It's no secret that pregnancy changes a woman’s body. When a woman carries a child, the chemical reactions that take place inside a woman’s body are enormous and every woman faces these changes differently.
Some changes are more prominent, while some are less prominent. Here are some of the most prominent factual changes during pregnancy.
The uterus is typically the size of an orange. But it can expand up to 500 times the size during pregnancy.
A pregnant woman's blood volume increases by 40-50%. When pregnant, blood volume increases as much as 50% to help supply enough oxygenated blood to the fetus.
Your voice can change during pregnancy. That’s because hormonal changes can cause your vocal folds to swell. It will most likely go back to normal after delivery or breastfeeding.
Parts of your body may change color. Women can also get melasma, which causes dark splotchy spots to appear on the face. The line down the stomach, called the linea nigra, also gets darker. The vagina can change color too.
Did you know that men can also experience pregnancy symptoms? This strange phenomenon, known as ‘Couvade Syndrome or ‘Sympathetic Pregnancy’’, sees some men experience weight gain, nausea, and swelling in tandem with their pregnant partners. Your partner may also experience pregnancy symptoms.
Your feet can ‘grow’ up to one full size. When a woman is pregnant, it’s not uncommon for her feet to ‘grow’, meaning you may have to go up a shoe size. There are a few reasons for this, including the loosening of your ligaments making your feet wider due to dropped arches, pregnancy weight gain, and the associated swelling.
Stretching of skin during pregnancy. The average woman has 17 square feet of skin when she is not pregnant. This stretches to an unbelievable 18.5 square feet by the ninth month of pregnancy.
Your baby gets fed before you from the digested food. All you get is the leftovers. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need for pregnancy.
Breathing isn’t always easy during pregnancy. As a result of the pressure from the growing uterus, the diaphragm cannot be drawn down as far during inhalation, leading you to feel that you cannot inhale deeply enough.
“Pregnancy Brain” is real! Many women complain about “pregnancy brain,” meaning that they get more forgetful and have a harder time focusing on what they are doing. pregnant women might often experience real challenges in their ability to focus.
“Pregnancy Nose” is a real thing too! Some women experience a heightened sense of smell. This is tied to the increased levels of estrogen that they experience during pregnancy. In some cases, this can be a rather pleasant experience, but other times, it can make a pregnant woman sick.
Your baby is safe during exercise. The circulatory system in your uterus becomes more efficient at extracting oxygen from your blood during exercise, making sure that your baby is never deprived during your workout. Be sure to work out at a comfortable, not competitive, level of exercise.
You may get a dark line down your tummy. This line usually appears in the second trimester and is associated with estrogen levels and melanocyte-stimulating hormone deposits under the skin.
Tingling fingers during pregnancy. You may have carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a little tunnel that runs from the bottom of your wrist to your lower palm. It can be put under pressure by swelling in your hand due to fluid build-up. It’s usually not severe, and it doesn’t last long.
Your joints loosen during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called relaxin that softens ligaments, the tissues that connect your joints. This is to help make the pelvis more flexible during childbirth.
You may crave very weird things. Pica is the term for pregnancy cravings that have little or no nutritional benefit and which may be harmful to you, such as cravings for dirt, clay, burnt matches, toothpaste, soap, sand, and even cigarette ashes. Contact your doctor.
Women grow a placenta, an extra organ during pregnancy, which produces hormones. The placenta will be birthed after your baby's vaginal birth and will be removed in a C-section surgery.
Your tummy muscles separate. This is called diastasis recti. This means no crunch-type abdominal exercises during the months of pregnancy.
Your uterus practices for the big day. Braxton Hicks are like the fire drill for when the real contractions show up. They feel different and maybe calmed by drinking a glass of water or having a bath.
Pregnant women produce more estrogen in a day than non-pregnant women do in a year!
That is not all! This kind of study is usually done on a small group of women or based on a survey, and it is really difficult to find all the possible factors that can happen during pregnancy across the world. There are so many things in the human body yet to be explored and discovered that science is still catching up to it.