- Pregnancy results in a set of changes in the woman’s body
- Hormonal action is the main reason for the physical changes
- Respiratory system works towards retaining maximum oxygen
- Blood volume increases and supplies more oxygen to the organs
- Ligaments and muscles changes to support childbirth as pregnancy meets the last weeks.
When we utter the word pregnancy, the image that comes to our mind is of a woman with big belly, glowing skin and good hair. She will be carrying her large stomach proudly, but her face would be in fatigue. Still, there is a beauty in carrying that little one inside.
From being a slender beauty or a fat, chubby pretty woman, she may have transformed into a large figure with the pregnancy. But, isn’t that prettier? With the physical appearance, pregnancy brings some changes to the entire body. Those changes directly or indirectly aid the process of fetal development, labor, and the childbirth.
Here are the major organs and systems that change during the pregnancy:
- Respiratory system
It is a known fact the fetal development demands more supply of oxygen to the entire body and also to the fetus. Hence the respiratory system works towards retaining maximum oxygen and supplying it efficiently.
The pregnant woman will have an increased respiratory rate along with higher minute-ventilation. As the belly grows, it may start to feel congested inside the body, and pregnant woman may feel out of breath. Taking just a few steps may result in out of breath and feeling tired during the third trimester of pregnancy.
- Breast changes
It is the most recognizable changes in the body when you get pregnant. It can be realized soon as you came to know about pregnancy. The breast starts to get ready for lactation.
The breasts become larger and tenderer. The nipples may project out more for easy breastfeeding. Areola becomes larger in size and gets darker. By the third trimester, breast milk may start to appear or leaks out.
- Abdominal changes
Yes, the pregnant woman has large abdomen. It expands from three months to the ninth month. By the end of the third trimester, the uterus will be near to the rib cage.
The stretching of muscles and ligaments as the pregnancy progress may cause light pain in the abdomen. Often the stretching causes itching at the lower abdomen.
- Urinary system
The growing abdomen exerts some pressure on the bladder, which is the reason for frequent urination in the third trimester. The kidney works extra to excrete the waste from the mother and fetus.
- Cardiovascular system
With the beginning of pregnancy, the blood volume increases in the body. The heart starts to pump more blood to reach all parts of the body along with forming of new blood vessels in the placenta.
But, the returning of blood from various organs to the heart back gets slower due to increased blood vessels. It can be visible as spider veins or varicose veins on the leg which situates far from the heart.
During the pregnancy, the resting heart rate will be slightly above than normal along with increased cardiac output.
- Gastrointestinal changes
During pregnancy, the uterus gets enlarged according to the fetus growth. The stomach and intestine get displaced making space for the uterus. This causes decreased bowel movements or constipation in some cases. This is another reason for heartburn during pregnancy. The pregnant woman will experience increased reflux too.
- Endocrine System
Placenta will act as temporary endocrine gland during pregnancy. A large amount of estrogen and progesterone hormones will be produced aiding fetal development. The hormonal production and its action are the major reasons for the changes in the body during pregnancy.
As the pregnancy enters the last weeks, the pituitary gland will produce oxytocin to initiate labor. The prolactin produced by anterior pituitary gland stimulates lactation.
- Skin changes
As the pregnancy progress into the second-trimester, stretch marks start to appear on the belly, thighs, buttocks, and breasts. The nipples, face, palm, and abdominal line get pigmented due to the hormonal action.
- Musculoskeletal changes
The spinal curvature changes and adjusts to the growing belly, which can be visible in the unique posture in the late pregnancy months.
The ligaments that hold the pelvic bones together start to get loose and support the labor and childbirth.
Similarly, the body weight, temperature, and growth of hair and nail are influenced by the hormonal changes during pregnancy. Coping up with the changes with external support helps remain comfortable during the pregnant months.