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Are you ready for these?

You probably thought that having a baby would change your life as you know it (And you would be right) and that you wouldn't be able to enjoy uninterrupted sleep until maybe two years after giving birth (That would be correct, again.).

But did anyone tell you about the few other changes your body would exhibit? And we're not just talking about that belly. Here are five changes that might surprise you.

1. Shoes, did you shrink overnight?

During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin, which loosens the ligaments. This is one of the ways your body prepares for the birth of your baby. But it isn't just your pelvic area that's affected; the rest of your body, including your feet, gets in on the hormonal preparations, as well.

Add to that the extra weight you'll be carrying (which will be pushing your feet down) and the arches of your feet may flatten, your feet, lengthen. Thus, the bigger shoe size. Unfortunately, after pregnancy, some feet stay big. Oh well, at least, you'll get to shop for new shoes!

2. Not tonight, honey!

Or any night in the near future, for that matter. Ironically, giving birth puts your sex drive on free fall. Imagine this: You're taking care of a wailing baby, who won't go to sleep; your body is still recovering from pushing out a human being; you haven't slept for more than two consecutive hours; and you have trouble telling days from nights. No wonder making love is at the bottom of your priorities.

But it isn't just exhaustion. After giving birth, your estrogen levels--which rise during pregnancy--take a nose dive, which means low sex drive. Don't worry. It'll come back. Your husband just needs to be patient.

3. Excuse me while I go and put on this heavy duty sanitary pad.

While you're on labor, your baby's head squeezes through the side of the vagina wall, making some nerves temporarily numb. Because of this, the urge to urinate will not be an urge that you feel, not just yet. It's called postpartum incontinence and it only lasts for about a few weeks after giving birth. If it takes longer, see your ob-gyn about a condition called stress urinary incontinence.

4. Wow, my breasts have never looked so...full and heavy and hard!

After giving birth, your breast will be filled with milk. Some women will have it in trickles; others, a burst dam. The sensation of breasts heavy with milk will be easy on some, uncomfortable in others, and for the unfortunate, excruciatingly painful. Your normal response to this will be to nurse your baby. But in some cases when your baby isn't with you, always have a clean breast pump around, and sterilized milk bags to store the milk. Breast milk is a precious commodity some new mothers don't have access to. If you don't plan to nurse, donate your breast milk to hospitals or even to individual families who need the milk.

5. I need anti-hair fall shampoo ASAP!

Another postpregnancy change: hair loss, thanks to the abrupt dive of estrogen levels. This will be more noticeable to you and those close to you, because on the lead-up to giving birth, estrogen was at an all-time high, causing more hair to grow. After giving birth, they stop growing and fall off. For most mommies, the hair goes back to pre-pregnant thick within six months to a year after giving birth. A few, though, never get their hair to grow back.


Baby Blues

Did you know that about 80 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression within the first month after giving birth? The usual symptoms include unexplainable weepiness, irritability, and anxiety. You may also have difficulty sleeping. Is this you? Try the following tips to help ease the depression.

1. Stop comparing yourself to other mothers.

Each mother is different just like each baby is different. What works for others may not necessarily work for you, but it's not your fault--or your baby's.

2. Step outside.

It's easy to mix up days and nights taking care of a newborn. Make an effort to step outside, by yourself, even for a few minutes every day. The fresh air, change in scenery, and blessed silence will do you worlds of good.

3. Talk it out.

Seek out a friend who gets your situation--a fellow mother, perhaps--and pour your heart out. Even if you can't put all your feelings into words, it will be good to sit with a friend who understands.

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Title Annotation:Moms & Kids
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Nov 15, 2014
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