If you're close to giving birth and excited about the next stage in your life, then you might not be quite as excited once you learn what could happen to your body. We realize not all women will experience the same post-pregnancy side effects, but isn't it better to be forewarned so you're not blindsided?
"I grew a snout. Seriously, my nose changed shaped, and now I look like Miss Piggy. I thought it would return to normal after birth, but it hasn't."
Rhinitis of pregnancy is caused by hormone changes; an increase in estrogen can cause the nose to widen. WebMD.com reports that this can occur during the second month of pregnancy but that it usually returns to normal after giving birth. It is accompanied by a stuffy nose and nosebleeds that don't go away with the use of antihistamines.
Nothing during pregnancy, and though it is unusual for the nose to not return to normal after childbirth, it can happen. If losing your pregnancy weight does not return your nose to the same as it was before being pregnant, Seattle facial plastic surgeon Dr. William Portuese suggests that rhinoplasty might be needed to improve the aesthetics of the nose.
"Mosquitoes never bothered me, and now I'm a magnet for them."
One in 10 people is extremely attractive to mosquitoes, and mosquitoes are even more attracted to larger people. Technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, Joe Colon, Ph.D., says that scientists believe mosquitoes are lured by the scent of carbon dioxide. "Any carbon dioxide is attractive, even over a long distance." Research has discovered that larger people emit more carbon dioxide, and if you are pregnant, the amount of carbon dioxide you expel increases.
Slather yourself in insect repellent, but if you're worried about the chemical ingredients used in such products, opt for a natural repellent like lemon eucalyptus oil, which has longer-lasting effects than the more widely used citronella or peppermint.
"I felt like my insides were dropping out through my vadge. The doctor told me it's [a] slight prolapse, but it just doesn't feel right, and sex really hurts."
After giving birth, your bladder, bowel and uterus can drop down into the vagina instead of sitting where they should. They might protrude from the vaginal area, causing a bulge and the sensation that your bits are going to fall out. It is caused by weakened muscles that hold the uterus in place. The Mayo Clinic reports that your risks increase if you are older, have had more than one vaginal birth or have given birth to a big baby.
For mild cases, doctors suggest self-care at home, meaning working out your pelvic floor muscles, maintaining a healthy weight and not lifting anything too heavy. A vaginal pessary — a contraption you insert — can be worn to hold everything in place. Surgical correction will help with more severe cases.
"It's been four years since I gave birth to my daughter by C-section. I can't wear tight jeans or anything that presses on my stomach because my C-section scar still hurts. It is incredibly painful at times."
OB/GYN and pain medicine physician Dr. Jennifer Gunter reports that 1 to 3 per cent of women will experience persistent post C-section nerve pain. "Nerve pain does not imply that anything was done incorrectly at the time of surgery. Surgery is injury, and unfortunately, as surgeons cut tissues, we also cut the small nerves in the skin... That is what produces the weird numbness or strange feelings that you have over a scar that can sometimes persist for years."
There are numerous things you can try to prevent the pain. The simple measures Dr. Gunter suggests include losing weight — as having a belly that overhangs can place pressure on the nerves — relieving stress and anxiety and applying topical numbing cream or prescribed steroids that act as nerve blockers.
If you have any medical symptoms you are concerned about, we recommend you contact your doctor.
"I developed scaly lizard skin on my nipples which I had to scratch off with my fingernails before I could breastfeed."
Peeling and flaking nipples can be caused by dry skin or irritation from breastfeeding or from using a breast pump. OB/GYN Dr. Jane Van Dis believes it is because your metabolism is in super drive, providing energy and nutrition for your baby.
Keep hydrated, and try using a moisturizer. If that doesn't help, you could have a form of dermatitis or eczema that might require treatment from a steroid cream. Ignoring this problem can result in cracked and painful nipples that bleed.
Have you had any strange post-pregnancy body changes?
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