A woman’s body will undergo tremendous changes during pregnancy.
This is due to the influx and change in hormones through the process, as well as your body supplying life to the growing baby inside you.
Most Common Body Changes During Pregnancy
As pregnancy progresses, you will discover new ways in which your body has changed. Here are a few of the most common body changes during pregnancy that most women will notice:
1. Skin differences
It’s not uncommon for some women to develop patches on the skin called chloasma.
They present as yellowish or brownish in color and often occur on the face. The increased blood volume in pregnancy can cause an increase in oil gland secretion.
Another common skin change during pregnancy is the ‘linea nigra’ that shows as a dark line on the midline of the lower abdomen.
Dark patches (hyperpigmentation) can also appear on other areas of the body due to the body producing more pigment.
One of the more unpleasant body changes during pregnancy can involve an outbreak of acne due to the sebaceous glands producing more oil than normal.
2. Vision changes
Those hormones are again to blame for causing changes in your eyes.
The glands in your eyes can produce less oil to keep the eyes moist. A lower level of hormones can cause the eyes to dry out.
There can be refractive changes in your eyesight and the clarity of your vision can be affected.
Water retention can thicken the cornea and alter the surface area of the eye, which in turn changes the way light refracts.
However, it’s important to note that blurred vision, flashing lights, floaters, dark spots and the inability to focus can be indicative of preeclampsia. This is dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy that requires medical attention.
Most women find that their vision returns to normal soon after giving birth, but it’s always good to get your eyes checked using your vision insurance benefits. A new prescription might be needed after you’ve had your baby
3. Oral health
Along with looking after your vision, it’s important to pay attention to your dental health too.
Pregnancy can cause your gums to swell and those changing hormones can mean that your body reacts differently to the plaque on your teeth. Swollen and bleeding gums can result in serious gum disease or gingivitis.
It has been proven that oral disease can be attributed to some adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preeclampsia and premature births.
Having a healthy balanced diet can also help keep your teeth and gums healthy, before and after birth.
Along with vision changes, you might be more predisposed to getting migraines and sensitivity to light.
Some women may find that they get lots of headaches. Most of them will occur in early pregnancy and usually improve or stop completely during the last six months of pregnancy.
Over 25% of women can expect to experience migraines due to hormone fluctuations. It’s not surprising that changes in estrogen levels can have a big impact on the frequency that a pregnant woman might suffer with migraine attacks.
5. Stretch marks
Stretch marks very much come down to how well your skin copes with the physical stretching alongside hormonal changes in the skin’s elasticity.
A lot of people say that it comes down to genetics and pure luck, but 90% of women can expect to experience stretch marks in some form.
They first appear as pink and purple in color and then eventually fade to the natural color of your skin, with a bumpy texture.
6. Hair and nails
Pregnancy can cause noticeable differences in your hair and nail growth.
Hormone changes can cause excessive hair shedding and even hair loss or it can go in the opposite direction where women experience more rapid hair growth and thickening during pregnancy.
You may even experience hair growth in new places, but most of these unwanted areas of hair return to their normal state after your baby is born.
Lots of women report having lots of baby hairs around their hairline, where hair is growing back.
It’s fairly common to shed hair for up to a year after giving birth while the hormones in your body begin to regulate back to their normal levels.
If you struggle to grow your nails normally, then you might be pleasantly surprised to have lovely strong nails during your pregnancy, thanks to your daily vitamins and growth hormones present in your body.
7. Your voice
Perhaps a lesser-known body change during pregnancy is the fact that your voice can alter.
Estrogen and progesterone contribute to many changes in the body and due to this can cause a slight swelling of the vocal cords.
The pitch of your voice may change slightly, with the loss of some higher notes and the appearance of some lower ones.
8. Joint/muscle changes
Throughout your pregnancy, your hormones affect your muscles and joints.
The hormones relaxin and progesterone relax muscles and loosen ligaments and joints, primarily in the pelvis (that is gearing up for childbirth).
It can be easy to strain your muscles doing activities that would be normal for you.
Be aware that you might pull your muscles more easily and in particular your back, where your weakening stomach muscles start to pull your spine forward.
If you like to exercise regularly, then it’s good to be aware of the possible sprains and strains you might suffer due to your ligaments being looser.
9. Shoe size
This might seem like a surprising change that can happen to your body and there are various reasons why your feet may grow in size.
Those loosened ligaments can be to blame here and cause the joints in your feet to widen, along with weight gain and swelling.
Often women report that they go up half a shoe size, meaning that they will need to go shoe shopping after they have given birth.
10. Sense of smell
This is often one of the early indicators of pregnancy that stays with you until birth.
Smells that wouldn’t normally bother you, might suddenly become offensive or extremely strong.
This heightened sense of smell can cause aversions to all sorts of places. Fried food and smoke are at the top of the list as the most likely to offend a pregnant lady’s senses, which often can even induce nausea and/or vomiting.
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The body changes that happen during pregnancy can be a bit annoying, but you’ll get through them! Soon enough you’ll realize it was all worth it when you see your sweet baby in your arms.