Pregnancy can be challenging for a woman. Morning sickness, weight gain, back pain, and stretched-out skin are all things to look forward to as you carry a baby to term. A few months of discomfort are worth it, though, when you hold your little bundle of joy.
While your baby is an obvious benefit of making it through nine months of pregnancy, you -- Mom -- experience many other health benefits that stay with you long after your baby is grown. Here are just five of them that we at FemmePro OB/GYN in Garden City and North Massapequa, New York, want you to know about.
1. Menstrual cramp relief
You don’t have your period while you're pregnant, but that’s not the relief we’re referring to. You may experience long-term relief from menstrual cramps and discomfort after pregnancy.
During childbirth, some of the prostaglandin receptor sites in your uterus are eliminated. These receptors play a role in causing serious menstrual cramps -- when they become less plentiful, you get less discomfort with your monthly flow.
2. Reduced risk of some cancers
Women who have been pregnant have a lower risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. This is because you don’t ovulate when you’re pregnant, so you have less exposure to estrogen and progesterone. These hormones stimulate cell growth and increase the risk of tumor cells dividing.
If you choose to breastfeed your baby, you also have extra protection against breast cancer because pregnancy and lactation make your breast cells transform into a state that’s resistant to becoming cancerous.
Even if you have been pregnant, you should still eat a healthy diet, exercise, get regular cancer screenings, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking to reduce your risk further.
3. Improved heart health
Choose to breastfeed your baby, and you also get protection from heart disease. Studies show you have about a 10% reduced risk of developing heart disease later in life if you have a history of breastfeeding. This is because breastfeeding can help you lose excess baby weight and prompts the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which has a stress-reducing effect.
4. Developed multitasking skills
Pregnancy changes your brain. Though it may seem you’re more forgetful in the short term, in the long-term, postpartum period structure and functional changes in your brain make it so you’re better able to take care of a new life. This means your brain is better at planning, emotional regulation, motivation, and foresight. You’re better at work, managing household tasks, and navigating relationships.
If you have more than one child, you may also be more productive than women who’ve never had children. Because you learn to multitask at home, you’re better able to do so in other aspects of your life.
5. Protection from MS
Multiple sclerosis(MS) is a devastating autoimmune disease that can eventually cause permanent damage to your nerves. A study out of Australia showed that being pregnant can cut your risk of developing MS by 50%.
If you have five or more pregnancies, your risk of developing MS is reduced by 94%. This is because your immune system shifts when you are pregnant to avoid attacking the baby. After childbirth, some of your baby’s cells remain in your system and keep the immune system from acting irregularly.
The doctors at FemmePro OB/GYN are here to help with all aspects of your pregnancy care, including pre-pregnancy planning, prenatal care, delivery, and the postpartum period. Call one of the offices today or use the online tool to set up an appointment.