Growing up, I had stick-straight hair—the kind you could just wash, air-dry, and be on your way. Then I had a baby. And all of a sudden the back (only the back!) of my hair turned curly.
After I had my second little one, I was hoping the remainder of my strands would also curl up, just to even out the situation. But no luck. Now I’m stuck with a head of hair that’s always confused.
Saying that your body changes during pregnancy—when you grow another human and then deliver that human into the world—is a hilarious understatement. “While most changes that happen during pregnancy are temporary, some women do experience lasting effects,” says Los Angeles–based ob-gyn Pari Ghodsi, MD, FACOG.
Some of these shifts—like stretch marks and loose skin—are all too common, and you probably know to expect them. Others are a little (okay, a lot) more surprising. Not all new moms find themselves dealing with each one. But if you’re expecting or plan to be in the future, here are 8 bizarre body changes to prepare yourself for.
Your hair falls out—or it changes color or texture
Pregnancy gives many women thick, shiny hair. “Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy support hair growth and prevent the typical shedding we experience when not pregnant,” says Susan Smarr, MD, an ob-gyn at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, California.
But when hair cycles return to normal after the baby arrives, some women naturally begin shedding about three months postpartum. What you need to be prepared for is how much hair actually falls from your scalp—it’s like a shrunken head washing down your shower drain every day. “It’s important that women know to expect this increased amount of hair loss, so they don’t get concerned that something abnormal is happening,” says Dr. Smarr.
Like me, many women also report that their hair texture or color (hello, new grays!) changes too, though these are less common. “These are anecdotal reports—it’s not a recognized process that happens with regularity like the expected hair loss,” she says.
Your breasts shrink
There’s nothing quite like breastfeeding cleavage. But after your boobs close up shop and lactation stops, you might wind up a cup size smaller than when you began, says Dr. Ghodsi. For example, a woman who conceived her baby as a B might upsize to a D cup and then wind up an A. “You lose a lot of breast elasticity, so they’re not as full as they once were,” she says.