Pregnancy is an amazing and beautiful thing, and every person’s pregnancy is a unique journey.
There are a whole lot of changes that can occur during pregnancy due to your body developing a baby, and it can affect each woman differently.
Here are just a few interesting facts about pregnancy and what happens when you are growing another human!
The heart can grow
While many women report that they didn’t know true love until they had a baby, that’s not what we’re talking about here. A pregnant woman’s heart can literally grow during pregnancy. Pregnant women’s blood volume can increase up to 50%, and the heart beats faster and stronger. This can help with the extra oxygen needed to support a healthy pregnancy and baby.
You can produce milk early on
Often one of the earliest and first signs of pregnancy is your breasts. Many women will go up a cup size or two and will experience tender and sore breasts when they are pregnant. Often this will subside after the first three months. This growth can also come with added stretch marks which are a natural part of how your body grows to support your baby.
What you may not know is that you can start producing milk as early as 14 weeks into conception.
Many women experience leaks, and often it’s a good idea to have breast pads to avoid these leaks coming through your shirts.
Age is important, but not the only factor
The oldest recorded woman to have a baby was 66 years old. Fertility is different for every person, and sometimes extreme outliers appear.
For most women, their chance of conceiving is around 20% at 30, and then approximately 5% at 40. It’s important to keep in touch with your doctor if you have concerns about your fertility.
People may be a little invasive with you
Many new mothers report that they experience a completely different treatment when pregnant, both negative and positive.
Some people feel entitled to give you advice or critique your activities, while others may even try and invade your personal space in public just to touch your belly.
Women have reported positive experiences, such as being treated more seriously at work, or given more consideration. Even small things, like getting your pick of the snacks can come with the territory of being pregnant.
It’s important to remember to set up strong boundaries, and not let people take advantage of you just because you’re pregnant. Your health and the baby’s health comes first.
Your voice can change
Hormones during pregnancy can cause your vocal folds to swell, resulting in a change in your voice. Many women have a deeper and more monotone voice after giving birth, and this usually returns to normal after a year.
There are varying theories on why this change occurs, including both hormones as well as women needing to appear more authoritative.
Your baby can hear you in the womb
Many babies can hear noises while in the womb, and your voice is the most prominent sound they will hear.
By the third trimester, many babies can recognise their parents’ voices. Babies have been shown reacting through an increased heart rate and alertness.
You may need maternity shoes
During pregnancy it is likely that your feet will swell or ‘grow’ up to 1 shoe size. Many women experience swelling and pain in their feet and ankles during pregnancy.
Your feet will return to normal size after you give birth, and you will be able to wear all your old shoes, so don’t worry too much.
Buying a comfy set of slip on shoes for your pregnancy is worth the investment. Tying up laces can be difficult in pregnancy due to your bump, and slip on shoes will give you breathing room.
Pregnancy cravings and food aversions
You’ve probably heard about some of the weird and wacky combinations of food that women crave when they’re pregnant, but suddenly hate once they’ve given birth (pickles and ice cream being one of the more famous ones).
It’s not entirely known why pregnancy cravings happen, but it is most likely due to the hormonal changes that your body goes through.
Food aversions can also occur, even for foods you’d normally love. Women may often be put off by the smell and textures of certain foods during pregnancy, especially meat, as a way of protecting themselves from bacterias and food poisoning.
Eating a balanced diet is always recommended, but indulging in those cravings is okay as long as it’s not impacting your health. The most important thing to remember is that you’re nourishing your body for both you and your child.
Pregnancy glow is real
Pregnant women are often told that they’re ‘glowing’. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to this, one of them being the increased blood flow and extra progesterone. This can result in more oils being produced as well as a rosy look.
This isn’t the case for all women though, and the increase in oils can cause some people to have acne breakouts.
Your hair may also end up looking healthier and longer, as hair can grow faster and fall out less during pregnancy. Many women do experience postpartum hair loss, and grow more hair in places they may not like.
Talk to your doctor
Pregnancy affects women in all different kinds of ways, and no two pregnancies are the same, these are just a small sample of things that can happen during your journey.
It’s always important that you talk to your doctor about, and discuss any of the symptoms that you are experiencing. They should be able to help you and guide you through all the changes that occur.
Dr. Kelvin Larwood is an obstetrician and gynaecologist who works on the Sunshine Coast in private practices in Buderim and Noosa.
He provides a supportive, caring and safe environment, with individualised care that focuses on a healthy mother and baby.