How Your Body Changes During Pregnancy
The Big Three: Hormones, Weight, and Size
Pregnancy is a transformative process, during which your body will go through many changes. These changes are caused by the hormones associated with pregnancy, which cause physical alterations in your body, as well as changes in your weight and size.
Hormones: Preparing Your Body for Baby
Your body produces a variety of hormones, such as human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), estrogen, progesterone, relaxin and prolactin, during pregnancy to help prepare the uterus and other organs for the new baby.
- hCG helps support the placenta, which provides oxygen and nutrition for the baby.
- Estrogen helps the uterus get ready for implantation and to grow properly.
- Progesterone helps with blood flow and prepares the body for childbirth.
- Relaxin helps the ligaments relax to allow the birth canal to expand.
- Prolactin helps the mom’s breasts produce milk.
Weight and Size: Expecting the Unexpected
Most women can expect to gain some weight during pregnancy, and the feet may also become bigger due to increased water retention. In addition, the chest can enlarge and the nipples can become darker in color.
|Average Weight Gain||Week 20||Week 40|
|Normal Pregnancy||11-16 lbs||25-35 lbs|
|Multiple Pregnancy||20-25 lbs||35-45 lbs|
In addition to the changes in weight, pregnant women may experience swelling of the feet and ankles, and a broadening of the rib cage. The abdomen can also expand, due to the presence of the baby and subsequent changes in the abdominal muscles.
Other Changes That Can Occur During Pregnancy
- Digestion: Digestive processes can slow down, leading to constipation, heartburn, and nausea.
- Skin: Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate tightness in the neck and lower back, which is common during pregnancy. Stretch marks are also common, and can be prevented with the use of special oils and lotions.
- Posture: As the baby grows, you may notice changes in your posture due to the added weight. Regular stretching and yoga can help alleviate the strain on your muscles.
- Sleep Patterns: The amount of sleep you get can decrease as the baby grows. This can be mitigated by creating a comfortable sleeping environment and taking advantage of any naps when possible.
The beauty of Pregnancy
The changes that occur during pregnancy are varied and numerous, but the beauty of this process should be celebrated. Your body is working hard to nurture and sustain the life of your unborn baby, so it’s important to take care of yourself and appreciate this amazing journey.
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