Pregnancy brings about more than just a baby bump, swollen feet, or weight gain. There are many other physical changes during pregnancy that you might not have expected, so much so that you’ll keep asking yourself if you’re still normal. But don’t freak out just yet! These changes, no matter how strange they may be, may have also happened to other pregnant women.
Yay! You’re Getting a New Organ
It’s the placenta, which owns the title of being the only temporary organ a human can have. It develops a week into the pregnancy, when the fertilized egg implants in your uterine wall. The placenta’s porous wall has the important function of separating the baby’s blood from the mom’s and delivering food to the fetus, thanks to its interveillous spaces where food and oxygen from mom passes through and reaches the umbilical cord.
The transient organ also produces the necessary hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and hCG, the mom needs to get through the pregnancy and eventually, nursing the baby.
Fuzzy Memories Are There to Stay
Women do have pregnancy brain, when they often forget things. Live Science wrote that studies showed how pregnant women tank spatial memory tests compared to women who are not expecting. The site also wrote that the University of Bradford researchers suggested that this could be due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Say Hi to Loose Bones
You can’t expect to let a baby’s whole body out of you if you have stones as unmovable as mountains. Fortunately, pregnancy often allows a woman’s body do some magic by letting the cartilage relax, thanks to the hormone called relaxin. It helps the pubic symphysis, the pubic bone right in front of the bladder that houses the cartilage, loosen up a bit to ease up the delivery of the baby. However, relaxin is also the culprit why women often suffer from back and joint pain during pregnancy, a tailbone that hurts like no other, or even a change in shoe size. It is also the cause of sharp stomach pains that may plague you during the second and third trimesters, during which your round ligament is stretched in preparation for your delivery.
Morning Sickness Is Not Really Just “Morning” Sickness
You may feel queasy at lunch, in the evening; basically any time of the day. This is one of the physical changes during pregnancy that may haunt you until week 12.
Your Bladder Becomes A Squish Toy
Wherever you go, make sure to locate the nearest restroom first because you’ll be making frequent trips to it all throughout your pregnancy. As your baby grows inside you, he or she will press down on to your bladder, pelvic floor muscles, and urethra, possibly annoying you with the need to pee every now and then. Even a giggle, sneeze or cough would do the trick.
Make Way for More Blood in Your Body
Pregnancy is hard work, especially on your blood vessels. The 20th week of conception would mean the addition of 50 percent more blood in your body, which could also mean the appearance of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, or even the pregnancy glow that everyone will praise you for, thanks to the improved blood circulation in your body. However, your body also needs to welcome the possibility of nasal stuffiness and nosebleeds.
Embrace the Heartaches
And it’s not because you’re in pain. To accommodate your growing baby, your uterus will naturally expand, putting pressure on your digestive system and causing heartburn in the process. Live Science explained that stomach acids are controlled by the esophageal sphincter in the diaphragm that shuts the esophagus down whenever it detects increased pressure in the abdomen. However, this function goes haywire during pregnancy, no thanks to the hormone progesterone. You can expect more heart aches the bigger the baby grows inside of you.
Don’t Be Surprised by Tingly Hands
Swelling, or edema, is one of the physical changes during pregnancy that you have to put up, but it will also bring a domino effect within your body. It allows extra fluids to accumulate in your wrists and ankles with the help of gravity, which causes the tingly feeling in your wrists as it pinches your nerves. However, you can do away with this side effect once you have safely delivered your baby into the world.
Hello to a New Skin Color
Some pregnant women experience changes in their skin color due to melasma, wherein the body produces more melanin than normal. However, experts assured women that their skin will go back to normal either during pregnancy or within a few months after the birth of the baby.
Food Preference Changes May Happen
What used to be your favorite may not smell appealing to you anymore, or worse, it may cause you to revulsion. A woman’s sense of smell changes during her pregnancy. In some cases, pregnant women even resent the smell of their husband.
More Strange Hormonal Changes
Pregnancy opens your body to a lot of hormonal changes that may be the cause of that metallic taste disrupting your meals; the cramps that remind you of painful periods; thick and white or slimy, yellow vaginal discharge; spotting blood; and endless headaches.
How was your pregnancy? Or if you haven’t gone through it, what physical changes during pregnancy are you possibly dreading of experiencing?