The Effects of Pregnancy on Your Body

Constipation

Constipation is a common problem in pregnancy sometimes aggravated by the iron supplements frequently prescribed to treat or prevent anemia. Calcium supplements may also constipate. Several natural factors contribute to constipation in pregnancy. Motility of the gut is reduced, water reabsorption in the colon is increased (extraction of water from the stool), and the enlarging… »

Heartburn

During pregnancy the hormones which relax smooth muscle in other parts of the body (for example, the uterus and lining of the blood vessels) also relax the muscle at the entrance of the stomach (called the cardiac sphincter). Because of this, acid produced in the stomach can “regurgitate” and irritate the lining of the food… »

Swelling

Swelling is common in pregnancy. In fact, in one of the largest studies ever done on pregnant women, it was shown that among the women who did not develop pre-eclampsia, those who had some swelling had healthier pregnancies than women who did not. Do you need to swell to have a good outcome? Of course… »

Stretch Marks

The scientific name for stretch marks is “striae gravidarum”. Some doctors and midwives may call them simply, striae (pronounced, “stree-eye”). Stretch marks are the result of separation of the outer layers of the skin and overstretching (and damage) of underlying connective layers of skin. The results are reddened stripes on the breasts, abdomen and thighs…. »

Varicose veins

Many women see their first varicose vein during pregnancy…..usually on the lower part of the leg or the thigh. A varicose vein may appear as a bulge in the skin, or one may clearly see the vein itself. Often the vein is twisted and bumpy. The area around a varicose vein may feel uncomfortable. What… »

Insomnia

Pregnant women often have difficulty either falling asleep or remaining asleep. Some of this is due to the fact that beginning early in pregnancy, women urinate more frequently. And certainly during the last few months, the enlarged uterus will not allow the bladder to expand much at all. So, even if you can fall asleep… »

Back ache

Lower backache is a predictable event in almost all pregnancies. There are several contributing factors at work here, including hormonal and physical changes. Some of the hormones released during pregnancy soften the connective tissue (ligaments and cartilage) that hold bones to one another and also pad the joints between bones. With the softening there is… »

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is the common term for the nausea and/or vomiting which may occur at any time of day during pregnancy. Morning sickness is a common feature of many pregnancies. No one is quite certain what causes this phenomenon. Hormones, and hCG in particular, top the list of suspects. It has been known for decades… »

Fatigue

Almost all women experience a very noticable increase in fatigue early in pregnancy. For some women it is the earliest sign that they are pregnant. For most women, the degree of fatigue lessens as they move into the second trimester (about 12-13 weeks gestation). If you are not anemic and your nutrition is good, there’s… »