“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of?friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” ?- Oliver Wendell Holmes, American author
Becoming a mother can be one of the most selfless and loving gestures a woman makes. In the course of bringing new life into the world, a woman experiences a host of physical and emotional changes, some of which may be long-lasting and undesired.
The body undergoes many transformations while pregnant. Woman must sacrifice some control over their bodies throughout a pregnancy, a sacrifice most are not accustomed to.
There are a number of things that take place that can surprise the average person. Here’s a look at some of them.
• Mood swings: Pregnancy brings with it great hormonal changes as the body manufacturers the chemical messengers necessary to transform an egg into full-formed human being. It is common to experience mood swings as a result of these fluctuating hormones. One moment a woman may want to cry while the other she is overjoyed. Mood swings are often the butt of jokes regarding pregnant women.
• Change in bra size: In addition to swelling breasts, thanks to progesterone and estrogen levels, a pregnant woman’s rib cage actually can expand. That’s because the lungs need to take in more oxygen to accommodate both Mom and baby. As a result, it may be necessary to be resized for a bra several times.
• Hair changes: Women may find hair grows faster during pregnancy. This can once again be attributed to hormones in addition to the prenatal vitamins most women are urged to take. Also, hair may grow on unwanted places, like breasts and the belly.
• Skin discoloration: Hormones may cause the skin to produce more pigment, and not necessarily in even tones. Women may experience the “mask of pregnancy,” which is uneven pigmentation on the face. Other areas of the body can become blotchy or darker. On the bright side, pregnancy is known to stimulate extra blood flow, which can produce the side effect of rosier skin and the “pregnancy glow.”
• Widening hips: A woman’s hips will widen to accommodate the baby during delivery. This is called pelvic separation. In addition, the joints and ligaments may loosen and the back might be more susceptible to injury. So women should use caution when lifting. Also, while the looser ligaments and widened hips may firm up and return to their original position over time, some women find their pelvis may never return to its exact pre-pregnancy shape. That could mean accepting a new pant size.
• Larger feet: Swelling and fluid collection often cause the feet to become larger. This may remedy itself postpartum. Some women simply find their feet are larger for the duration.
• Hair loss: After giving birth, a woman’s hair actually may fall out or change in texture. It’s not uncommon for wavy hair to turn straight.
• Incontinence: While a new mom is changing her baby’s diaper, she may need to wear one of her own. That’s because pressure and strain to the pelvic area can compromise the pelvic floor muscles that staunch and start the flow of urine. This may improve over time, or Kegel exercises can be done to strengthen the area again.