Your Breasts Increase By 2-4 Cup Sizes: Breast size increases by 1 to 2 cup sizes during pregnancy. Some women’s cup size will increase even more. Soon after delivery, milk begins to fill the breasts and can increase breast size by another 1 to 2 cup sizes. Your lung capacity also increases during pregnancy to help you get more oxygen for you and your baby. This can increase torso size, requiring a larger bra band size. It is estimated that 80% of women wear the wrong bra size during pregnancy. So ladies, go get a bra fitting and make yourself as comfortable as possible during this period!
You Will Gain 25-35 lbs.: If you fall within the healthy BMI range, you should gain between 25-35 lbs. during pregnancy. What is the reason for the weight gain? Here is an interesting breakdown of how 35 pounds adds up by Medline Plus:
- Baby: 8 pounds
- Placenta: 2-3 pounds
- Amniotic fluid: 2-3 pounds
- Breast tissue: 2-3 pounds
- Blood supply: 4 pounds
- Fat stores: 5-9 pounds
- Uterus growth: 2-5 pounds
As you can see, your body is growing much more than just a baby during pregnancy!
You May Get Moody: Know that PMS feeling that leaves you irritable and anxious before your period? Pregnancy can cause the same feeling. Moodiness is very common and is typically the worst during the first trimester and before labor.
You have 50% More Blood Than Usual: An average woman has 4-5 liters of blood. During pregnancy, that number increases by 40-50%, bringing the woman to 6-7.5 L of liters of blood in her blood. The increase is mainly attributed to an increase in aldosterone, which causes increased levels of blood plasma. This helps keep a woman’s blood pressure stable and ensures adequate blood flow to the fetus.
You May Go Up A Shoe Size: Due to increased water retention in pregnancy, many women experience swelling of their feet that requires them to buy larger shoes. A comfortable pair of slip-ons is a great option for pregnant women.
You May Become Constipated: Increased levels of progesterone during pregnancy help relax smooth muscles. This also relaxes your intestines, which causes food to move through your intestines more slowly. This can cause constipation. As your fetus develops, your uterus will put additional weight on your rectum, which can increase constipation. Avoid constipation by eating fiber rich foods, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. Iron supplements can worsen constipation, so talk to your doctor to see if the iron supplements you’re taking are necessary. They may also be in your prenatal vitamin. Try not to strain when going to the bathroom. This can cause further problems, such as hemorrhoids. Which brings us to our next point.
Hemorrhoids Are Not Uncommon: Increased pressure on the anal nerves from a growing uterus often results in hemorrhoids, or varicose veins in the rectum, during pregnancy. These can be very painful and uncomfortable. Speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing hemorrhoids.
Your Heart Works 50% Harder: When you’re pregnant, your body has to pump adequate blood to your uterus and fetus. This requires more work than usual, resulting in 50% increase in cardiac output, or blood pumped by your heart per minute. Cardiac output is typically around 4-5 liters/minute, but rises to around 7 liters/minute during pregnancy. It’s no wonder pregnancy can make you so tired!
As you can see, a woman’s body changes in many ways during pregnancy. While some of these are uncomfortable, it is all a part of the wonders of childbirth.
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