From your feet becoming longer to sometimes even your hair color getting lighter, there is a lot that changes in a woman's body.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 22, 2020. It has since been updated.
As a woman grows older and evolves, she experiences tons of changes that would bring a lesser person to their knees. You've had to survive painful periods, pregnancy, childbirth and so much more — moments that have changed your mind and body forever. Yet, the beauty inside that is born from your strength never faded. However, while you may shine and be the rock for your loved ones, there are some changes that they might not have known about as you went through childbirth. These are the five most prominent ones:
Yes, you heard that right. According to Dr. Hope Ricciotti, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, on WebMD, after the "baby is born, [you] may have a permanently different shoe size.” She explains that the weight you put on during pregnancy "may flatten the arch of your foot. With the arch flattened you might find that you need an extra half-inch larger shoe size to be comfortable.” Dr. Silvana Ribaudo, an obstetrician at Columbia Medical Center, New York, mentions that hormones could play a role as well, especially one called relaxin. "It does just what it sounds like,” Dr. Ribaudo says. “It relaxes the muscle ligaments in your body to help prepare you for childbirth, but it’s not exclusive to your pelvic area. It also affects the rest of your body, including your feet.” So with the pressure and the hormones, you might need to be looking for a larger shoe size.
During pregnancy, your hair becomes denser and more lustrous due to the increase in hormones during that time. “Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy support hair growth and prevent the typical shedding we experience when not pregnant,” said Dr. Susan Smarr, an ob-gyn at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, California, according to Health.com. But once your hormone levels return to normal after giving birth, you might experience heavier hair loss. “It’s important that women know to expect this increased amount of hair loss, so they don’t get concerned that something abnormal is happening,” she said.
During pregnancy and right before childbirth, your ribcage expands to accommodate the fetus. Additionally, your hips expand as well in order to provide an easier and smoother exit down the birth canal. However, after giving birth, your ribs and hips may not shift back to where they used to be, thus causing you to have wider hips and a wider chest area, states Health.com.
These are not drastic changes but you may experience it. Due to the varying levels of hormones in your body, the level of melanin changes. To make it easier to understand the role it plays in changing hair color as well as eye color to some extent, here is the definition by Medical News: It is "responsible for determining skin and hair colour and is present in the skin to varying degrees, depending on how much a population has been exposed to the sun historically." This means that post-childbirth, due to the fluctuation of melanin in the body, it can cause you to have lighter or darker shades of her eye color and cause greying hair which may remain permanent, according to 20 20 Onsite and Romper.
According to Medical News Today, the hormonal fluctuations in your body can cause an increase in postpartum night sweats. This can be caused due to low levels of estrogen which is because your body has to adjust to not being pregnant anymore. Additionally, it can be caused by the release of progesterone as well which can lead to an increase or decrease in body temperature. You may also sweat more after pregnancy to get rid of excess fluid. According to the American Pregnancy Association, your body takes on 50 percent more blood and bodily fluid during pregnancy to support the baby's growth. So after birth, you need to get rid of that fluid and it comes out as sweat.
If you notice any of these changes in excess, then please visit your doctor to rule out any other complication.