Beyond changing your life emotionally, motherhood can also change your health. The changes you will experience are not exclusive to the nine months that you carry the baby. In fact, the health changes that motherhood brings can remain for years down the road, and in some cases, even life.
If you’re a new mother and interested in learning what changes to anticipate in your body, take a look at some of the most common.
Increased Risk Of Obesity
Although it’s recommended for women to gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, some women end up gaining much more. As a result, they carry excess weight around post-baby. Although some women turn to procedures like liposuction or tummy tucks after birth, they may still have trouble achieving their pre-pregnancy shape.
In addition to excess pregnancy weight lingering, they also experience lifestyle changes that can alter their metabolism. Young babies require a lot of time at home, which requires less movement. This is especially true if you are breastfeeding.
Although breastfeeding burns 300-500 calories a day, it also requires a considerable amount of sitting down. Therefore, many women experience a substantial dip in their ability to burn off food.
Lower Chances of Developing Cancer
Believe it or not, pregnancy lowers your chances of getting ovarian cancer. Audra E. Timmons, an OBGYN at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston, explains, “On a molecular level, each time ovulation occurs, the ovary undergoes repair. Shutting down ovulation decreases the number of times the ovaries are trying to repair their capsules, thus decreasing the opportunity for genetic ‘accidents’ to occur that could lead to cancer.”
Increased Brain Activity
When you give birth, you may think only your heart grows. However, studies show that in addition to an emotional response, you also experience a brain boost.
When mothers give birth, brain scans show that mothers are so focused on taking care of their babies that they show a significant increase in brain activity.
Improved Endometriosis Symptoms
Women who have struggled in the past with endometriosis may find that their condition improves after giving birth. When there is a decrease in estrogen, endometriosis symptoms tend to improve.
Therefore, having children will not only decrease your chances of developing ovarian cancer but may also guard against endometriosis.
Increased Risk of Incontinence
Unfortunately, wee problems are common for mothers following birth. The stress on the vagina during a traditional delivery causes women to have issues holding their pee in.
For many women, all it takes is a few coughs for an accident to happen. Unfortunately, women who have cesareans are not immune to incontinence either. The good news is that there are surgeries available that may help ease incontinence issues. If you develop a particularly bad case, you may want to discuss your options with your doctor.