, etc.). Keep your hair conditioned and moisturized.
People say when you’re pregnant with a girl, you lose your looks. But this time around it was different for me. My face barely changed. During this last pregnancy, my skin glowed. I didn’t experience any hormonal breakouts. It was amazing. As soon as the hormone shift began, I started to break out. My skin became dry and I started getting moles on almost every part of my body. I have moles under my arm, on my breasts, and neck. For the most part, they’re small, but some are raised which is annoying.
Tip: For moles, see a dermatologist. To improve hydration in postpartum skin, drink lots of water and use products hydrating skincare products. I switched up my skincare routine to a modified Korean beauty regimen. It includes breastfeeding-friendly skincare with hyaluronic acids, Vitamin C serums, and layers of moisturizers. Always consult with your healthcare provider when changing skincare products, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
With my oldest, one of the postpartum symptoms I experienced was joint pain. Specifically, I had pain in my knees. This time around, my right hip was sore up until about eight months postpartum. This pain made it hard to sleep in a comfortable position.
Tip: Stretch as often as you can. Massage the areas. Make sure your Calcium and Vitamin D levels are where they should be. Magnesium also helps.
Apparently, being gassy after you have a baby is a common symptom, especially if you have a pelvic injury (see above regarding pelvic pain). I don’t recall this happening previously. But that could be because that was nine years ago. Yeah, I’m walking through the house farting up a storm! I can’t help it because it just slips out.
Again, here come the hormones messing everything up including the scents emanating from my armpits. I use natural deodorants and it didn’t help. My armpits would smell like onions within just a few hours of showering. It was gross. I didn’t experience this after having my oldest daughter so this was new to me.
Tip: Eat clean. Eating unprocessed foods can help get your hormones back on track. I’ve begun eating my favorite Whole30 meals. I’ve noticed the odor has lessened.