Childbirth may be a beautiful thing, but the side effects aren't always so pretty—or expected. Pregnancy and giving birth affect the body in all kinds of ways, both temporary and permanent. While some body changes are widely talked about (hello, stretch marks), there are plenty of other physical impacts women don't discover until they experience them firsthand. For instance, you've likely heard pregnancy can make your feet grow and thicken your hair. But did you know it can also change the length of your menstrual cycle, or even cause you to grow hair in very unexpected places? From the annoying to downright bizarre, these Health editors and readers share stories about the surprising things that happened to their bodies when they became moms.
Body hair weirdness
"The hair fell out of my legs. It didn’t grow back until 3 months after my boy was born! The good thing was that I didn't need to shave." —Jo, 48, Brooklyn, NY
"I now have little plastic-looking hairs that grow out of my stretch marks." —Melanie, 34, Memphis, Tenn.
“After my second pregnancy, my periods were suddenly twice as long. I was freaked out until my OB explained that pregnancy and childbirth can reset your cycle so that you have a new normal." —Lisa, 49, New York, NY
"I lost feeling on a tiny strip of my upper abdomen, right under the space between my breasts. The feeling never came back there, it's still numb.” —Beth, 45, Brooklyn, NY
RELATED: What Pregnancy Does to Your Health
Changes in hair texture...
"I used to have extremely curly hair, and after my pregnancies, the texture has completely changed. It's slightly wavy now—I can't curl it if I try!" —Cheryl, 34, New York City
"My hair got insanely curly and my feet grew a bit too!" —Jaime, 41, Emmaus, PA
"I have bangs now. And not the good kind. They are 1/4 inch and lay one of two ways: straight out or straight up. No amount of blow drying or hairspray can save me." —Natalie, 33, Cleveland, OH
Unexpected skin growths
"I now rock skin tags around my bra line and my hair and nails grow like crazy." —Sarah, 32, Red Hook, NY
"One of my nipples grew another small nipple that I have yet to have removed because I'm petrified." —Michelle, 40, Cicero, NY
"The biggest change has been my hips. I finally went to a physical therapist a year after giving birth because of pelvic and hip soreness after running. He said my hip is rotated out and my pelvic bone was still sore because my son sat really low in my pregnancy. PT helped a little, but it's still there. I anticipated getting back to working out without a few months, as I kept up a routine during my pregnancy, but the reality is my body couldn't handle regular workouts for at least a year, which has been really frustrating." —Kerrie, 33, Grand Rapids, MI
"My eyesight got a whole point worse with each child. I started at 0.75 and was 1.75 after the first and 2.75 after the second. It's been two years since I had my second and they are still 2.75." —Stephanie, 34, Coopersburg, PA