In a normal body without pregnancy, most of the intraabdominal space is occupied by both the large and small intestines. Anatomically, the vagina is behind the bladder while the uterus is both above and behind the bladder. Behind the bladder and vagina is the rectum and anal canal. Here is a diagram that can help you to understand the human anatomy better.
The growth and development of a baby can be physically demanding for your body causing certain changes such as physical and physiological variations. These changes all aim to help your body to nourish the baby in terms of nutrition and oxygenation while getting ready for delivery. Changes begin once implantation of the fertilized egg occurs. Pregnancy is divided into three periods known as the first, second, and third trimesters.
Breast Size Increases
During pregnancy, the fullness and size of the breasts will increase in preparation for the arrival of the baby. Once near the delivery, changes in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels further increases the size of the breasts for the production of milk and breastfeeding. This results in heavy and tender breasts. By the third trimester, some women may have colostrum (yellowish and watery pre-milk fluid) leakage.
Mood Swings Become Very Common
Mood swings during pregnancy can be very common due to many factors such as stress, tiredness, and changes of hormone levels that affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. Every individual responds differently to the idea of becoming a parent. These mothers to be go through a myriad of emotions and feelings, both positive and negative. While they are happy and excited to be a mother, they also get anxious and nervous about parenthood. If you find that you are experiencing more negative emotions, it may be helpful to talk to a professional.
Morning Sickness Occurs
Morning sickness does not only happen in the morning and instead, can happen at any time and lasts all day. However, nausea is indeed worse in the mornings and eventually eases up with time. It occurs most commonly during the first trimester (first three months of pregnancy). These episodes of nausea and vomiting can often leave the pregnant woman exhausted and drained. Most women start having morning sickness at 6 weeks of pregnancy and 50% experience relief at 14 weeks of pregnancy. For others, it may take about an additional 4 to 6 weeks before the nausea resolves. It may occasionally return throughout pregnancy. For a small and unfortunate group, their morning sickness can last throughout all three trimesters! If you find that your nausea and vomiting is bothering you, talk to your doctor about it. In severe cases known as hyperemesis gravidarum, it can lead to dehydration and inadequate weight gain.
Skin Changes Happen
During pregnancy, there are so many changes in the body that it can often show physically as well. The skin changes that occur in pregnancy can be attributed to the fluctuating levels of hormone, changes to the immune system, circulation, and more. Most skin changes that occur during pregnancy usually resolves after the baby is delivered. Some of the skin changes include:
About 90% of women get stretch marks during pregnancy. This occurs as the skin stretches to accommodate the weight gain and growth of the baby (which causes the abdomen to get bigger). Due to the changes of hormone levels in your body, your skin also become thinner. To limit stretch marks, try to gain weight gradually during pregnancy by consuming a healthy diet along with having a regular exercise routine.
During pregnancy, some women may develop spots of blotchy skin known as melasma of chloasma. Melasma is also known as the “mask of pregnancy” as the splotches appear around the upper lip, cheekbones, nose, forehead, and can look like a mask. Skin that is already pigmented such as scars, areola, and nipples will become much darker during pregnancy as well. It is believed that these changes occur due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy which stimulates an increase in melanin, a hormone that gives color to your skin, hair, and eyes. Women with darker skin are more likely to have melasma compared to women with lighter skin. It also causes the appearance of linea nigra on the abdomen.
Spots or acne
There are many women who have acne during pregnancy. This occurs due to the increase in hormones known as androgens. This hormone causes the glands in the skin to produce more sebum which is an oily and waxy substance that clogs pores leading to breakouts. Women who have breakouts during their menstrual period are more likely to have acne during pregnancy. Here is a link to some natural remedies to help you reduce your acne during pregnancy.
These broken veins are also known as spider veins. It mostly occurs on the face on the cheekbones. It is believed to be due to the high levels of the hormone estrogen.
This occur due to the higher levels of hormones and stretching of skin during pregnancy.
Fluid Retention Causes Body Parts To Swell
During pregnancy, the body accommodates the growth and development of the baby by producing about 50% more blood and body fluids. This causes the hands, face, and especially feet and ankles to swell up. The retention of fluid helps to soften the body which makes it easier to expand and accommodate the growth of the baby. It also helps the pelvic joints and tissues to open during delivery. 25% of the weight gained during pregnancy are due to retention of fluids.
Weight Gain Is Inevitable
Weight gain during pregnancy is necessary to ensure that your baby receives adequate nutrition for his or her development and growth. To ensure that you gain enough weight and not too much, ask your doctor about the ideal weight you should be gaining. On average, a normal weight woman should gain about 25 to 35 pounds while an underweight woman should gain 28 to 40 pounds and an overweight woman should only gain 15 to 25 pounds. Women with more babies also need to gain more weight.
During pregnancy, the baby’s weight pushes down on the bladder causing pregnant women to have to take frequent bathroom breaks. For those who leak, you can try using absorbent pads. You can also take scheduled bathroom breaks to reduce leakage. Pelvic exercises known as Kegels can also help you control your bladder.
Bowel Movement Routines Change
Changes in your bowel movement routines are common. It may be due to anxiety or your diet that is causing constipation or diarrhea. Hemorrhoids are also common as the growing baby is putting more pressure on your veins. Try drinking more water and consuming more fiber to prevent hemorrhoids from forming or getting worse.
Acid Reflux / Indigestion Issues Arise
In pregnancy, hormone changes cause the muscles in the esophagus to relax. Therefore, the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes allowing stomach acid and contents to regurgitate back up causing reflux and indigestion. As the baby continues to grow, the growth of the baby increases the intraabdominal pressure and pushes against the stomach contributing to more reflux and indigestion issues.
Sex Life Changes Increases And Decreases
Your sex drive is very likely to change during pregnancy. 60% of pregnant women reported that their sex drive changed with numbers increasing to 77% in the third trimester. 47% reported that they had decreased libido and 20% said that their sex drive increased. There are many reasons that causes the change with some reporting tiredness, feeling sick, not feeling attractive, worried about miscarriage, understanding partner’s needs, and more.