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The Momma Manual: Get to Know Your Pregnant Body Better

The momma manual

If you thought Harry Potter had exclusive rights to the chamber of secrets, you’d be wrong. Turns out you do too. Your body stirs up an assortment of internal changes during pregnancy, creating a marvelous ecosystem to support you and your baby. And while you may only see changes that happen on the outside, there’s so much more than meets the eye. Body Changes During PregnancyIn this manual, we thought we’d provide you with a peephole to the changes that occur in your body while you’re pregnant. Here, have a look. Type of ChangeDescriptionEffectsRespiratory changesOxygen circulation is partially rerouted to serve the uterus, placenta, fetus and other necessary organs

  • Faster breathing
  • Respiratory alkalosis
  • Reduced functional capacity
  • Tendency to gasp or pant

Breast changesHigher levels of oestrogen and progesterone can cause breast enlargement and tenderness; breasts become largest as a woman approaches her due date as a means of supporting milk production

  • Prominent nipples
  • Leaking of colostrum from the breasts
  • Soreness of breasts

Abdominal changesThe abdomen starts to expand in the second trimester, taking position under the rib cage by the third trimester

  • Abdominal pain on either side
  • Rib pain

Urological changesAs the uterus expands, it begins to weigh down key organs like the bladder, urethra and pelvic muscles

  • Bladder control issues
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Increased kidney function due to increased waste circulation

Cardiovascular changesCardiovascular organs work harder to pump out more blood and grow the blood vessels; blood flow to the heart is slowed down because of the weight of the uterus on large veins

  • Augmented heart output
  • Increased blood volume
  • Increased resting heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower leg swelling

Gastrointestinal changesThe uterus displaces the stomach, intestines and other gastrointestinal organs as it rises out of the pelvic cavity, causing changes in digestion

  • Constipation
  • Acidity

Endocrine changesThe placenta secretes copious amounts of oestrogen and progesterone, promoting prenatal growth and development

  • Hot flushes
  • Increase in size of the parathyroid gland
  • Stimulation of prolactin and labour by the anterior and posterior pituitary glands respectively

Musculoskeletal changesA change in spinal curvature causes a postural shift; muscles and joints become lax due to an increase in relaxin levels

  • Back pain
  • Susceptibility to joint or muscular injury
  • Change in posture

Skin changesPhysical and hormonal changes cause skin to stretch, pigment and redden

  • Stretch marks on the abdomen, breasts and thighs
  • Hyperpigmentation of the face, abdomen and breasts
  • Reddened hands
  • Spider veins caused by hyperdynamic circulation

Weight changesExpected weight gain during pregnancy ranges from 12 to 17 kg; 1 - 1.5 kg in the first trimester and then 1.5 - 2 kg every month until delivery

  • Lower back pain
  • Inflexibility
  • Leg cramps

It’s always worth knowing why your body is responding in a certain way during pregnancy. Now that you’ve opened up your very own chamber of secrets, keep the key close. This is one that you wouldn’t want to lose.

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