“Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom.”
– Harriette Hartigan
Pregnancy is the most important phase of a woman’s life. The magical ability of her body to give birth to another being is beyond beautiful. The body that carries the child goes through numerous changes during pregnancy. Everything changes! From her belly to the rate at which her heart pumps. There is just so much to know about the changes which is why this article is going to be of immense use.
Here we pen down all the changes that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy.
Pregnant women often feel out of breath or difficulty in breathing. Oxygen consumption at this stage is high. This higher maternal oxygen consumption facilitates a rise in the respiratory rate. The higher oxygen intake is required by the body to meet the demands of the uterus, the placenta and the fetus.
The cardiovascular system of the body undergoes tremendous changes. There is more growth of blood vessels and blood volume increases extensively. Since the uterus expands during pregnancy, it puts strain on the vein and the blood flow back to the heart is slowed down.
As stated above, during pregnancy the uterus expands and gets out of the pelvic opening. This causes displacement of stomach and intestines and subsequently the organs that reside adjacently. This results in constipation and heartburn.
Pregnancy flushes a ton of hormones inside the body. Increased level of estrogen and progesterone results in larger and more tender breasts. The breasts become even more enlarged as the body is about to deliver the baby as it prepares itself for breastfeeding.
The body goes through a lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone hormones produced by placenta in the 10th to 12th week helps the uterus grow. The pituitary gland of the brain releases oxytocin which is responsible for actuating labor and prolactin that stimulate the creation of breast milk. The parathyroid gland helps meet the calcium necessities of the body. Hormonal changes also lead to change in hair and nail textures.
Evidently, the whole shape and size of the abdomen changes. In the second trimester which is from week 13 to week 27 of pregnancy, the abdomen enlarges. The abdominal walls and ligaments support the uterus and hence when they stretch, sides of abdomen starts throbbing.
Pregnant women urinate frequently because there is pressure on the urinary bladder due to expansion of the uterus. Bladder is not under the control because of which there is leakage of urine while sneezing, coughing and even laughing.
Skin also faces a lot of changes. There are stretch marks on the body, especially in areas of thighs, buttocks, abdomen and breasts. As the skin expands during pregnancy, stretch marks are caused. Increased level of estrogen in the body also results in reddening of the palms and sometimes may cause clusters of tiny blood vessels, also called spider veins.
When we discuss posture, we discuss spinal cord. Since the body now carries extra weight, the spinal curvatures readjust to maintain proper balance. Women experience back pain due to increased ligament loosening around the pelvis. The extra baggage also results in leg cramps.
These are the many changes that a woman’s body undergoes from the time of conception till the time of birth.
Ashwathi is an enthusiastic traveller and dancer with a passion for movies and music. Hailing from an Army background, she considers herself fortunate enough to have experienced the diverse cultures that India boasts of. She is a graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications and has worked in print, radio and television.