Body Changes During Pregnancy
Various physical and emotional changes take place when a woman becomes pregnant. But while these changes are expected, they are not present in all pregnancies. Every pregnancy is unique; hence, it is helpful to tell your doctor about any change that you notice in your body.
It is common for women to get compliments about having a “pregnancy glow”. This is actually just one of the many expected changes to the skin due to an increase in pregnancy hormones and stretching of the skin as the pregnancy progresses.
An increase in the hormones estrogen and progesterone is believed to give the skin a natural glow. Increase in blood volume and blood supply to the skin also nourishes skin cells. However, sebaceous glands are also expected to secrete more oil during pregnancy, which may lead to development of acne.
Some women develop yellowish or brownish patches in the skin, called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy on their faces. Previously light freckles may become darker and bigger. Other hyperpigmentations include darkening of the nipples and the perineum. A linea nigra, or a dark line that forms in the middle of the lower abdomen, may make some women feel self-conscious. If you are one who loves the water, it may be a good time to start wearing a one piece instead of the usual two-piece swimsuit. Aside from darkening of the nipple, most of this hyperpigmentations will disappear at the end of pregnancy. Wearing sunblock may be helpful to reduce permanent skin darkening.
Fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy cause sudden changes in mood. One minute you might feel overjoyed and the next minute you may be crying for no reason at all. If you suffer from PMS, you are more likely to experience mood swings while pregnant – more pronounced during the first trimester and towards the end of the third.
Breast engorgement is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and breast tissues are expected to grow due to hormonal changes during the first trimester. However, your breast can still continue to grow throughout your pregnancy, especially towards the end as it becomes filled with milk in preparation for breastfeeding during delivery. Expect to change bra sizes numerous times while you are pregnant.
As your pregnancy progresses, it will be normal to no longer fit into your pre-pregnancy apparel – including your footwear. The increased fluid volume in your body can cause your feet to swell. Prolonged standing causes blood and fluid to pool in your feet. Aside from wearing bigger-sized footwear, it is also advised to avoid standing for long periods and to elevate your legs whenever possible.