Reality star Whitney Port has used her YouTube channel to provide an honest take on what she’s experienced as a first-time mother.
Her most recent video posted last week, titled ‘I love my baby, but I wish my body didn’t have to change’, described how her body was altered physically both during and after the pregnancy.
The 32-year-old gained 40lbs while pregnant with her son, Sonny Sanford, and said her body hasn’t bounced back like she hoped.
Port had a vaginal delivery in July, which can cause pain and discomfort to that area for weeks after.
But that hasn’t been her only physical change. Daily Mail Online breaks down other changes new mothers such as Port experience when giving birth including skin discoloration, hair loss and breast enlargement.
Whitney Port gave birth to her son Sonny in July. She posted a Youtube video last week describing how the pregnancy altered her body physically. Left is her last August before she was pregnant, right is her a couple weeks before she gave birth
Whitney has a series of videos on her Youtube channel that describes her own experience of being pregnant and having a child. This is her with her son at the beginning of October
1. Breasts enlarge and shrink drastically
Breasts enlarge during pregnancy because of weight gain and preparation for breastfeeding the baby.
This begins for the mother at about the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy.
The breasts will feel fuller and the nipples and the dark area around it, known as the areolae, will enlarge.
By the third trimester, the body increases its production of hormones such as prolactin, estrogen and progesterone.
These hormones inform the body it needs to begin producing breast milk from the milk ducts.
But then once the baby comes and he or she starts breastfeeding, the breasts will slowly deflate to a size closer to what they used to be before pregnancy.
Since the breasts grow at a rapid pace, this can cause stretch marks to appear around the edges.
A mother will also experience some lactation from her breasts for a few weeks after giving birth even when she is not breastfeeding.
This will halt after a few weeks.
2. Loss of hair after birth
The mother actually experiences an increase in hair and nail growth during pregnancy because of the heightened production of hormones to accommodate the infant.
Instead of losing an average of 100 hairs per day like normal, the mother will lose significantly less.
But then once the baby is born, the body will overcompensate for the extra hair and change in hormones by shedding more.
This occurs for an average of six months after the birth until the hormone levels balance out.
3. A discoloration of the skin
Melasma is commonly known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ and causes brown to gray-brown patches usually across the face.
People can get melasma from sun exposure, but it also occurs in pregnant women because of the change in their hormones.
Most spots should disappear within a year of being pregnant but some can remain behind for longer.
Hydroquinone is one topical treatment that can lighten the dark spots that develop from melasma, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Whitney’s husband, Tim Rosenman, helped her film the video and asked her questions about how the pregnancy changed her body. She admitted that she was worried about how her lower half would appear after having a vaginal birth. This is them in September 2016
Pregnant women might also experience a decrease in their acne because of the increase of hormone production.
But this alteration of the hormones can also cause more dry patches around the mouth and nose area.
These patches should go away within a couple weeks after giving birth.
4. Vaginal pain and discharge
A mother’s vagina has to significantly stretch in order to push the body of the infant out.
First, the bones of the pelvis will alter slightly as the baby is moving through the birth canal.
Shortly after birth, the mother will experience bloody discharge from what is left of the uterine lining in the uterus.
The discharge can last for several weeks as the uterus begins to heal.
Perineal tears are also likely during the birth so that the body can push the baby out of the birth canal.
The perineum – the area between the anus and vagina – can superficially tear or form a larger laceration depending on the size of the infant.
The reality star said that having a baby has made her body softer. She explained in the video that her boobs and nipples have also changed. This is her in June, a month before giving birth
Doctors will stitch this area up after the baby is born, but it can cause pain and discomfort for the mother until the area has healed.
A mother might also experience dryness in the vagina while breastfeeding, which will temporarily cause discomfort when having sex.
5. Stomach muscle loss and stretch marks
The uterus grows harder and rounder during pregnancy to protect the fetus while it is growing inside the body.
After birth, it will be about two-and-a-half pounds and still hold some of its hardness in the abdominal area.
Then, over the next six weeks, the uterus will slowly shrink down to around two ounces and no longer press against the abdomen.
But the stomach doesn’t go back to normal after those six weeks of recovery.
Instead, the mother needs to incorporate abdominal exercises back into her workout to strengthen the muscles.
The skin around the abdomen also stretches to around the growing fetus.
Mothers tend to have stretch marks along the sides of their stomachs from where the skin expanded the most.
Stretch marks can also appear on the breasts, thighs, butt and upper arms.
There is no permanent solution to treating these marks, but using topical solutions such as retinoid cream can help improve the area.
Women can also have laser or light therapy on the marks after they give birth.
How to do belly breathing and kegel exercises to improve the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles
Belly breathing and kegel exercises are critical after a woman gives birth to help rebuild her muscles.
And these exercises can be started right after the labor is over.
Step 1: Sit tall in a chair with your feet on the floor. Make sure to place your hands on your belly to ensure it’s working.
Step 2: Take a deep breath in through your nose that allows your belly and rib cage to expand.
Step 3: Exhale the air slowly through pursed lips and bring your belly in towards your spine as far as you can. Your back should stay tall and lifted.
Step 4: Take five to seven slow breaths. Then, repeat the above exercise by holding the belly button in towards the spine for 15 to 30 seconds.
Step 5: Do this exercise throughout the day for at least ten times.
Step 1: Sit down in a chair and straddle the corner so your legs are on either side of it. Make sure you are sitting up straight.
Step 2: Inhale through your nose and on the exhale draw up your pelvic muscles towards your belly button.
Step 3: Hold this for three to seven seconds before releasing the muscles
Step 4: Follow the long squeeze with eight to ten short squeezes that last one to two seconds.
Step 5: Repeat five sets, one long squeeze and eight to ten short squeezes, every day.
Source: PROnatal Fitness