Almost everyone knows at least one pregnant woman. They are often easy to spot because they have that glow.Expected mothers are also easily identifiable by their growing bellies and wattle. Pregnancy is a life-changing experience, which can cause a woman's body to endure significant changes during the nine months of childbearing.
While women expect an expanding waistline, fuller breasts and some stretch marks, some mothers-to-be aren't aware of all the changes their bodies will go through during pregnancy.Some of these changes may be invisible to the eye, but it can help to know what to look for and what to expect so you can be better prepared for your pregnancy.
Here's a look at all the ways your body changes during those nine months.
Changes to Your Endocrine System
Some of the first changes women experience during their first trimester are shifts in their mood and energy levels. This is primarily due to the increase of certain hormones, which can also be responsible for the nausea many women experience during pregnancy.Our endocrine system consists of several glands that release hormones throughout the body.
The hormones that relate to pregnancy are:
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
- Human placental lactogen (HPL)
Pregnancy Impacts a Woman's Musculoskeletal System
The spine is one of the most affected areas of a woman's body during pregnancy. The weight of a growing baby can cause a pregnant woman's centre of gravity to shift, which may result in postural and biomechanical stress or imbalances.The added weight and strain on the woman's back may cause pain in the lower spine, sacrum and pelvic regions. Additionally, a pronounced lordotic curve can make women more susceptible to injury.
A prenatal chiropractor may be able to perform modified adjustments to address these imbalances and postural issues. Prenatal chiropractic care may also aim to relax muscles and correct posture, which may improve back or neck stiffness and relieve the stress on your pelvis.During pregnancy, your body releases the hormone relaxin, which loosens the ligaments in your body. This means you may experience round joint pain and be more susceptible to overstretching or straining the joints in your pelvis, lower back, and knees.
Women Experience Constipation While Pregnant
During pregnancy, the uterus expands on the bowels, muscles in the bowels relax and the increase of hormones can slow down digestion. As a result, many women experience constipation during pregnancy.
Issues with Fluid Retention while Pregnant
While weight gain comes with the nature of being pregnant, some of the extra weight women carry during the second and third trimesters comes from water retention.As the due date approaches women may experience swelling in their feet, face, hands and ankles.
Skin and Nail Changes During Pregnancy
Some women may experience a pregnancy glow while others may experience dreaded pregnancy acne. Increased blood circulation and hormones are responsible for these changes and they may also cause your nails and hair to grow faster.Women's breasts continue to grow and change throughout pregnancy, some women may experience hyperpigmentation on the areolas and the veins may appear more noticeable.
Other Body Changes During Pregnancy
While backaches, skin changes and mood swings are some of the more noticeable changes a woman may experience during pregnancy, there are numerous transformations she may experience.Some of these changes are visible and physical while other shifts, such as changes to body temperature, can only be felt.
Additional changes women may experience during pregnancy include:
- Morning sickness
- Fuller breasts
- Bleeding gums
- Varicose veins
- Frequent urination
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Overheating (Hyperthermia)
- Dizziness, feeling lightheaded or fainting
- Changed in your vision
- Linea Nigra (The dark line from the navel to your pubic hairline)
Pregnancy causes significant changes to a woman's body, some of these changes may be minor while others cause significant pain and discomfort. It can help to have a health plan and see your doctor monthly for ongoing prenatal appointments. During these regular appointments, you can raise concerns, ask questions and ask about the changes you are experiencing.