Whether you’re pregnant for the first time or you’ve been pregnant before, your body will go through some significant changes over the next nine months. Every woman will experience pregnancy in a different way, but even so, there are some universal changes that are common to all women. Here are just a few of those changes that you may experience:
The First Trimester
- Breast tenderness and enlargement –Starting at around 6 to 8 weeks, you may notice your breasts getting bigger in size and they’ll usually continue to grow throughout the course of your pregnancy. In fact, it is not uncommon for a woman’s bra size to change several times over the next few months. So, for this reason, be sure to invest in a good maternity bra that can expand in size!
- Constipation – Sluggish bowels, irregular bowel habits, and constipation are common in early pregnancy. This can happen for many reasons, but needless to say, it’s not a symptom that most people are happy to deal with. Natural remedies for constipation include adding more fiber to your diet, drinking more water, and breaking up your daily food intake into smaller but more frequent meals.
- Stretch marks – Somewhere between the end of the first trimester and the beginning of the second one, stretch marks may start to make an unwelcome appearance on your body. Stretch marks happen because your skin expands to accommodate your growing belly. Although, stretch marks may also occur on the thighs, arms or breasts. Many creams and lotions claim to prevent or eliminate stretch marks, however there is little evidence that they actually do. However, some women find cocoa butter or shea butter helpful in reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
- Skin changes – People usually comment on the ‘glow of pregnancy’ which is the rosy, shiny look your skin gets from increased blood circulation. This is usually caused by pregnancy hormones that release extra oil on the skin’s surface; which can also cause a temporary flare-up of acne.
The Second Trimester
By the time the second trimester rolls around you will have adjusted to the worst of the pregnancy symptoms, and by now these symptoms would probably be settling down. Many women enjoy the second trimester because it is the time without many of the side-effects that came before or will come after. Common changes seen in the second trimester are:
- Blood pressure decreases – During pregnancy more blood vessels grow in the body to help circulate oxygen to the baby. As a result, your blood pressure naturally decreases, which can sometimes make you feel a little light-headed. Get into the habit of not standing up too quickly and drink plenty of water.
- Heartburn and reflux – These are the lesser known symptoms of pregnancy. Heartburn and reflux happen when the uterus enlarges and pushes the position of the stomach upwards. If heartburn persists to the point where it’s causing you much discomfort be sure to speak to your doctor about medications that you can safely take.
The Third Trimester
This is it. You’re in the home stretch and the end is in sight. During the third trimester you will probably not notice any brand new symptoms. Instead you may suffer from things like increasing tiredness and worsening of your back pain. Other things you may have to deal with include:
- Frequent urination
- Swollen ankles
- ‘The pregnancy walk’ – A little known fact is that over the course of your pregnancy, your bones will soften and your spine will realign slightly in preparation for pushing out the baby. This causes a change in your posture, which leads to the typical gait that women have during later-stage pregnancy.