Pregnancy can fill you with euphoria and also brings a lot of changes to your body. Apart from the normal changes like mild swelling in the extremities and fluid retention, there can be others like changes in your vision, and some more. Let’s take a quick look at what changes to expect during your pregnancy.
Major Hormonal Changes
There are some hormonal and physiological changes caused during pregnancy which are not so common. Pregnant women are likely to experience mood swings which are caused by an increase in estrogen and progesterone. Apart from mood swings, increase in estrogen and progesterone cause:
- The tell-tale glow in a pregnant woman’s face
- Help in the normal development of the fetus
- Affect the impact exercising has on the body
Changes caused by Estrogen and Progesterone
Researchers report that the amount of estrogen produced during pregnancy is more than what is produced during the rest of a woman’s life. This increase in estrogen has a purpose as it helps the uterus and placenta by:
- Improving the formation of blood vessels (vascularization)
- Transferring nutrients to the body
- Supporting the developing fetus
There is a marked increase in the estrogen levels when a woman is pregnant, and tends to peak during the third trimester. The increase actually starts during the first trimester itself, the tell-tale symptom for which is the feeling of nausea that is common at the beginning of the term. During the second trimester, the breasts get enlarged as there is development in the milk ducts.
Progesterone levels also increase during pregnancy. The levels can be extremely high for some, which is not an abnormality. The ligaments in the body tend to loosen up, and so do the joints. Increase in progesterone levels also causes the ureters connecting the kidneys and the bladder to grow bigger. It is progesterone that helps the uterus stretch and becomes large enough to house a baby.
Changes in sight, smell and taste
A pregnant woman’s sense of smell, sight and taste are quite different from that of a normal woman. Most women experience changes in their vision which can cause them to suffer from nearsightedness. Thought the actual biological reason behind this change is still a mystery to researchers, most women get back their normal vision after delivery. It is not uncommon for a pregnant mom to have a blurred vision and increased intraocular pressure. A pregnant woman who has chronic hypertension or preeclampsia can suffer from eye related problems.
Almost all women experience changes in their perception of taste during pregnancy. There is a marked preference for saltier foods as also sweeter foods when a woman is pregnant than when she is not. Similarly, most pregnant women are fond of sour-tasting foods, which may be due to dysgeusia, which is a condition where the ability to taste is at the lowest. These changes are noticed during the first trimester itself.
Most pregnant women report loss of the sense of smell. In some, it is manifested as a marked awareness to certain smells, with acute sensitivity to some others. Although some women report a marked sensitivity to certain smells, there is not much reliable data that shows any pattern common with all pregnant women. However, almost all pregnant women agree that they do have a different perception of smell during their pregnancy than when they are normal.
Other bodily changes
Most pregnant women report changes in their skin, hair and nails. While the skin is affected by stretch marks during pregnancy, it is a temporary phenomenon that goes away later for most, though some women report permanent stretch marks that refuse to go.
There can be changes in the hair and nails as well. The hormonal changes that pregnant women experience can result in abnormal hair loss, which is medically known as alopecia. On the contrary, some women may experience excessive hair growth during pregnancy, with hair growth being detected in unusual spots. There may be hair growth even on the face, legs and arms. However, these changes too are temporary and tend to vanish after childbirth. Nails tend to grow faster for most women during their pregnancy. Doctors recommend taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy in order to maintain a proper hormonal balance.