Pregnancy changes a woman. There are physical changes such as the protruding of the belly, and there are other changes that occur internally. For instance, some organs might have the shift to accommodate the size of the growing baby as your small uterus expands unimaginably.
Most of the changes during pregnancy are a result of the hormonal changes that occur with the growing fetus – they change the way a woman looks and feels. Below are some common changes.
1. Blood Volume Increases Significantly
The blood in a woman’s body increases by 50 percent to promote the health of the fetus and support the expanding uterus. The heart will pump more blood in one minute in a pregnant woman than in any other woman. The heart can be seen pumping blood from the chest as it has to work harder to meet the needs of the mother and the child.
However, this extra blood can end up pooling in the lower extremities of the body, causing varicose veins. This can be combatted by getting regular exercise or wearing pantyhose to help keep the blood from pooling.
2. An Entire Organ Grows
This is the only time in the life of an adult where an organ grows, the placenta. The placenta develops inside the uterus to supply oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and to remove waste products. This new organ grows on the upper part of your uterus and connects to the baby through the umbilical cord.
After birth, the placenta has no use being in the uterus and it is expelled through your birth canal. Some women believe that the placenta has numerous health benefits, and they ingest it – this is called placentophagia.
3. You Become Flexible
Although you will add weight during pregnancy, because your appetite will be on steroids, you will feel more flexible as the ligaments soften. Hormone relaxing will soften the ligaments that hold bones to bones to increase the size of your hips and your belly to accommodate the growing fetus. After giving birth, your joints will go back to normal, so it shouldn’t worry you.
Sometimes, the ligaments loosen more than they are supposed to, and you might experience pain and discomfort among other symptoms. This may lead to a condition known as diastasis recti where the abdominal wall muscles separate. If you experience this, talk to your physician for a remedy.
4. Your Face and Hair Glow
The excitement and happiness of being a to-be-mum can make you glow. However, there is also a physiological reason for the glow. When more blood flows through a woman’s body, and especially the face, it makes the face appear brighter and flushed. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the increasing levels of hormones in a woman’s body stimulates the oil glands to produce more oil, giving the woman pregnancy glow.
As a woman glows, the hair also looks better. During pregnancy, women stop shedding hair and instead grow more hair. For a woman who is not pregnant, between 85 and 95 percent of the hair is constantly growing; the rest is in limbo just waiting to fall off. Thanks to the increase in estrogen levels, a pregnant woman loses less hair and instead grows more. If you need to grow your hair, this might be the time.
However, after birth, the hair might fall off. Again, you might grow body hair (besides what’s on your head), and that is something you may not like.
5. Shortness of Breath
As the uterus grows, it presses the diaphragm and a woman might experience shortness of breath. This is common in the third trimester. Thanks to the progesterone in your body, your breathing will change so that you can exhale as much carbon IV oxide as possible to accommodate your growing fetus and your body.
As the pregnancy progresses, a woman’s appetite increases so that they can eat enough to support themselves and the growing fetus. The changes in hormones will make a woman develop a liking or dislike for certain foods or people or conditions. Whatever changes you experience, they all disappear after pregnancy. If any changes make you uncomfortable or you feel painful, see your physician.
By Samantha Higgins