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6 Post-Pregnancy Body Changes You Didn't Expect

The top 5 post-pregnancy body changes that you never saw coming.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Jennifer Shu, MD

When you found out you were pregnant, you knew your life was going to change forever! So much to look forward to: bringing your baby home, seeing his first smile, hearing his first coo. 

And you knew your body was in for some changes, too -- gaining weight during pregnancy, bigger breasts, maybe swollen ankles if you stayed on your feet too long. 

But there are some changes that might surprise you. Here are five of them.

1. Sex Drive Dive

If you're not in the mood, you're not alone -- many new mothers see a drop in their sex drives.

"It can take up to a year to feel like you are really back in the mood for sex," says 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. "You are so focused on your child and your family that you have little to no time for yourself, and that includes sex."

You’re also tired and may not have any romantic moments for the first few months after baby is born to even think about the act that conceived your child, she says.

Mix these with estrogen levels that bottom back to normal post-childbirth, and sex drops to the tail end of your priority list. The good news: It will move back up.

"Estrogen levels rise during pregnancy, and fall abruptly after you give birth," says Silvana Ribaudo, MD, an obstetrician at Columbia Medical Center in New York. "The change in estrogen levels means a woman’s sex drive is probably pretty low. It rebounds, but it does take time."

2. Belly Bulge

You give birth, you lose your belly, right? Well, not that fast.

“After you give birth, lots of women expect that their belly will return to its normal size almost immediately,” Ribaudo says. “It takes about 6-8 weeks before the uterus is back to its prepregnancy size.”

Amanda Ezman of Oneida, N.Y. was among the new moms surprised by the size of her belly after she gave birth.

“I used the bathroom the day after my daughter was born, and looked in the mirror,” Ezman says. “I thought I would look a little different, but I still looked almost nine months pregnant.”

During pregnancy and after delivery, exercise and a healthy diet are key to getting your body back in shape (under the direction of your ob-gyn, of course).

“It takes time,” Ricciotti says. “Core exercises that focus on your belly do help in toning your baby bulge.”

3. Shoe Surprise

Think the changes you experience from pregnancy happen mostly in your mid-section? You forgot about your feet.

"Yes, a woman’s feet swell during pregnancy,” Ricciotti says. “But after her baby is born, she may have a permanently different shoe size.”

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