10 Things You May Not Know About Pregnancy
Through the journey of pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a lot of transformative changes to facilitate the development of her baby and her own metamorphosis into a mother. Some of these changes can be subtle or obvious, while some other changes may be psychological or only noticeable to the expecting mother.
Listed below are 10 changes that a woman experiences through the course of her pregnancy.
A significant change in hormone production can affect the level of neurotransmitters. This alters the brain chemicals that regulate mood. Mood swings during pregnancy can also be triggered by stress, fatigue and changes in the metabolism.
With the uterus growing in size and rising out of the pelvic cavity; the stomach, intestines and other adjacent organs will make room. This causes decreased gastric motility/ constipation, increased reflux and heartburn. The pressure of the uterus on the stomach, along with the relaxation of the valve between stomach and esophagus allow acids from the stomach to reflux into the throat.
As the pregnancy progresses, breasts become larger and tender due to increased levels of estrogen and progestrone hormones. Nipples may stick out more and the first batch of yellow breastmilk (colostrum) may leak.
Vaginal lining tends to become thicker and makes the area less sensitive. Women observe whitish discharge and even vaginal bleeding (spotting) which are common and quite normal. In the case of heavy bleeding or pain, it is important to seek the help of a healthcare provider.
The changes in skin can be visible and even scare first-time moms. Hyperpigmentation occurs commonly due to hormonal changes and can be seen on the face, nipples, abdominal mid-line and the navel. Spider veins and reddening of palms are cause by hyperdynamic circulation and high levels of estrogen. Stretching of the skin can leave stretch marks on the thighs, breasts, abdomen and buttocks.
Fluctuation of pregnancy hormones and fatigue can cause leg cramps. Pregnancy weight, excess phosphorous, decrease in calcium or magnesium and compressed blood vessels are other triggers.
Constipation is pretty common as the digestion process will be slowed down while making space for the developing fetus. Do not strain yourself as that can lead to hemorrhoids. Instead, get some exercise, drink plenty of water during the day and increase the fiber intake. Consult your healthcare provider about medication and stool softeners.
Pregnancy hormones can affect gum blood vessels and cause them to swell up or bleed easily. It’s best to visit a oral-hygienist at least once during the course of the pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is caused by the chemical changes caused by increase in hormonal levels. Eating a balanced diet at the right time of day can curb vomiting.
As the baby grows further and starts to press against the diaphragm, mother’s experience shortness of breath (dyspnea).