Six Strange Postpartum Side Effects

Image via Jennifer Bruno

My eyes opened, dutifully obeying the stirs of the newborn who’d recently moved in to the white wicker bassinet at my bedside.  

I reached for my cell phone.

3:06 a.m.


He’d last eaten at 2:02.  His meal lasted about… thirty… inefficient…. minutes.  I burped him, rocked him, and placed him back in his bassinet (which was clearly similar to placing him in a bed of legos, as his milk drunk slumber instantly morphed into more of a tequila drunk rage).  I closed my eyes and tried to catch a nap- a standing up nap- while I jiggled the bassinet like I was pulsing pina coladas.

By 2:54, the baby was fast asleep, and I raced to find my own slumber once again.

But now?  It was 3:06.  THREEEEE OOOOOHHHH SIIIIIIIX.  At best, I’d been asleep for twelve minutes!  My body was heavy and still sore from my c section, but I did my best to leap out of bed in spite of the imaginary concrete blanket that warned, “No ma’am, don’t you dare leave this bed!”.  

I was a mess.  I knew it.  Exhausted.  Sweaty.  Headachy.  And… incredibly smelly.

My two week-old baby was still struggling to nurse and getting him worked up beforehand only made things worse.  I had figured out very little about my son, but I did know a quick response “usually” meant better results.   I sprinted to his aid while he was still groggy in hopes my attentiveness would bring about a more cooperative eater and, in turn, a more cooperative “fall back to sleeper”.

Cradling my fidgety newborn, I collapsed in my glider and did my best to stay awake while he nursed.

I was a mess.  

I knew it.

Exhausted.  Sweaty.  Headachy.  And… incredibly smelly.  

My postpartum side effects were in full swing, and I’d not had a clue what to expect.  

Here are a few strange postpartum conditions you may want to prepare yourself for:

What do you think?

Six Strange Postpartum Side Effects

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of Tracie Tracie says:

    This is my first pregnancy, our little miracle is due in November. 6 days before I turn the BIG 40…. I’m new to all this and I’m eager to learn from each one of you so if u have any suggestions or anything u would like to tell me, please comment !!

    • Profile photo of Megan KlayEditor Megan Klay says:

      Congratulations, Tracie! You’ll do great! My best advice is to go with the flow and not be too hard on yourself. You’re always doing your best!

  2. Profile photo of chrissy chrissy says:

    These are too true. I had all of them except my shoe sz didn’t change. My lil man is going on 3mths and he’s just starting to sleep through the night thank god. I have a 5yr old, a 2 yr old and my hubby works swing shift so it’s been a rough couple mths. Unfortunately I lost my milk supply when he turned 2 mths so I’m not breastfeeding anymore. I’m finally getting back to normal except the insane amount of hairloss and hoping to skip the PPD this time around. Even as unpleasant as it is I wouldn’t give it up for the world to have my 3 beautiful boys. They are definitely my world.

  3. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    I had headaches but were manageable. I enjoyed hair gain at first – nice shiny hair and few months after they’re falling out 🙁 but hey I did enjoy those crazy sleepless nights when she was a new born. She’s turning 1 next month. I miss those few early momenta with her, she grew so fast!

  4. Profile photo of Rachel Rachel says:

    I’m so fortunate to only have dealt with one of the things listed: headaches. I thought it might be because I wasn’t drinking enough fluids (I tend to get headaches when I’m dehydrated) because I’m breastfeeding exclusively. It’s good to know that there could be another cause! Also, I was terrified about my feet getting larger (as it is, I already wear a size 11 shoe!), but found out early on in my pregnancy that it’s because you lose some of the arch in your foot. Well, I’m already flat-footed, so I dodged that bullet!! 🙂

  5. Profile photo of Jessica Jessica says:

    the only side affect I had was hair loss. I did have stitches though and it made me feel like my private parts were being ripped apart as the stitches stretched. and it took forever for me to stop bleeding and they kept me in the hospital for an extra day because my bleeding was heavier then they would have liked it to be.

  6. Profile photo of diana diana says:

    I do confirm and join everyone that shared about hair loss. I have beautiful wavy fine but lots of hair and about 6 months after my son was born I continue to notice until this day more hair shedding than usual on my hair brush, but then you have to consider that I have my hair on a pony tail and keep it up even when I sleep because my son sleeps with me and he cuddles a lot and I still breastfeed him. i know its not good to keep your hair long and pulled back all the time, but its most convenient for me, so I think once we have a baby we have to may be do more hair care such as haircut, mask or so forth.

  7. Profile photo of Monica Monica says:

    So good and straight to the point! Thank you for writing this! I have the crying too and sleep deprivation should be my major…cant wait until the 4-6 hr sleep periods!

  8. Profile photo of pinkmicboo pinkmicboo says:

    All so VERY true! I didn’t remember these this bad after my first child 10 years ago…but I guess being older takes it toll! Oh…to add to this list…crying…I’m 4 weeks in postpartum and still can’t control the crying. It’s crazy! But it has been worth every single minute of it to have this beautiful little girl to look at everyday!

  9. Profile photo of Zaiynab Zaiynab says:

    I always thought the headaches were from being tired and/or hungry lol. But I usually am tired and hungry, so hard to eat or sleep with a baby around. The body odor was horrible but now after 3 months postpartum I am back to my normal smell yay! lol.

  10. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

    So very true, and after each child all of it gets worse (depending on how much time in between each) I have 4 boys all 2 years apart. I just gave birth to my youngest on September 23rd. Only 13 days post pardem, my oldest child is 6 andjust started kindergarten this August, so everything these past few months have been a struggle. My husband work 50+ hours a week he leaves for work 1:30 pm til 11 pm, so I am doing everything after school thru bedtime all alone… it is a struggle, everything in this article and more, but I wouldn’t change it for any reason, my boys are happy even when mommy is very tired,

  11. Profile photo of Marlena Marlena says:

    We used an arms reach co-sleeper and it was worth every dime. We both slept so much better and we were able to nurse more frequently. Not to mention that we both loved falling asleep with her holding my hand

  12. Profile photo of sayhola sayhola says:

    TRUE. All truth. I didn’t know about the night sweats, but definitely changed a fair share of outfits during the night. And the hair loss. This time, I’m getting 12″ cut off BEFORE the birth. I figure, if it’s going to fall out anyway, might as well send it off to a good cause. 😉 (Although I didn’t have to change shoe size.)

  13. Profile photo of Cassy Cassy says:

    I’m actually having my first baby in November and have heard about post partum depression and to be honest I’m very nervous about developing it. Thank you for posting this article, it’s helpful to read up on all the various things that come before, during and after pregnancy just to prepare for the worst. I’ve been doing research on all kinds of things (probably too much research!) and I found this article which is a good one too.

    • Profile photo of sayhola sayhola says:

      I’m due in November, too! 32 w today. Hope you and baby-to-be are doing well! This is my 2nd.

    • Profile photo of Marlena Marlena says:

      One of the best ways to avoid PPD is to remember to take care of yourself. The one thing that surprised me the most was how much help I needed, I have always been very independent so I wasn’t prepared for that part. Set up help now before baby comes. Ask friends and family to bring meals and to help clean. Even having some frozen meals ready to microwave can be really handy. Take a few moments to take off your “mommy hat” even if it’s just running to the grocery store or getting coffee with friends by yourself. Even taking the time to take a long shower or bath while someone is watching baby can be a big help. The post-partum period is a time to bond with and nurture your baby. Other things can wait, so give you and your partner some slack. The house may not be as clean as you want, you may spend a lot of time in yoga pants, things may not be as you expected them to be, and that’s ok. Here’s a poem as a reminder of this wonderful time

  14. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    God to know and be somewhat prepared.

  15. Profile photo of KatC614 KatC614 says:

    Very informative! Thank you 🙂

  16. 😀 I love reading J. Brunos blog. I can relate with most that she writes.
    My foot size thankfully didn’t change but I surely thought they were going to the way that they ballooned after birth. They were huuuge!


Send this to a friend