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Changes to Your Body When Pregnant

August 30, 2015

Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll notice obvious physical changes to your body, but will be fascinated to know what is also happening internally. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the changes your body will be going through to grow your baby to term.

Physical Changes

Belly: Expect to see a rounding of your tummy around Week 12. This is when most women start to look pregnant. As your baby continues to grow, so will your stomach. By the end of the second trimester, the top of your uterus will be near your rib cage! Your belly may hurt from one side to the other, as your abdomen is being stretched.

Body Weight: A woman who was average weight before getting pregnant will most likely gain 25 to 35 pounds after becoming pregnant. Underweight women may gain 28 to 40 pounds. And overweight women may gain only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy. (Via webmd.com)

Breasts: It is very common for your breasts to become sore and tender while pregnant. This is due to hormonal changes. Breast tenderness is actually one of the first signs of pregnancy!

Skin: They don’t say that pregnant women have a glow for no reason! Many pregnant women’s skin has a sudden glow or redness and pinkish streaks on their face. And, as many as women try to prevent it, stretch marks are inevitable for many women (90% of women get stretch marks!).

Hair and Nails: Some women also have found that their hair and nails grow faster and even change in texture.

Swelling: Many women begin to notice slight swelling during the second trimester, which can and often does continue into the third trimester. It can be alleviated in some cases through rest, avoiding long periods of standing, avoiding caffeine and sodium, and increasing dietary potassium.

Internal Changes

Hormonal Changes: Pregnant women experience sudden increases in estrogen and progesterone, as well as changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones. These changes can not only affect mood, but they also significantly aid in the development of the fetus, and alter the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body.

Heart Beat and Blood Volume During Pregnancy: During the second trimester of pregnancy, the mother’s heart at rest is working 40% harder. Heart rate may increase up to 15% during pregnancy. Blood volume also increases progressively during pregnancy, beginning in weeks 6-8 and continues until weeks 32-34. The volume of plasma also increases by 40-50% and red blood cell mass 20-30%, creating a need for increased iron and folic acid intake.

Breathing and Blood Oxygen Levels: During pregnancy, the amount of air moved in and out of the lungs increases by nearly 50% due to two factors: Each breath has a greater volume of air, and the rate of breathing increases slightly. As the uterus enlarges, the movement of the diaphragm may be limited; therefore, some women report the feeling of increased difficulty in taking deep breaths. Even without exercise, these changes may cause shortness of breath or the feeling of being “air hungry.” Exercise programs may increase these symptoms. (Via healthline.com)

Body Temperature Changes: An increase in basal body temperature is one of the first hints of pregnancy, and a slightly higher core temperature will be maintained through the duration of pregnancy. (No wonder we get so hot throughout the day!) Women also have a greater need of water during pregnancy, and are at higher risk for dehydration. So, DRINK UP!

Did you experience any body changes while pregnant that surprised you?

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Author Info

Avatar for Lacey Pappas

Lacey Pappas

Mother of 2 silly boys and a new baby girl. Happily married. Love to laugh, inspire others, take pretty photos, and curl up with a good book.

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One thought on “Changes to Your Body When Pregnant

Avatar for Angela Silva

Angela Silva

Hot flashes! I was so shocked in my third trimester to experience a hot flash and was so worried until I realized what it was. Just another wonderful effect of the ever-changing pregnancy hormones 🙂