Surprising Things You Never Knew Having Kids Does to Your Body

From intense cravings to bouts of insomnia, we all know that pregnancy can cause some rather strange symptoms. In fact, even male partners sometimes display symptoms of a sympathetic pregnancy, right down to an enlarged belly.

But sometimes getting pregnant and giving birth does things to your body that you’d never expect. After all, growing another human isn’t always easy. These are a few of the most potentially surprising things that can happen.

Your face might look totally different

Pregnant woman lying down.

Yikes … no one wants acne again. | iStock.com

You’ve probably heard that pregnancy can change your body shape and even your shoe size … but your face? It’s true, say experts. During pregnancy and after delivery, your body is full of new hormones that can cause changes like the “mask of pregnancy” and adult acne that never goes away. Your face could also look swollen and overall larger, and while most of those symptoms disappear after pregnancy, some never do.

Your hips may stay wider (forever)

cute boy sitting at a table and smiling

Your hips may never be the same. | iStock.com/EvgeniiAnd

Think your big hips are immune to changing during pregnancy? Think again. Your pelvic bone structure changes during pregnancy, and when the baby goes through your birth canal, your bone structure changes. For some people, this is a permanent thing, and even after they lose the pregnancy weight, they’ll have to change jeans sizes.

Your thyroid could act up

Woman checking her thyroid

Your thyroid may change. | ChesiireCat/iStock/Getty Images

Up to 10% of pregnant women experience thyroid changes during pregnancy, which could be either hypothyroidism (an underactive gland) or hyperthyroidism (an overactive gland). While most women’s thyroids return to normal within a year of giving birth, some changes are permanent. Don’t chalk your fatigue, mood swings, or weight changes up to postpartum fatigue — see a doctor if you feel “off.”

Your sex life might improve (really!)

Couple kissing in bed

A better sex life could be in store for you! | Puhhha/iStock/Getty Images

Finally, some good news: You might have better sex after you have kids. This may seem unlikely considering how exhausted you are after you give birth (plus the recovery time), but according to clinical sexologist Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., your body can go through physical changes post-baby that allow you to have better orgasms. Also, your libido might return faster than you’d expect.

You may enjoy more regular periods

baby pulling toilet paper

Your periods may become more predictable. | iStock.com/markcarper

If you suffered from irregular periods before pregnancy, you may find that they’re more regular after you give birth. While there haven’t been many studies on the subject to determine why this happens, most women certainly aren’t complaining.

You could notice a change in your vision

Exam with an eye doctor

At least this is temporary. | iStock.com/cyano66

Apparently, pregnancy and nursing can alter your eyesight. This occurs because the fluid buildup that also accounts for your cankles and bloated fingers can also affect the lens and cornea of your eye. Good news, though: This condition is almost always temporary and should correct itself when you stop nursing.

Remember, your body is amazing

Mother with child in front of computer

Your body created a beautiful gift. | iStock.com

Whether the post-pregnancy changes you incur are minor or you experience drastic differences, it’s very important to remember that your body did an incredible thing. You created another human being (or two, or three), and that’s something to be celebrated.

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