One of the woman’s greatest joys and achievements in life is to give birth to a human being. There is no doubt that having a child is a wonderful experience. However, the majority of women didn’t know that pregnancy and giving birth changes you not only emotionally but also physically. Most often, you hear women complain about how they no longer look the same after they gave birth. The majority of the changes that happened during pregnancy are caused by hormones.
How Pregnancy And Childbirth Affects Hormones
Technically, a woman’s body produces a wide range of hormones during pregnancy to maintain it during pregnancy and sustain it during childbirth. The effects of these hormones have an impact on your body and in your everyday activities post-pregnancy. For example, Relaxin is a hormone released by the woman’s placenta, ovaries, and the uterine lining during the entire pregnancy period.
It prevents the contraction of muscles during the first two semesters of pregnancy. Relaxin also prevents premature delivery and ruptures the membranes around the fetus. It also opens and softens the cervix and the vagina and relaxes the ligaments of the pelvis to help during labor.
Prolactin is another hormone that stimulates the production of milk in the body and stays in the body as long as you breastfeed. This hormone could influence your immune system, metabolism, behavior, and fluids regulation. Prolactin is the obvious culprit of the water retention or edema and mood swings very common to women after they give birth.
Another hormone that plays a major role in breastfeeding and labor is Oxytocin. It stimulates the uterine muscle to contract and promotes the movement of milk into the breast. Most recent studies found that Oxytocin is crucial in one’s social behavior. It is responsible for anxiety, sexual arousal, trust, and recognition.
It is more popularly known as the love hormone and is responsible for the mother-infant bond. Most women feel unattractive and felt that childbirth took away their youthful appearance. While it is true that most of the weird changes in the woman’s body disappears after giving birth, some of them linger and are unfortunately for keeps.
Here are some of the things that may never go back to the way they were before pregnancy.
1. Stomach Skin Stretches Out And Becomes Saggy
For several months you carried another life inside your womb and as it grows inside, your skin will naturally stretch to go along with the expanding size. When you have given birth, the skin on the stomach has already stretched out too much that it has a lesser chance to return to its original appearance. It is like a plastic bag filled beyond its capacity that when you took everything out of the bag, it will not return to its original shape.
There is still a chance that your skin could bounce back after a year or two but the odds are against you and you have to fight against gravity and aging. This means to say that saggy skin is a permanent thing that you could not just remove by diet and exercise. So, even if you can remove the weight that you gained due to pregnancy, saggy skin, unfortunately, is not going away.
Most often, saggy skin is developed along with losing weight. Saggy skin is one of the major reasons why the procedure tummy tuck is popular among women who have had kids, says Dr. William Ross of Mommy Makeover.
2. Ptosis or Sagging Breasts
One of the most depressing effects of pregnancy on women is called Ptosis or sagging of the breasts. The problem is, once the breasts droop they will never stand firm again. The drooping is mainly caused by the stretching of the elastin and ligaments that ensure the fatty tissues are in their proper places, according to the 2008 Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
The bright side about this is that once you have had a baby, breastfeeding will not likely worsen breast sagging. The Annals of Plastic Surgery discovered that women who have been pregnant had more sagging breasts compared to those who had not. Breastfeeding, however, does not cause the worsened droopiness of the breasts like smoking status and weight gain do.
3. Stretch Mark On The Breasts And The Mid-Section
Striae, or stretch marks, are formed when the elastic fibers of your skin break. During pregnancy or when you gain weight, your body grows at a pace that your skin could not keep up with, which causes a stretch mark. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 90 percent of women develop stretch marks starting in the seventh month of their pregnancy.
Just like saggy skin, striae are permanent but there is still a way that it could be removed depending on its location. Dr. William Ross, Mommy Makeover expert from Naples, FL, recommends a breast lift or a tummy tuck could give your body makeover that it deserves. Both of these procedures can also enhance the appearance of stretch marks that could not be removed.
4. Nipples And Areola Become Bigger And Darker
Long with your breast size, the size of your areolae and your nipples naturally increases. These changes in their shapes make it easier for the infant to latch on when they breastfeed. The change in the pigmentation of the nipples and areolas are caused by hormones. These hormones activate the melanocytes or the cells that produce pigment in the skin.
While the dark pigmentation will lighten over time, the size of your areola or nipples will stay the same despite that your breasts have returned to their original size. An areola reduction could be performed if you are too concerned about it.
5. Changes in the Skin
Pregnancy brings all types of skin changes. The linea nigra, for instance, becomes visible. This is the black line or the dark vertical line running over from the belly up to the pubic hair region at the time of pregnancy. Women could also develop melasma or the mask of pregnancy. These are brown blotches that color the face. Moles and freckles could also become darker during pregnancy.
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