7 Unexpected Changes That Happen in a Woman’s Body After Childbirth
A woman’s life changes drastically after childbirth because she has to bear responsibility both for herself and her baby. Big changes occur in a young mother’s body — scientists claim that she becomes a chimera since the cells of a newborn baby can stay with her for the rest of her life.
Bright Side learned how a woman’s body changes after it has delivered a new human to this world.
1. The voice changes.
The voice of a woman who gives birth to a child changes — it becomes lower and more monotonous. That’s the conclusion the scientists from the University of Sussex came to. One year after childbirth, a woman’s voice goes back to its initial frequency.
Researchers suggest that these changes are caused by hormonal changes. That’s because the level of sex hormones drastically decreases after childbirth and it can affect the vocal cords. According to scientists, the maximum voice height of a woman who gives birth falls to 44 Hz or 2.2 semitones. This equals approximately 2 piano notes.
However, this change has another explanation as well. Experts believe that people with a low voice, as a rule, are considered more competent and mature. That’s why women can subconsciously change their timbre in order to adjust to their new role of a mother.
2. Anxiety increases.
Young mothers are often told that they should stay calm and peaceful, however, the truth is that it’s impossible. Usually, a woman who gives birth to a child becomes scared and worried about everything like if the baby is crying, if the baby isn’t crying, if the baby is sleeping too much, if the baby isn’t getting enough sleep, etc. But this is normal. It’s not the woman who is extremely nervous but rather the oxytocin hormone that keeps increasing her levels of anxiety.
Oxytocin starts to intensively secrete right after childbirth. It helps the uterus that had stretched during the pregnancy shrink down and it also switches on the maternal instinct. Another hormone called progesterone is responsible for the relaxation of the nervous system and can help in this situation but it is at its lowest level right after childbirth. Therefore, young mothers will have to adjust to the fact that they will feel like they’re going crazy because of their anxiety right after giving birth to their child.
There is an advantage to this: oxytocin is also called the hormone of love and it lets a woman feel that incredible tenderness towards their newborn. This feeling is worth all the anxiety that comes with it.
3. The brain works better.
Scientists have found that women become smarter after childbirth. The brain becomes bigger in order to meet the needs of not only its owner but the baby’s needs as well. That’s the reason why young mothers can be better workers than their colleagues who don’t have kids. “Being able to be more efficient in your decision-making, being emotionally resilient, maybe being able to engage in different strategies to solve a problem... that sounds like a wonderful executive or manager to me,” says Kelly Lambert who studies women’s brains during and after pregnancy.
The neurobiologist Craig Kinsley notes that not only is giving birth to a child a big event in a woman’s life, it’s also a big stage in her mental development, which is as important as the teenage stage in life.
4. The body becomes ready for a new pregnancy.
A woman’s immune system decreases drastically during pregnancy — it’s required in order to prevent the body from rejecting foreign fetal cells and miscarriages. It’s regulative T-cells that are responsible for the fetus’ life in the uterus making sure the mother’s immune system doesn’t reject it. Scientists have found that these cells remain in the mother’s body for another 4 to 5 years after delivery and they are ready to mobilize the body as fast as possible in case a new pregnancy develops.
That’s the reason why women often confess that it was much easier for them to carry the second baby- all because their immune system was fully ready for it, while it had to make an enormous effort and work harder during the first pregnancy.
5. A connection with the baby is formed on a physical level.
The physical connection a baby has with its mother doesn’t stop after birth. Scientists from the University of Alberta in Canada found that babies’ cells can remain and function in the woman’s body. They analyzed the brains of women who gave birth to boys and discovered male cells in 63% of the cases.
The researchers came to the conclusion that the cells of the child can penetrate through the placental barrier into the mother’s body and continue to function there. By the way, male cells in a woman’s brain can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s.
6. The body gets renewed.
It’s all because of the blood of the fetus — it starts the regeneration processes in the mother’s body. Embryonic cells help a pregnant woman to heal wounds and can even prevent and heal serious diseases. For example, a liver biopsy of a pregnant woman with hepatitis C who stopped treatment showed improvement. Scientists found that the source of her liver’s cells were the cells of the fetus.
Additionally, pregnancy can prolong life but mostly in cases when the pregnancy occurs later in life. Scientists found that women who had kids at an older age lived longer than others. At the same time, the age of the first pregnancy and fertility weren’t related to life expectancy in women. The same results occurred while exploring the Amish community in Pennsylvania.
7. The risk of cancer decreases.
The mechanism that protects women from some cancer types “switch on” after childbirth in a woman’s body. For example, women who give birth to their babies at a younger age have a lower risk of getting ovary cancer and endometrium. The risk decreases with every full-term pregnancy. Girls who became mothers before 25 and breastfed their babies are less susceptible to breast cancer.
What other bodily changes during pregnancy have you noticed? Please tell us about them in the comments!