New-mom body care

For the not-so-pretty side effects of pregnancy and childbirth

Soothing soaks

If you have hemorrhoid or episiotomy pain (or, poor you, both), take a sitz bath in warm water. “Hot water will increase swelling,” says Bruce Tisch, M.D., an OB-GYN in Englewood, N.J.

Vein vanishers

Being able to see your feet again is great; seeing newly conspicuous veins isn’t. Self-tanners and body makeup offer temporary cover. If you’re not nursing, ask your dermatologist about sclerotherapy, in which veins are injected with a blood-dissolving solution.

Stretch-mark minimizers

Stretch marks are proof of the body’s amazing ability to nurture new life. Still, they’re best combated when relatively new. While the jury is out on whether topical treatments can actually eliminate them. Also ask your dermatologist about treatments such as Retin-A and lasers.

Breast friends

For all of the rewards of breastfeeding (and they’re innumerable), nursing may leave nipples sore and cracked. Nipple creams and balms can help.

Spot reduction

Melasma, or the mask of pregnancy, consists of hormone-induced facial splotches. Be sure to wear a full-spectrum SPF 15 sunblock, since exposure to ultraviolet light can cause dark splotches to darken even more.

Rave-winning rub

Shaping up calls for a proper diet and regular exercise.

Hair thickeners

Once you have your baby, you may start shedding hair at an alarming rate. Your hair eventually should return to its prepregnancy thickness; until then, try a volumizer.