What changes occur during pregnancy?
So many changes in our bodies take place during pregnancy. A new surprise almost every day!
If you’re pregnant for the first time, everything will be new for you. You’re always wondering if this or that is normal. You might compare yourself to your friends around you to better understand changes in your body. You might feel as if you’re losing control of your body. In fact, you are!
For those who have already had children, a new pregnancy brings on questions and concerns, because one pregnancy may be entirely different from another, even if you have experience. Each pregnancy, each birth is unique.
During this transition period to becoming a parent, stress and anxiety may appear. Recent studies on the topic indicate that it doubles. You continuously need to adapt and deal with things that are often outside of your control. A pregnancy has physical impacts, of course, but psychological and emotional effects occur as well. As you’ll see, it’s possible to stay balanced, to find your comfort zone even with all the unknowns.
Changes that occur throughout the three trimesters of pregnancy can be very different from one woman to another. I know that you like to compare yourselves to each other, but it’s so different for each of you! Every woman is unique. For some, symptoms might start at the beginning of pregnancy, while for others, the same symptom might arrive in the last trimester, for example, reflux.
I usually talk about the three significant phenomena that occur in women from the start of pregnancy. These can explain many of the symptoms or things you feel. I really think that understanding these elements can help you accept some of the discomforts you will feel. Always keep in mind that many of them are temporary but necessary for the proper evolution of your pregnancy.
You will see that these three pregnancy phenomena will impact your whole body and bring on symptoms that can sometimes be unpleasant.
A notable increase in your metabolism by 15% to 30%, meaning that many organs, glands and other structures will function faster than usual.
This phenomenon often leads to serious fatigue for the pregnant woman during the 1st and 3rd trimester leading to a lack of energy.
For others, they might be diagnosed with a thyroid gland problem, an imbalance that will require medical monitoring. Or blood sugar levels, what we call glycemia, might be outside of normal standards. These examples show you how pregnancy can change how your body functions.
Increased Blood Volume
A 40% to 50% increase in blood volume will lead to an increased in your heart function, load and heartbeat. It’s logical; your heart will beat faster in response to the increase in blood flow circulation. In fact, during pregnancy, you will never have had so much blood in your system. An additional 50% is huge!
Have any of you had a bleeding nose during your pregnancy? Have your gums bled when brushing your teeth? This is normal given that your blood vessels are bursting with blood. Blowing your nose or brushing your teeth can lacerate the surface blood capillaries and cause light bleeding.
Are you often out of breath? Your heartbeat has gone wacky with palpitations. All of these symptoms are related to the increased cardiac load and the adjustments your heart has to make. The harder the heart works, the more the lungs have to increase their pace.
Ha! Our charming hormones! These are mainly progesterone and estrogen, which have impacts around your body. They relax specific tissues or dilate certain blood vessels. Hormones rarely go unnoticed!
Nausea, migraines, drop in blood pressure, syncopations, frequent back pain, varicose veins in your lower appendages…all of these pregnancy issues are concrete examples of possible hormonal impacts.
All of these symptoms are possible but won’t affect every person. Moreover, they won’t last for the whole pregnancy, thank goodness! Each person will experience their pregnancy differently, and it’s important to understand what is happening to you. Understand that it’s normal, play it down, and above all reduce the anxiety you may have about all these changes.
I wish you a healthy pregnancy!
To learn more, read these articles:
- Ha! Our Charming Hormones! (in french)
- Anxiety During the Perinatal Period
- Vaccinations for Pregnant Women and Babies (in french)
Or watch these videos (in french):
The Baby Expert