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15 Things To Know About How Your Body Changes Postpartum

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When you're pregnant, there's a ton of build up to the day your baby is born. You've stocked up on diapers and bottles, installed the carseat, and packed the cutest outfit ever for your little one to wear home. But have you prepared for the self-care you will need post baby? Before you even deliver, there are things to know about how your body changes postpartum, because you don't want to go into a panic when you pee your pants a little every time you sneeze.

Although there are a lot of possible ways your body can change after giving birth, most of these are temporary and resolve in due time. Some of the more common after effects of childbirth is your body healing itself from nine months of pregnancy as well as the delivery. Even those most of these conditions are minor discomforts, if your symptoms are extreme or go on too long, you'll want to consult with your doctor or midwife to see if there are more underlying problems.

To understand more about what goes down once your baby is born, read over these 15 things to know about how your body changes postpartum so you won't have too many surprises.

1. Cramping

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Even though the contractions are over, you may still be experiencing abdominal pains. What you're feeling is your uterus shrinking down to pre-pregnancy size, according to The Bump. The good news is, it won't last long; the average time is about two weeks.

2. Hemorrhoids

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As Mayo Clinic reported, many women who delivered their baby vaginally experience hemorrhoids. This can be easily treated with special creams, warm soaks in the bath, and by taking stool softeners.

3. Moodiness

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You've been through a lot between pregnancy and delivery, which can take an emotional toll. According to the website for the American Pregnancy Association, postpartum mood disorders have a wide range. While some woman experience mild symptoms last only a few days after delivering, others develop serious conditions that require medical attention.  

4. Constipation

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If you've been having trouble in the poop department, know you're not alone. Many women suffer from constipation after delivery. But as What To Expect's website pointed out, you can get things moving again with some nutritional tweaks to ease constipation.

5. Breast Changes

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You may have watched your breasts grow during pregnancy as your milk supply built up, preparing to feed your baby. Whether you're breastfeeding or not, changes in breast size is typical after giving birth, according to Today's Parent.

6. Hair Loss

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If you're noticing an abnormal amount of hair falling out after your baby arrives, don't panic. As Parents magazine reported, postpartum hair loss is due to your estrogen levels changing, but usually returns to normal around the six month mark.

7. Vaginal Pain

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This symptom may be more likely if you needed an episiotomy for your delivery. But the more kegels you do, the faster you'll strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, according to Fit Pregnancy's website.

8. Stomach Changes

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Your stomach is the part of your body that's experienced the most changes throughout your pregnancy, and that doesn't change after delivery. As Parents pointed out, common post pregnancy stomach changes include stretch marks and loose skin.

9. Vaginal Discharge

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Once you've delivered your baby, your body is still trying to flush out the remainder of the fluid you built up during pregnancy. As the wesbite for The March Of Dimes reported, postpartum vaginal discharge may start out heavy, but tends to lessen and go away within a few weeks.

10. Incontinence

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After having a baby, just a little cough or sneeze can make you wet your pants a little. The stress, swelling, and loss of sensitivity of the bladder is what causes postpartum women to leak a little pee without being able to stop the flow, according to Baby Center.

11. Lots Of Sweating

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Is it just me, or is it hot in here? Room temperature has nothing to do with the reason growing sweat rings on your shirt. As the website for Dr. Sears reported, postpartum sweating is your body releasing extra fluid that still in your system.

12. Bleeding

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Whether you had a C-section or delivered vaginally, you will likely experience some vaginal bleeding after childbirth. Much like the vaginal discharge, your body is trying to eliminate any leftover blood that is still in your uterus, as What To Expect pointed out. However, if you feel the amount of blood is excessive, contact your health care provider for further investigation.

13. Swelling

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Since your it's possible for your body to hold on to extra fluid gained during pregnancy, you may experience swelling for a few weeks after having your baby. According to Fit Pregnancy, postpartum swelling is common in the extremities, but can be combated by drinking lots of water and cutting back on salt intake.

14. Low Energy

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Have you been drifting off to sleep while sitting up straight, in the middle of the day? Low energy levels are normal, postpartum, but you can rev up your wakefulness naturally with energy boosters suggested by Parenting magazine.

15. Heavier Periods

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I know this one hurts, but after having a baby, your periods may become heavier than it was before your were pregnant. As obstetrician Steven Goldstein told Everyday Health, "pregnancy causes the surface area of the uterus to expand, which means that after childbirth, there is twice as much surface area to shed through menstruation as before, hence the heavier bleeding than before childbirth."