My Strangest Postpartum Symptom

I had a pretty classic pregnancy. All the strange effects happened at the right time, stopped around the right time and played out exactly as the text book said they would. I skipped a few of the more unpleasant ones, but mostly my pregnancy was predictable. Postpartum recovery? Not so much.

First I completely skipped that ravenous appetite during breastfeeding that everyone promised me. I have to force myself to eat most days and ironically, my weight hasn’t changed either, but more on that another time. I’ve been losing my hair like I’m supposed to, and my libido is waaaaaay low. I expected all of this, but there is one symptom that I did not expect.

When we started taking walks and otherwise resuming exercising in an attempt to lose some of the baby weight, a strange thing happened. After about 10 minutes of any activity, from walking to playing Just Dance on the XBox, both of my legs would break out in hives. Not like one or two, like from hip to toes, front and back, covered in red, raised, itchy hives. Without taking an anti-histamine they last for about an hour.

I have plenty of allergies, so hives are not a new phenomenon for me, but these are a mystery. There’s no food trigger, I’ve eaten something different every time. There’s no environmental trigger, it’s happened in 3 completely different cities, not to mention indoors and outdoors. And it doesn’t seem to be activity dependent. It’s happened from several different aerobic exercises. And let’s be honest, I’m not out running marathons. I’m talking like 30 minute walks. It’s not clothing dependent or in places where things rub together. It’s seriously, completely bizarre.

I have an appointment with my primary care doctor next week to hopefully get a referral to an allergist, but until then, I’m afraid to exercise. I’ve been trying to see if shorter walks lead to less reactions (so far, yes), but I also know that 10 minutes of exercise a day isn’t really cutting it. And as much as I’d like to take multiple short walks, it’s so hot here during the day that the only time exercise is even kind of reasonable is in the evening. This whole thing is just so very weird.

I was prepared for a lot of changes postpartum, but someone failed to warn me about this one. Has anyone else experienced activity related hives postpartum, or is this just me being a, uh, trailblazer?

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