Your Body after Baby: What to Expect - Page 2

Skin changes

Stretch marks. Nearly 90 percent of pregnant women will experience stretch marks, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The stretch marks often show up as pink or reddish streaks on your breasts, hips or tummy. This pinkish color will fade to a more neutral skin color with time.

How can you get rid of stretch marks? Try applying creams containing vitamin E, cocoa butter and alpha hydroxy acids. (These remedies have not been medically proven to have a direct effect on stretch marks, but some women swear by them.) Take comfort in the fact that stretch marks usually fade gradually.

Pimples and acne. Your skin may have become irritated during pregnancy due to the extra hormones coursing through your body. If you’ve had any issues with acne, it may have gotten more noticeable during pregnancy. That’s because your oil glands tend to secrete extra oil, resulting in breakouts. Try to stick to a daily cleansing routine, using a fragrance-free soap. Avoid medicated astringents because they could contain ingredients not recommended around newborns.

Varicose veins. These are thick, bluish veins that show up on some women’s legs during pregnancy. This occurs because the body is making up for the increased blood circulation traveling to your growing baby. To prevent or decrease signs of the varicose veins, try to avoid standing for extended periods, prop your legs up on a stool, get enough vitamin C, and avoid excessive weight gain. Remember to walk as often as possible to help blood flow back to your heart. Most often, the varicose veins (unless there is a hereditary factor) will fade a short time after delivery.

Hair loss. Are you losing tresses to the point that you’re starting to worry about getting bald patches? Don’t worry, this is completely normal for new mothers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s the result of falling estrogen levels after pregnancy. Your hair will return to its normal fullness—most likely on or before your baby’s first birthday.

Allow yourself the time your body needs to recover from the experience of giving birth. You’ll change what you can about your body, and begin to embrace the subtle changes that stay with you because of the amazing miracle of birthing a baby.

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