Rosy pink cheeks and tiny feet that go into tiny little booties: Suddenly all the worldly problems fade into fuzzy happy memories and the world couldn’t be more perfect. These are the feelings we’d like to associate with new born babies but there’s a catch, it’s not all fluffy toys and happy mobile songs.
There’s nothing more miraculous than a baby – they’re the epitome of perfection. There are books that prepare you, breathing tips and exercises from A to B that all lead up to baby being born and then the story ends happily with pink feet in the nursery. Now as all mothers would know this is unfortunately not the ending of the story. In fact pregnancy itself is a tremendous strain on your body, mentally and physically, and you should be prepared for what comes after giving birth.
Let’s start from the bottom up shall we
It’s not uncommon for your feet to swell up during pregnancy. Hope Ricciotti, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School and a practicing obstetrician at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston says “A woman’s feet swell during pregnancy, but after her baby is born, she may have a permanently different shoe size.”
It’s no secret that women experience that pregnancy glow. They have the perfect skin and perfect thick glossy hair. Silvana Ribaudo, MD, an obstetrician at Columbia Medical Center in New York says that during pregnancy high estrogen levels keep you hair thick and beautiful or from falling out otherwise. Thus after your pregnancy your estrogen levels will return back to normal which might cause your body to shed more hair than usual. Don’t worry you’re not going bald, this is a natural process. This usually happens four to five months after your pregnancy. The good news is, it is temporary.
You will lose your figure:
Your baby belly won’t disappear immediately, no amount of sit-ups, remedies or standing upside down is going to help. It takes time and it takes copious amounts of rest. If you are too eager you can injure yourself.
Your body is also being pushed to the max and you have to be prepared for the hardest and the worst of scenarios. A friend of mine told me about a single mother who deliver a 4kg baby; the delivery was so extreme that she broke her pelvis! Now with a new born in the house the mother can’t really do much. She’s been receiving a lot of support from her friends and family but it is going to take tremendous amounts of physical therapy for her to get back on her feet.
Know the risks and make sure you have a support system.
It’s something called the “Baby Blues” otherwise known as Postpartum Disorder. It affects women’s metal state of health and according to Mental Health America it’s caused by high hormonal fluctuations that occur during and after childbirth. “Baby Blues” are very common, it’s estimated that about 80% of new mothers are diagnosed with it and it lasts usually four to five days after delivery
Postpartum Depression on the other hand can be much more severe and is a major form of depression. It’s less common than “baby blues” with symptoms identical to that of clinical depression, only difference is it’s usually caused by the stress of a new baby or giving birth. PPD can last for up to a year and is found in about 10-20% of new mothers.
The symptoms can also include specific fears such as excessive preoccupation with the child’s health or intrusive thoughts of harming the baby. It can sometimes lead to the mother having to be hospitalised.
“It can take up to a year for you to feel like you are really back in the mood for sex,” says Dr Ricciotti. A new baby is something spectacular but it puts strain on a relationship. Your Hormone levels are off the charts and you have 80% chance of falling into a depressing state as mentioned above. Combine this with the stress of everyday life and sleep deprivations and you have a nuclear bomb on your hands.
It’s an adjustment and it can usually take up to year for things to settle back into their normal routine. “Estrogen levels rise during pregnancy, and fall abruptly after you give birth,” says Dr Ribaudo. “The change in estrogen levels means a woman’s sex drive is probably pretty low. It rebounds, but it does take time.” Good news is of you weather the storm you get to enjoy the rainbow at the end.
It’s miraculous this thing they call pregnancy, but I believe the true miracle lies within the moms who bounce back!