Mother’s Day is a day meant to celebrate your mom, but do you ever consider what she went through to become a mother? A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy. Mothers experience morning sickness, swollen feet, crazy hormone changes, outrageous cravings and maybe even a long and painful labor to give birth to you.
Pregnancy is bound to change a woman’s body. Find out more about those changes and why they happen.
Increased Hormone Production
Pregnancy has an affect on all hormones produced in the body. The hormones estrogen and progestogen increase during pregnancy because hormones in the placenta stimulate the ovaries to produce these two hormones continuously. The placenta itself begins to produce estrogen and progesterone around nine weeks gestation, as these two hormones are essential in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Because of the fluctuation of hormones, mood swings often occur. They are very common during pregnancy and occur the most in the first trimester and toward the end of the final, or third trimester.
Weight gain is an essential part of pregnancy. The weight gained during pregnancy is used by the woman’s body to support and foster the baby. Gaining a healthy amount of weight can help avoid serious complications like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Women who gain a healthy amount of weight are generally able to lose it with the birth of the baby and in the months following the birth.
Heartburn and Indigestion
With the increased production of hormones and pressure caused by the uterus, some women may experience indigestion and heartburn. Hormones released during pregnancy can slow down muscles in the digestive tract. This causes digestion to be slowed down, making a woman feel bloated from indigestion.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus cannot prevent stomach acid from entering back into the esophagus. Pregnant women experience heartburn because their pregnancy hormones relax the valve. Heartburn is most common during the third trimester.
Nausea during pregnancy is one of the most common symptoms women experience. Around 80 percent of expecting women experience nausea. Many refer to nausea associated with pregnancy as morning sickness, even though sickness or vomiting can last the entire day. Nausea is an early indicator of pregnancy and can continue throughout the first trimester. For some women, nausea can continue throughout the entire pregnancy. It’s uncomfortable to be nauseous, but it’s not detrimental to the mother or baby. However, not every pregnant woman experiences nausea.
Changes in Breast Size
Breasts will grow in size and become fuller during pregnancy. As the due date becomes closer, breasts will become even larger in order to prepare for breastfeeding. It is not uncommon for breasts to feel tender or sensitive. The sensitivity is caused by the hormones estrogen and progestogen. Nipples may ache and tingle, protrude and become extremely tender. A woman’s breasts will change after pregnancy but will return almost to normal in the months following the birth of the baby.
The cervix is the lower end of the uterus and allows the baby to pass from the uterus into the vagina during delivery. During pregnancy, the cervix must be able to resist the pressure from the growing uterus and baby and remain closed. The cervix produces a mucus to protect it and keep it moist. During pregnancy, the mucus becomes thick and forms a plug to block the cervical opening. The hormones that are produced during pregnancy cause the walls at the opening of the cervix to become thin.
Aches and Pain
As a woman’s uterus expands during her pregnancy, she may begin to experience pain in her abdomen, back, thighs and groin. Belly pain occurs when the muscles that surround the uterus begin to stretch to accommodate the growing baby. Backaches can be caused by the pressure of the baby’s head and weight. Another common ache during pregnancy is a headache that can be treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Circulatory System Changes
A woman’s body undergoes significant changes during pregnancy to help accommodate the development of the baby. The heart will have an elevated heart rate in order to pump more blood throughout the body. Heart rate changes begin in the first trimester of pregnancy. The volume of blood that is pumped by the heart increases 40 to 50 percent. In a pregnancy without any complications, the heart rate will increase by 15 to 20 beats per minute.
Give your mom a little extra love this Mother’s Day; she deserves it! After all, she did go through a lot to give birth to you. If you want to become a mother or are already on your way to motherhood, take a Birth Education class from the experts at UnityPoint Clinic!
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