What Physical Changes Happen During Pregnancy?

             What Physical Changes Happen During Pregnancy?

What Physical Changes Happen During Pregnancy?_ichhori.com

With pregnancy, it is expected for some changes to happen in a woman’s body. There are a variety of changes that happens that may range from common and expected to uncommon changes. These changes that pregnancy may bring are gaining weight, swelling of feet and hands, and fluid retention being some of the common ones. With these less common ones, there can be less familiar ones such as vision changes.

But these changes in the body are different for every woman. Each woman’s pregnancy is different. And, there are different stages of pregnancy and with each stage, your body may react in a different way.

Changes indicating your pregnancy.

Women take a pregnancy test to confirm that they are indeed pregnant. The first sign of pregnancy for most women is a missed menstrual cycle. In the early stage of pregnancy, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

·       Morning sickness

·       Constipation

·       Food cravings

·       Aversion to some food

·       Feeling the need to urinate more often

·       Pain in your lower abdomen and your joint

·       Constipation

·       Constantly feeling tired

·       Backaches

·       Haemorrhoids

·       Vaginal infection or thrush

·       Leg cramps and having restless leg

·       Itching on your skin

·       Having shortness of breath

·       Feeling dizzy and faint

·       Tender Breasts

·       Increase in the size of breasts

·       Swelling in your feet, hands, and ankles.

·       Lack of energy

If you experience any of the symptoms in extreme and find it difficult to manage, talk to your doctor about it. Ask for advice, in particular, if your morning sickness, any pains, dizziness or breathing difficulties is making it hard to get by a normal day.

What is morning sickness?

Morning sickness is the feeling of nausea or actual vomiting. The first thing to know about morning sickness is that the morning sickness may not only happen to you in the morning it can hit you at any time of day. Morning sickness happens differently to every pregnant woman. With your changing hormones, it normally starts at about the 6th week and settles by the 14th week. To make yourself feel better you can try these things:

  • Try drinking small amounts of fluid when you start feeling sick. Try drinking lemonade, any sports drinks, any fruit juice, a weak tea, any clear soup or a hot drink made of stock.
  • Try sucking on ice or ice blocks if you have difficulty keeping down other fluids.
  • Try anything with ginger like ginger tablets, dry ginger ale or a ginger tea.
  • With constant vomiting and nausea, you may not be able to eat healthily. So, try and eat small amounts of food more often, so you don’t have an empty stomach.
  • Eating a dry biscuit in the morning after waking up might prevent you from feeling sick.
  • Salty foods such as potato crisps or salty biscuits might also do the trick.
  • Suck on some sugar cubes or lollypops.
  • Avoid fatty, rich or spicy foods as they might make you sick.
  • Try to avoid the smell of any hot food it will make you nauseated.
  • Avoid cooking dishes or being around when food is being cooked with strong smells
  • And, lastly rest as much as you can.

But not all women’s morning sickness gets settled after some weeks, they may experience prolonged and excessive vomiting known as hyperemesis. This prolonged sickness can lead to dehydration if not treated. See your doctor if you are suffering from severe morning sickness. In some extreme cases, women might need to be treated with intravenous fluids. 

Pregnancy stages

There are three stages of pregnancy: first trimester, second trimester and third trimester. Some physical and emotional experiences are more common and some are different in each of these trimesters.

First trimester

In the first trimester:

  • You may feel really tired and lack energy.
  • You might also get some nauseous feeling. 
  • You might also gain some weight like1 or 2 kilograms, or maybe not gain any weight if you have morning sickness. Most of the weight you gain is in the placenta, your breasts, your uterus and extra blood.
  • Your heartbeat and breathing rates increase.
  • Your breasts tend to become tender, larger and heavier.
  • You may need to feel urinate more often because the growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder.
  • You might get mood swings where you feel mixed emotions in a short period of time.
  • Emotionally you will have mixed feelings. You might exactly know how you feel about having a baby, or you have no idea how to feel!

Second trimester

In the second trimester:

  • You start to feel better in the second trimester with you having less morning sickness, mood swings, and less fatigue.
  • You may not be able to focus at work or at home properly and be forgetful.
  • You may gain more weight than in the first trimester about 6 kilograms.
  • You may feel anxious and worried about some tests including an ultrasound done at this stage. But these tests will find out if anything is wrong with your health. If they do find any health issues, they will make sure your baby receives the right care.
  • Your hair may become thicker or your hair may start to fall out. In addition to it, your fingernails may become stronger or your nails may be softer and break more easily.
  • You may crave some foods more than others, for example, you may prefer sweet over spicy or crave more fatty foods.
  • You may be averse to the taste or smell of some foods.

Third trimester

In the third trimester:

  • Losing focus and forgetting may continue. 
  • Tiredness and uncomfortableness will continue in the third trimester.
  • You may be annoyed by the discomfort and not able to sleep properly because of a big stomach.
  • You may start to feel anxious and worry about labour as your due date nears.
  • You might gain a few more kgs but much of this weight is your baby, but also amniotic fluid, the placenta, your breasts, your blood and your uterus.
  • Due to so much weight on your belly you might get backache or pain.
  • The baby also puts pressure on your lungs making it harder for you to breathe.
  • In your last trimester you might feel Braxton Hicks contractions which are tightening of the muscles of the uterus. But it does not mean labour is starting.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy

With pregnancy, there are some hormonal and physiological changes that are unique. Pregnancy suddenly and dramatically increases estrogen and progesterone in a woman. Women also experience changes in the amount and function of other hormones. The hormonal changes don’t just affect the mood. They can also:

  • create that pregnancy glow
  • significantly help in the development of the foetus
  • change the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body

Estrogen and progesterone changes

Estrogen and progesterone are the two main pregnancy hormones. A woman produces more estrogen during her single pregnancy than throughout her entire life when she is not pregnant. This increase in estrogen during pregnancy makes the uterus and placenta to:

  • Improve vascularization i.e., the formation of blood vessels
  • Transfer more nutrients
  • Support the growth of baby
  • Additionally, estrogen also plays an important role in helping the foetus develop and mature.

Estrogen levels in the first two semesters increase steadily during pregnancy and reach their peak in the third trimester. This increase in estrogen levels during the first trimester is the cause of some nausea associated with pregnancy. During the second trimester, the estrogen level increases and also plays a major role in the development of milk ducts that may enlarge the breasts.

Progesterone levels are also extremely high during pregnancy. The changes in progesterone level may cause leniency or loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. In addition to this high levels of progesterone also causes internal structures to increase in size, such as the ureters. The ureters are the on that connect the kidneys with the maternal bladder. Progesterone also increases the size of the uterus to carry the baby. So, it is important for transforming the uterus from a small size in its non-pregnant state to a big size uterus that can accommodate a full-term baby.

All the changes in the body during pregnancy are not permanent. Some of the changes like hair fall and thick hair growth are permanent, while with weight gain you can decrease it by doing exercises. Also, the hormonal changes are not permanent during pregnancy.   

References: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/bodily-changes-during#hormonal-changes
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