Growing up, I had such straight hair that it took three trips to the beauty parlor for my permanent wave to take. Then, in my late 20s, I had my first child, and my hair went ballistic. Ten years and three kids later, I still struggle with hairdressers who remind me that I have to pick styles that work with my weirdly wavy hair. But I've suffered far more pregnancy fallout than just a few errant cowlicks. My feet are quite a bit bigger, and I have faint red lines running below my belly (not to mention some off-limits information about my private parts!). But I'm certainly not alone in this rather large boat of post-baby body mysteries. The older I get and the more women I meet, the more I realize that all of us wear one or many signs of pregnancy in some form or another.
Experts agree that most women's bodies will undergo some change -- from marks on the skin to fatter feet -- that crops up during pregnancy and sticks around long after baby goes off to preschool. The question is, what is it about pregnancy or childbirth that spurs these changes, and is there anything any of us can do about them? Here's what you need to know from head to toe.
If your urinary incontinence becomes problematic, a device called a pessary may be used to hold the bladder neck and reduce leakage. Similar to a diaphragm, this doughnut-shaped device is inserted in the vagina and removed as needed. It should not be left in place for longer than six weeks at a time and should be removed once or twice a week for cleaning. In extreme cases, medication or surgery to support the bladder may be needed. With fecal incontinence, the only truly effective options available are Kegels and surgery.
Guess what? Not everyone complains about post-baby body changes. Here are some unexpected improvements you may be able to look forward to.
Jennifer Lang is a freelance writer living in White Plains, New York.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2005.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.