OB ABCs

Month 3

month_03You experienced a wide variety of body changes during pregnancy. Now that you’ve given birth, what other changes can you expect?

You experienced a wide variety of body changes during pregnancy. Now that you’ve given birth, what other changes can you expect?

Skin and Hair

After pregnancy, you may notice excessive hair loss—but don’t be alarmed. Elevated hormone levels stop normal hair loss during pregnancy, and after giving birth you can shed the additional hair all at once.

Stretch marks from pregnancy will often fade from reddish colors to white or silver after you give birth. Also, linea nigra, or a dark line down your abdomen, may fade as well.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

Some women may experience excessive sweating after they give birth. As the body’s hormones fluctuate, you may purge more fluids this way—and it’s a normal occurrence.

However, if sweating accompanies fluctuating weight gain or loss, talk with your physician about postpartum thyroiditis. A condition that affects about five to 10 of every 100 women who give birth, postpartum thyroiditis occurs when the thyroid produces either too much or too little of the thyroid hormones. Women with an immune disorder, such as diabetes, or family history of thyroid problems may be at greater risk.

Muscle Power

Just as women need to exercise their abdominal muscles after giving birth, the pelvic muscles surrounding the vagina, rectum and urethra need to be strengthened as well. An exercise known as Kegels can restore strength to the pelvic floor muscles, which in turn support the bladder, bowel and uterus, and reduce your risk of urinary incontinence. You may have learned this exercise in childbirth preparation classes.

Your physician can help you identify the right muscles and teach you how to most effectively perform Kegels to strengthen pelvic muscles and avoid urinary incontinence.

Tidbits

  • Women have unique exercise needs and limitations following giving birth. Ask your hospital or fitness center about postpartum exercise classes specifically geared toward helping new moms. These programs offer the added benefit of getting to meet other new moms going through similar joys and challenges as you.
  • While you may have skipped the water bottle before, hydration is a practice you cannot afford to ignore when exercising post-pregnancy. Because dehydration can slow breast milk production, drink water before, during and after exercise as a means to replace lost water due to sweating.