Pregnancy brings a variety of changes to the body. They can range from common and expected changes, such as swelling and fluid retention, to lesser-known changes, such as vision changes. Read on to learn more.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy
The hormonal and physiological changes associated with pregnancy are unique. The pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increasesin estrogen and progesterone. They also undergo changes inthe amount and function of a number of other hormones. These changes don't just affect mood. They can also:
- Help significantly in the development of the fetus.
- Modify the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body
Pregnancy hormones and exercise injuries
While these hormones are absolutely essential for a successful pregnancy, they can also make exercise more difficult. Because ligaments are more relaxed, pregnant women are more likely to suffer sprains and strains of the ankle or knee. However, no study has confirmed an increasedinjury rate during pregnancy.
The entire posture of a pregnant woman changes. Her breasts are bigger. Its abdomen is transformed from flat to very convex. This favors the curvature of his back. The combined effect shifts the center of gravity forward and can alter its sense of balance.
Weight gain, water retention and physical activity
Weight gain in pregnant women increases the body's workload associated with any physical activity. This extra weight and gravity slows the circulation of blood and body fluids, especially inthe lower limbs. As a result, pregnant women retain fluids and experience swelling of the face and limbs. This weight of water adds another limitation to the exercise.
Many women begin to notice a slight swelling in the second trimester. It often continues into the third trimester. This increase inwater retention is responsible for significant weight gain in women during pregnancy. Tips for relieving swelling include:
- The rest
- Avoid long periods of standing
- Avoid caffeine and sodium
- Increase dietary potassium
Weight gain is usually the main reason the body does not tolerate physical activity levels before pregnancy. This applies even to the seasoned, elite or professional athlete.Tensions in the round ligaments, increased size of the uterus, and pelvic instability due to ligament laxity can lead to increased discomfort during exercise.
Pregnancy can dramatically change the way a woman sees the world, whether throughsight, taste or smell.
Changes in vision
Somewomen experience vision changes duringpregnancy.These are characterized byincreased myopia.Researchers do not know the precise biological mechanisms behind vision changes.Mostwomen return to vision afterbirth.
Common changes during pregnancy include blurring and discomfort with contact lenses. Pregnant womenoften experience increased intraocular pressure.Women with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes may be at high risk for rare eye problems. These involve detachment ofthe retinaor loss of vision.
Mammary and cervical changes
Hormonal changes will cause many physiological changes throughout the body. These changes help the mother's body prepare for pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding.
The breasts of pregnant women often undergo a series of significant changes during pregnancy. As their bodies prepare for provide milk to the newborn. Pregnancy hormones that affect skin pigmentation often darken the areola. As breasts grow,pregnant women may experience tenderness or tenderness.
They notice that the veins are darker and that the nipples protrude more than before the pregnancy. Some women may develop stretch marks on the breasts, especially if they grow rapidly. Many women will also notice an increase in the size of the nipple and areola.
The cervix, or the entrance to the uterus undergoes physical changes duringpregnancy. In most women, the cervical tissue thickens and becomes firm and glandular. Up to a few weeks before delivery, the cervix may soften and dilate slightly due to the pressure of the growing baby.
In early pregnancy, the cervix produces a thick mucous plug that seals the uterus. The plug is often expelled at the end of pregnancy or during delivery. This is also called a bloody show. Mucous membranes streaked with a small amount of blood are common when the uterus is preparing for labor. Before birth, the cervix significantly dilates, softens and thins. This allows the baby to pass through the uterine canal.
Changes in hair, skin and nails
Many women will experience changes in the physical appearance of their skin duringpregnancy. While most are temporary, some, such as stretch marks, can cause permanent changes. In addition, women who experience some of these skin changes during pregnancy are more likely to experience them duringfuture pregnancies or even when taking hormonal contraceptives.
Hair and nail changes
Many women experiencechanges in hair and nail growth during pregnancy.Hormonal changescan sometimes lead to excessive hair loss or fall. This is especially true in women with a family history of female alopecia.
Manywomen also experience faster nail growth during pregnancy. Eating well and taking prenatal vitamins adds to the growth hormones of pregnancy. Some women experience increased nail fragility, breakage, grooves or keratosis. From dietary changes healthy to increase nail strength can help prevent breakage without the use of nail chemicals.
Stretch marksare perhaps the most well-known skin change of pregnancy. They result from a combination of physical stretching of the skin and the effects of hormonal changes on skin elasticity. Up to 90% of women develop stretch marks in the third trimester of pregnancy, often on the breasts and abdomen.
Although stretch marks in pinkish purple never disappear completely, they often fade tothe color of the surrounding skin and shrink postpartum. Stretch marks can cause itching. To do this, apply creams to soften and reduce the urge to scratch and possibly damage the skin.
Sources and references:
Albrecht ED, et al. (2010). Estrogen regulation of placental angiogenesis and fetal ovarian development during primate pregnancy. DOI:
10.1387 / ijdb.082758ea
Borengasser S, et al. (2014). Maternal exercise is associated with transcriptomic adaptations in the placenta of late-gestation mice.