24/01/2014 10:25 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

How Having A Baby Changes You

How Childbirth Will Change Your Life

No matter how much research and planning you've done, most new parents are shocked by the many ways in which life changes after having a baby.

It's impossible to know exactly what to expect when your baby arrives - and this uncertainty means that many first-time mums don't fully enjoy motherhood until their baby is six months old, according to new research.

More than half of the women involved in the study reported that they felt they had lost their identity after having a child, and they struggled to adjust to the fact they couldn't go out whenever they wanted to anymore.

"When thinking about motherhood we tend to assume it's the pregnancy which is the main hurdle, and that when the baby is born we'll feel that first rush of love and then everything will be okay," commented a spokeswoman for Nurofen for Children, which commissioned the report.

"In reality, the really hard work starts when the baby enters the world. There is a huge amount of adjustment for both parents, but for mums in particular as they go from being independent, career focused people to having to spend 24 hours a day caring for someone else."

The biggest challenge reported by women after giving birth was the lack of knowledge about their new role as a mother. More than half of them were surprised to find their confidence was knocked because they felt they didn't know what they were doing and were baffled by many aspects of motherhood, including why their baby was crying and how to go about setting a routine.

The arrival of a new - needy - family member can also put a strain on your relationship with your partner, with 44Slideshow-157435%