Body Changes in Pregnancy

By: Juliet Cohen

Pregnancy is a nine month journey for both you and your baby. During this time your own body will change, both internally and externally. During pregnancy the breasts will grow larger under the influence of hormones. Enormous physical, hormonal and emotional changes take place during pregnancy over a relatively short period of time. Pregnancy typically lasts 40 weeks (about 9 months). That time is divided into three sections called trimesters (three-month periods), during which different things happen to a woman's body and to the fetus. The body has to adapt to carrying up to 20lb of baby, waters and placenta, which can impose physical strain on all the organs and tissues. Most of this weight will be carried in front causing your centre of gravity to change. Postural changes may cause backache, neck ache, headaches, aching legs and undue fatigue. Postural changes through the lower ribs and spine can impede the action of the diaphragm and make breathing difficult. Nausea and vomiting are common during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Eating several small meals and eating bland food , such as crackers or dry toast ,may reduce nausea.

Tension within the pelvis or diaphragm area can increase resistance to the return of venous blood to the heart from the lower half of the body. This can cause or aggravate varicose veins in the legs, and hemorrhoids. Most women experience emotional shifts and mood swings during pregnancy. It's natural to feel doubt, anxiety, and fear about pregnancy and childbirth, as well as happiness, excitement, and anticipation. Women may notice an increase in size and possibly some tenderness very early, often before the pregnancy is confirmed. Being tired is common during pregnancy, especially in the first few months and then towards the end. Exercise, rest, and proper diet all may impact the degree of tiredness that you feel. A urine infection causing a burning sensation on passing urine, and the feeling of needing to pass urine all the time. Approximately 50% of women will suffer from morning sickness. Morning sickness often goes away around week twelve but some women feel sick and nauseous for the full nine months.

Headaches are common during pregnancy. Severe headaches can be a sign of pre-eclampsia. During pregnancy , each kidney increases in leagth by 1-1,5cm, with a concomitant increase in weight. The renal pelvis is dilated.The ureters are dilated above the brim of the bony pelvis.The ureters also elongate, widen, and become more curved. Constipation is very common during pregnancy because of hormonal changes that slow down the digestion of food. In the later part of your pregnancy, the pressure from your uterus on the rectum may also contribute to the problem. Glucosuria during pregnancy is not necessarily abnormal, may be explained by the increase in GFR with impairment of tubular reabsortion capacity for filtered glucose.Increased levels of urinary glucose also contribute toincreased susceptibility of pregnant women to urinary tract infection. Proteinuria changes litlle during pregnancy and if more than 500mg/24h is lost,a desease process shoud be suspected. During pregnancy, levels of several essential coagulation factors isincrease.

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Juliet Cohen writes articles on diseases and conditions and women health care. More information on health related topics visit our site at

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