Body Changes that Occur During Pregnancy

Body Changes that Occur During Pregnancy

A woman's body undergoes a million changes every single day all through pregnancy. Change is the only constant for her. The growing baby puts a lot of pressure on her body to expand and give space for it. Women gain almost 11 to 15kgs weight which is later shed off after the baby is born. Young women carrying their first baby must be well prepared to face all these changes and not be disappointed by what's happening to them. Gynaecologists say it's just a matter of time and staying healthy is most important. Read on to find what are those changes and how they happen.

1. Breasts – The first part of the body that is influenced by the female hormones are the breasts. They don’t grow enormously but are bigger by a few cups. In the early weeks of pregnancy and in the last trimester, due to increased levels of estrogen, breasts ache to cause discomfort to the mother. Breasts also feel very heavy and tender to touch. Only a tight bra and adequate rest can provide relief but cannot heal the pain completely.

2. Uterus Expansion – The uterus and the abdomen area where the embryo grows into a tiny human lot of changes happen every second. As the pregnancy proceeds, the stomach bloats to provide enough space for the baby. The uterus grows 30 times its original size by the end of 40weeks, its end touching the rib cage.

3. Swelling of Feet and Hands – As the baby grows, the abdomen too expands and puts a lot of pressure on the kidneys and liver. This makes the organs to slow down with filtering waste and passing out urine and stools. When the waste isn’t excreted out, water retention is seen in the body especially in the areas like feet, ankles, and hands. Since the legs carry the weight of the body, most of the swelling is seen near the legs. Resting the feet on pillows and eating less salt will help relieve the swelling.

4. Hair Growth on the Face and Legs – During pregnancy, the skin also undergoes a lot of changes. Some women glow all through their pregnancy but some of them see a lot of hair growth on the body especially the face and legs. This is due to the sudden increase in hormones during pregnancy. Such hair is not permanent and drops off automatically after the delivery.

5. Darkening of The Neck Area – Again due to the sudden rush of hormones, women’s skin undergoes hyper-pigmentation and the neck area darkens. Women who are overweight end up with dark neck area. Similarly, the nipple area and the areolas too darken and get back to normal skin tone after the baby is born.

6. Stretch Marks on the Stomach – The flexibility of a woman’s body is known only during pregnancy. Along with the growing baby, the stomach expands just like a balloon, making the skin stretch like never before. Our skin is highly elastic and stretches so well but in this process, small scars or stretch marks appear on the tummy, thighs, buttocks and breast area. Applying a moisturiser or some coconut oil helps but a few scars are seen post pregnancy too.

7. Raised body temperature – All through pregnancy, some women notice a slightly high body temperature. This is absolutely normal because of all the sea changes happening internally. Never take paracetamol to relieve fever without a Gynaecologist’s advice. The temperature comes back to normal once the body adjusts to pregnancy.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad