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5 Things no one tells you about your body after pregnancy

Leigh-Anne works full time in communications but in her spare time is a freelance writer who covers just about every subject under the sun from celebrity babies to Zumba classes. A self-confessed chocoholic, extremely uncoordinated, real...

Post-pregnancy truth exposed

From SheKnows Canada
Strange things can happen to your body after birth that nobody bothered to tell you about. If you knew the truth, you would cross your legs and double up your birth control. Our readers confess their post-pregnancy horror stories in this intimate tell-all.
Pregnant woman with teddy | Sheknows.ca

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?

1

"I grew a snout..."

"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."

Why does this happen?

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.

What can be done about it?

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.

2

"I'm a mosquito magnet..."

"Mosquitoes never bothered me, and now I'm a magnet for them."

Why does this happen?

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.

What can be done about it?

Dead mosquito | Sheknows.ca

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.

3

"My inside bits turned inside out..."

"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."

Why does this happen?

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.

What can be done about it?

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.

Find out more post-pregnancy issues you might be faced with >>

4

"C-section scar still hurts..."

"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."

What you should know about an elective C-section >>

Why does this happen?

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."

What can be done about it?

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.

5

"I got scaly lizard skin on my nipples..."

"I developed scaly lizard skin on my nipples which I had to scratch off with my fingernails before I could breastfeed."

Why does this happen?

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.

What can be done about it?

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.

Tell Us:

Have you had any strange post-pregnancy body changes?

More on pregnancy

How to tell if it's postpartum depression
10 Pregnancy myths debunked
4 Best sex positions after pregnancy

Photos courtesy of sodapix sodapix / Getty Images and View Stock / Getty Images
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