Any long-term effects after childbirth?

I was curious whether any of you who have borne children had experienced long-term physical effects/problems/complications after labor & delivery. Heck, even pregnancy-related.

I was just wondering how common they are, what the spectrum is. I’ve heard of problems with stress incontinence, episiotomies or tears which healed poorly, allergies which cropped up during pregnancy and stayed, etc.

It took a surprisingly long time for my skin to stop hurting after the c-section, and I have reduced feeling in some of the skin near the incision, but other than that, I think I got off scot-free. Okay, I admit to have stunning stretch marks. They’re fading somewhat, but wow, what a legacy they leave! Nothing to write home about, overall.

Others? And BTW, this isn’t meant to freak out the pregnant folk.

Please, please answer - we’re thinking of starting a family in the next few years and I’m interested in people’s answers, specifically re: childbirth w/o medications (i.e. “natural”) and breastfeeding.

well, other than the assorted grey hairs…

seriously. I gave birth 16 1/2 years ago to a large baby (10 pounds, 12 ouches at birth). almost like clockwork, about 10 years later, I developed signs of diabetes. I’ve since heard that it’s a fairly common thing for women who’ve given birth to large babies.

I’d like to see a cite for this. I can’t think of any way that having a large baby would be related to diabetes.

Let’s see, it’s been seven years. The stretch marks have faded but not gone away, so I still obsess about them. My hair went from thick, heavy, and stick-straight to oddly wavy and finer (but not terribly fine). I delivered naturally, and there was very slight tearing but there have been no effects from that as far as I can tell. I have noticed diminished nipple sensitivity since breastfeeding, though, but that’s sorta a no-brainer. And once in a while, I’ll get a milk-like discharge from my breasts even now.

Oh, and there’s that weird kid that keeps following me around and calling me “Mom”.

Oh, FWIW, me too, but then the kid only weaned 7 months ago, so not too surprising.

It’s called macrosomia. When a woman has diabetes while pregnant, her increased blood sugar crosses the placenta, but her insulin doesn’t. The baby produces more insulin in response, which stores the extra sugar as fat. Hence, you have a fat baby. It’s not a cause of diabetes in the mother, but an effect.

haha… that’s funny! I still have that same feeling. Me? Mom?? I do my best, what can I say. :slight_smile:

As far as lasting effects… I have … hemrrhoids… :o From pushing I guess. They “pop” up every once in a while, haha… They’re real pain in the… okay, that’s enough.

Lasting effects? Well, I was too freaked out to have another one. My advice to avoid that problem is: Be in a modern hospital, not some backwoods crazy Japanese doctor’s hospital that’s 40 years behind the times and still strapping your feet down and giving enemas and last but surely not least: episiotomy’s with no pain killers in the middle of a push! No pain killers for anything, come to think of it. And that’s about as far as I can get before the panic attack sets in! (I’m quite serious, I can’t talk about it. A true nightmare. Everything the English birth advice book said hospitals don’t do anymore, they did.) Actual quote from doctor: “Women have had babies for thousands of years without painkillers, and you don’t need them either.” Oh, boy. This was at my 8 month checkup when it was too late to fly home and find a real doctor.

Have fun! But count me out. ::shudders::


*Originally posted by Cisco *

Hey, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. At the first check up 16 years ago, my doctor told me “since Ben was so large, you need to go and get checked for diabetes” So I went. It was negative at that point, but years later, I described certain mood swings to him, and his first thought was to set me up for a gloucose tolerance test (to check for diabetes).

But since you asked, I did a quick Google search and came up with the term : gestational diabetes - so, it happens often enough that they have a term for it.

here’s a link:

And AerynSun, large does not equal fat. My son was large (both in length and weight - his weight was proportionate to his length, he was the size and dimension of a healty 3 month old when he was born).

I breast-fed first for 2 1/2 years and second for 5 months so now my boobs hang low. Yes, they do wobble to and fro and I can throw them over my shoulder like a continental soldier. Kathy Najimy was on The View yesterday and said she could be in the living room and breast-feed in the bedroom. I wish I had come up with that line. (Nevertheless, breast-feeding is really worth it.)

Also, I have to pee every 5 minutes and have a slight problem if I sneeze or cough too hard! Don’t make me laugh!

The only other long-term side effect that I’ve had is that I HAVE turned into my mother (this one really sneaks up on you, be careful) – “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice” “Why? Because I said so, that’s why!” “What part of NO don’t you understand?” et cetera, et cetera.


So far, I’ve had no side effects. I had a “normal” birth, with the pain medication (its name escapes me right now) injected 1/2 in my arm vein and the other 1/2 in the muscle. That was so I’d get half the relief in double the amount of time. It did slow down my labor though. Not too much since I was admitted at 10:30 AM and had Blake at 3:45 PM.

Hmm, what else? Oh, I had 3 stiches that healed nicely. I had no stretch marks. I did nurse, and when I stopped, I didn’t have any leakage. Since I was nursing I had to switch my birth control to depo provera, as it doesn’t affect breast milk. I didn’t have any allergies pop up, nor did I even have morning sickness.

Overall, I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy that led to having the biggest event in my life!

Not too many long-term effects. I’ve had two babies. With the first there was a large episiotomy/tear which healed uneventfully. With the second the epi was much smaller and the site is fine now.

I did develop a slight hypothyroid condition (which I noticed because my hair was falling out) which might have been precipitated by the pregnancies.

My second baby was large (9 1/2 pounds), but it wasn’t related to gestational diabetes–he’s just a big kid.

I don’t have any problems with stress incontinence, but I do sometimes have an “ache” in the perineum area. This only happens when I have menstrual cramps though.

That’s really about it. I didn’t get any stretch marks and my breasts aren’t much different than I expect they would have been without the babies.

Two babies, a 4.7kg boy in '94 and a 4.0kg boy in '00. (That’s 10lb 6oz and 8lb 13oz for you non-metric-enabled folks.) The only long-term effect is the usual stress incontinence issues when I forget to do my Kegels (which is, um, too often). Oh, and the dark line on my belly never did completely disappear after the first one, even after my belly muscles got back to normal.

I had stitches with both (episiotomy the first time, double tear the second), but they healed fine. Matter of fact, two days after the second birth I absentmindedly sat cross-legged on the hospital bed to talk with the midwife. Both were hospital births, with midwifes, no pain medication.

The little guy is still breastfeeding. I do hope I’ll go back to a C cup afterwards. (I’ll settle for smaller.)

I had my children naturally. No make up on. Bah ha ha ha.

Seriously, I did drugs and highly recommend them. No ill effects on the baby(s) or me.

My body sprung back with Number 1.

I didn’t have the bouncy pregnancy hair, dammit. Being punished in this life with flat lifeless fine hair, I had all that and more during pregnancy. So I just wore my hair as I always do, short.

With number two, nearly a year after, I have to say that I think the spring has sprung and corsets are looking appealing.

I was congested both pregnancies the entire time. My feet hurt all the time the first time around, but by baby number two, no problems.

Those are my only complaints and I will take them.

I haven’t been able to put two cohesive thoughts together in an intelligent matter since then, but this, I am told, is normal.
Oh, and there is the joys of depression too. Makes the teen age angst look like a trip to Disney.


Stress incontinence, minor, but a really big sneeze on a full bladder, and I’ll be changing my pants… If I actually did my Kegels regularly, it would probably improve, as I’ve noticed it does when I do (did that make sense?).

Allergies. Horrible before pregnancy, went away during pregnancy, came back a little about 2 years post pregnancy, but with different symptoms. I used to get the itchy eyes, itchy sinuses, runny everything, and horrible sneezing, and now I get dry cough and sneezing, but not too much of the itchy/watery thing. Thanks, I’ll take it!

Stretch marks. I don’t have room for MORE stretch marks, so the next kid better just use the old ones. I did get a really cool pattern of them, though, like a sunburst. epeepunk said they looked like flames shooting up my belly, and as I got really REALLY big, I had one that had been straight across the pubic bone that began to arc upward into a half-sun. Too bad they don’t look like that after the fact.

No peritineal injuries (no tears, no cuts, no stitches) despite that huge head, and hence no problems there. No hemmorhoids, either. (Lucky me!)

Breastfeeding. Well, they would probably look that way no matter what (pregnancy changes them more than breastfeeding does) - heck, my mom breastfed 7 kids, and didn’t need a bra until her 40’s, and she was a B-to-C cup. No sag at all. Now, why couldn’t I have inherited that trait? I don’t leak, haven’t since about the 4-month-point, even though I’m still nursing. Haven’t noticed any problems with loss of nipple sensitivity, but then I was so nastily hypersensitive through the pregnancy that it is hard to recall what it was like before. Very cool knowing that my body can make food for another person.

Weight. Back to my pre-preg weight after 7 months of breastfeeding, and then below it. Unfortunately, I started out well over my ideal weight. Sigh. At least I don’t have further to go.

Sleep. I’ve discovered that while I used to not be able to function on less that 8 hours (preferably 10), I can function reasonably well on 4 1/2. Under that and I’m non-functional, and 5 1/2 is great. Nothing like a kid who doesn’t sleep through the night… for two and a half years.

Sex drive. (partly physical/physiologial) Temporarily killed by breastfeeding, exhaustion/sleep-deprivation, and constant physical contact with a small child. Took about 6 months to get even vague interest back on a regular basis, but noticed the level of interest was directly proportional to how much uninterrupted sleep I got. Kegels help this, too. So does B6.

Coping level. (probably psychological, but who knows? Just giving birth changes so much!) Used to heave at the mere sound of someone upchucking, even the cat. Now can have my son throw up all over me and have my first response be, “do you feel better now?” - and don’t even gag at the smell. Similar reaction changes to other previous sources of disgust, and also to crises (like broken bones, hospitalizations, and falls down stairs).

Spiritual/emotional/psychological (the biggest permanent change, don’t know if it is physically caused or not). Definitely a major change in attitude, perspective, sense of connection, sense of community, sense of family, sense of responsibility for the planet, and so forth. All those were there before, but it was like they were in black-and-white, and now they are in more colors than you can see with the naked eye. For a good book on this, see “In the Newborn Year: Our changing awareness after childbirth”. Suddenly things meant a lot more than they ever had. I saw my own parents differently, and started seeing other people as someone’s child as well as themselves. Got used to walking around with my heart exposed. Got used to hurting when my son was hurt, as my mom used to say, “when you are cut, I bleed” - it is true, and there is no way to explain it until you get there.

As for my experience, 80 hours of labor (and before you scream, it wasn’t that bad), 66 with no pain meds, 10 with an epidural (not for pain, rather so I could sleep - otherwise I was going to go psychotic), 2 hours of pushing. 8 lb, 12 oz boy with a head developmentally two weeks ahead of his body, top first, 14.5 inches around, and DID NOT MOLD - that is, his head came down straight and didn’t squish into the helpful conehead. Still said within minutes of delivering him that I’d do the whole damn thing again in a hot second. The very supportive atmosphere (midwife, 2 doulas) and no pain beyond my tolerance level (though I definitely used those relaxation techniques to the max) helped a lot, I imagine.

that would be 12 hours with the epidural. I can’t count, anymore, either.

Yeah, I’m right there with you. I’m famous for forgetting what I was saying in the middle of a sentence.

My kid is two (joy, oh joy) and I only have two long-term effects.

  1. My tailbone is out of whack. It now points downward more than curving in. ToddlerNym was stuck on it.

  2. My feet are a half-size bigger.

<filing away all the info for later>

I’m very curious as to the psychological/emotional changes. I’ve seen some of my friends a few days after they’ve given birth, and I just can’t get my head around some of the emotional changes they go through. One friend practically wouldn’t let anybody hold the baby until he was about 4 months. I realize that’s probably an extreme example, but what I’m wondering is, is feeling like that normal?

Right now I’m at 19 weeks with the critter, and I didn’t really feel very pregnant or mother-y at all until I felt some kicking. These days, I’m starting to get all gooey thinking about tiny little feet…

I breastfed all three kids for a year - my breasts weren’t that big to begin with and they shrunk a wee bit.

Breastfeeding can help you go back to prepregancy weight - I have also read that it can take up to two years to lose extra pregnancy weight.

Every pregnancy is different. Every child is different. If you have serious concerns that what you’re experiencing isn’t within the very great boundaries that is ‘normal’, talk to your OBGYN. Enjoy the ride that is motherhood. (and if you really want some training, I have a 16 year old available for rent).