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Pregnancy and Your Body

When a woman is pregnant, many dynamic processes take place in her body that she may or may not be aware of. Here are 12 things that expectant mothers may not realize are taking place in her body:

 
us_how-body-changes-during-pregnancy_video-still_4x31.  YOUR BREASTS BECOME TENDER.
One of the very first symptoms a woman experiences is very sore breasts. Changes in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone necessary to prepare your breasts to produce milk result in tender, sore breasts.

2.  YOUR NIPPLES PROTRUDE.
Changes in these hormones can also make your nipples protrude more than usual.  In addition, they too can be incredibly tender during this period.

3.  YOUR AREOLAS (AREA AROUND THE NIPPLES) GET DARKER AND LARGER.
Your areola (the dark around your nipple) can get darker and may actually increase in size.

4.  YOU MAY HAVE MORE SALIVA.
Although experts do not know the absolute reason for the increase in saliva reported in early pregnancy, we do believe that hormone changes may be the culprits.  Women who have nausea with their pregnancy tend to report this sensation more frequently than women who do not experience much nausea with their pregnancy.

5.  YOU MAY EXPERIENCE MORE CONSTIPATION.
An increase in the levels of the hormone progesterone. The increase in this hormone helps your uterus to relax preventing contractions before labor. The downside is that all your muscles to relax decreasing the amount that your intestines “move” resulting in constipation.

6.  YOU ARE AT INCREASED RISK TO GET HEMORRHOIDS.
Hemorrhoids are veins located in and around your rectum that can become swollen during pregnancy causing pain and itching. Thankfully, these symptoms tend to resolve after pregnancy.

7.  YOU MAY FEEL MORE CONGESTED.
Some women experience sinus congestion during pregnancy. The hormone estrogen can cause your mucous membranes located in your nose to swell which can lead to congestion and even nose bleeds.

8.  YOU MAY HAVE MORE HEARTBURN.
Changes in the hormone progesterone can relax a muscle located in your esophagus causing acid from your stomach to end up in your esophagus leading to heartburn.

9.  YOU MAY HAVE ACNE OUTBREAKS.
Sadly, changes in the levels of your hormones can stimulate your sebaceous glands resulting in acne. Unfortunately, some of the medication used to treat acne is contraindicated in pregnancy but thankfully, your skin improves after you give birth.

10.  YOUR SENSE OF SMELL MAY INCREASE.
Increased levels of estrogen are linked to a pregnant woman’s ability to smell what’s for dinner at the neighbor’s house.

11.  YOU MAY FEEL MORE “GASSY”.
As progesterone and another hormone by the name of relaxin slow things down including your gastrointestinal muscles your body forms more gas resulting in unpleasant situations.

12.   YOUR FEET MAY SWELL.
As your uterus increases in size, the pressure on your blood vessels decreases the amount of blood that is redistributed to your legs resulting in the fluid shifts in your body that lead to swollen legs.

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