How Does Pregnancy Change the Body?

You know that your body experiences dramatic changes during pregnancy. You might have put on some weight and you might have noticed that your hair feels thicker and fuller. While some of the changes associated with pregnancy go back to normal after delivery, having a baby can change your body in more permanent ways.

Not sure what to expect? Let’s take a look at some of the possible changes–and explore your options if you’re not happy with your new body after baby.

Change in Breast Size

One of the first things women notice when they’re pregnant is that their breasts tend to get bigger. Some women might go up a cup size or even two while their body prepares for delivery and breastfeeding.

After delivery and breastfeeding, it’s also common for the breasts to become smaller, as they no longer produce milk to feed a newborn. Since the initial growth often stretches the skin, it’s fairly common for women to notice that their breasts are saggier than they were pre-pregnancy. Depending on how dramatic the changes in your breasts are, you might consider a breast augmentation and/or breast lift in an attempt to restore them to their pre-baby size and shape.

Darkening of the Skin

Sometimes known as the ‘mask of pregnancy,’ melasma is facial hyperpigmentation that can appear as pregnancy hormones flood your body. The hyperpigmentation does often fade on its own after delivery, but it can continue for as a long as a year after birth. If you’re bothered by it, a laser skin treatment might be able to help improve the discoloration.

The Appearance of Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are an expected part of pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to like them. The marks usually appear on the stomach area as the belly expands rapidly during pregnancy. The good news? The marks do tend to fade over time and become less visible. They often start out a bright red color, but typically become silvery and faint with time.

Changes in the Abdomen

Along with stretch marks, you might notice other changes in the abdominal area. These changes can include increased  size and flabbiness. That flabbiness might be due to excess fat deposits because of weight gain, but it’s more commonly because the skin in the area has become stretched out and hasn’t ‘bounced back.’ The stomach muscles can also become separated and stretched out, preventing a toned appearance.

One of the key surgeries performed as part of a mommy makeover is a tummy tuck, which helps to restore the abdominal area to its pre-baby size and shape. The surgery involves removing extra fat from the area, trimming away excess skin and tightening the stomach muscles.

Shoe Size Changes

Pregnant women are often surprised to find that their favorite shoes no longer fit them. They are then even more surprised to find that their shoes continue not to fit long after the baby is born.

Pregnancy can change your foot size and occasionally, that change can be permanent. The weight you gain while carrying a baby puts pressure on your feet, which can cause your arch to become flatter. While some women’s feet do go back to their pre-baby size, many find that they need a bigger shoe size for the rest of their lives.

Vaginal Changes

Unless you have a C-section, labor requires you to push the baby out through the birth canal, which can lead to permanent changes in the vagina, including stretching.

If you are bothered by the stretching or find it uncomfortable, a vaginoplasty might be an appropriate surgery for you. The procedure tightens the vagina, nearly restoring it to the size it was before delivery.

Although you now have a little one (or two) to care for, it’s still important to make time and care for yourself. If you’re not happy with any body changes that occurred during or after pregnancy, there might be a procedure or treatment that can help to restore your body.

In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas is a highly regarded, board-certified plastic surgeon who performs breast surgeries, mommy makeovers and other procedures to help moms feel more confident in their appearance. To learn more, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today.