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The Physical Toll of Pregnancy

The Physical Toll of Pregnancy

Finally have a moment to myself, baby is bouncing in her bouncer babbling away as I get this moment to write. This month, I’ll be focusing on pregnancy and all the things that come with it. Today is all about the physical changes that come with and after pregnancy. Going into my pregnancy, I knew there were things to be expected but I learned so much from actually being pregnant versus reading about it in a textbook that I feel it’s important to share. So here goes:

  1. The most obvious: your belly will expand and you will gain weight. This one I knew. Most women gain 25-35 pounds, but don’t let that scare you. I gained 40 pounds and have successfully lost almost all of it within 5 months. Also, your uterus becomes enlarged. Cool fact: it takes 6 weeks to resume its normal size after giving birth.
  2. Morning sickness and backaches. These are pretty well-known side effects as well. Morning sickness is very typical in the first trimester but may continue on longer for some unlucky women.
  3. My favorite: your breast size will change. And it’s not a oh my breasts are now bigger and that’s it. Breasts will change in size more than once during and after pregnancy.
  4. Lesser known: varicose veins near the genitals. While these can be uncomfortable, they tend to go away after delivery.
  5. Weird but true: bleeding gums, really good hair, fast growing nails, stretch marks, dark line down the belly, acne, sensitive breasts, belly button sticking out, feeling warmer and sweating more, pregnancy waddle (relaxin), bigger feet, and eyesight changes.

The weirdest thing that happened to me was my eyesight changed for the first time in over ten years. It improved greatly, by 1.5 powers. No complaints!

As for after pregnancy. After all those physical changes (you not only grow a human but also grow an organ too!) you definitely face more as your body returns to “normal.” Like losing all of those body-changing hormones all at once. But still keeping some if you breastfeed! I’m still going through the changes, like losing a little more than normal hair. And my menstrual cycle is still trying to get back on track so that’s fun too. Here’s some post-pregnancy physical changes you can look forward to:

  1. Postpartum hair loss. The loss of estrogen usually leads to new moms losing more than normal hair. Good news is estrogen levels are usually back to normal 6 months postnatal so hair will grow back.
  2. Leaking breasts. Totally normal for breastfeeding moms to have leaky boobs. Usually pumping between feedings helps with this.
  3. Core changes: Diastasis recti (separation of core muscles) and general core weakness is very common after pregnancy. It’s important for new moms to safely regain their core strength over time.
  4. Growing and shrinking breasts. Don’t worry ladies, those boobs aren’t done changing!
  5. Incontinence. I feel so bad for ever making fun of my mom over this. Now I know exactly how she felt.
  6. Possibly losing a tooth or two. This hasn’t happened to me, but this is strangely not uncommon amongst mothers.
  7. Weird but true: lowered breast cancer risk, higher chance of diabetes, lowered sex drive, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, slightly larger uterus, more fat on your hips, and you become a chimera.

What changes have you seen during or after pregnancy?

The Physical Toll of Pregnancy was originally published on


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