Know your body – what changes to expect during pregnancy
Once you fall pregnant, your body will go through many changes as it taps into all your resources to sustain and help your baby grow. This is somewhat you can expect.
“During the first twelve weeks, or better known as the first trimester, you might experience light spotting, abdominal and back cramps, and tender breasts. Although many of these symptoms can be mistaken for a period, you may only suspect a pregnancy once you have missed your period”, said our Homegrown Babies Clinic midwife, Sr Rinie.
“You may or may not experience morning sickness. Every mom-to-be is different, and every pregnancy is different. From week seven or eight, headaches, fatigue, heartburn, a heightened sense of smell and food aversions are to be expected. You might feel a bit bloated, without ‘showing’ yet”, she added.
You will have added oestrogen and other pregnancy hormones such as the human growth hormone. Oestrogen and other hormones allow your bones to soften up and your ligaments to become more flexible so that your pelvis can prepare for the birthing process. Once your baby is born, your ligaments will regain their normal strength.
Naturally, these added hormones may leave you feeling a bit over-emotional from time to time, and extra protective over your baby.
“In the second trimester your appetite and energy will come back. You will start to ‘show’ as well”, said Sr Rinie.
“It will appear as though your hair is thicker during pregnancy. Normally, most of your hair is growing, while some of it is in a rest state. During pregnancy, none of your hair follicles will be in a rest state, due to the added hormones. Your nails will also be a stronger,” she added.
Your blood increases
The blood in your body will increase by a quarter to half it’s usual amount, and your heart will work harder. This is because your blood caries oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Due to the extra blood, it is normal for pregnant mothers to get varicose veins and hypertension. Make sure to monitor your blood pressure with every check-up. Compression socks will help to keep your varicose veins in check.
On the up-side, the extra blood is also responsible for that gorgeous pregnancy glow and rosy cheeks.
You can retain water just about everywhere; however, it is most commonly found in the feet and ankles. You can raise your feet above your hips to limit swelling. Make sure to drink lots of water to flush out toxins from your body.
You get an extra organ
You grow a placenta in utero during your pregnancy. This organ is the middleman between you and your baby. As you feed into it, it provides your baby with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to grow and develop via the umbilical chord.
It also acts as a barrier for infections, pregnancy hormones and waste, to keep your baby safe. The placenta exits the uterus after birth.
Make sure to take your pregnancy vitamins to ensure that your baby receives all the vital nutrients required.
We recommend: PregOmega Plus 30 Day Pack
Feeling out of sorts
Your ever-growing belly will make a few things difficult; you might feel dizzy or unbalanced, and sleeping comfortably proves difficult. We recommend a pregnancy pillow to support your sleep.
“You may lactate in the last trimester, and your belly button may ‘pop’ out”, said Sr Rinie. A maternity vest can mould around your belly as it grows and offer the support you need as your cup size changes.
A maternity belt will help alleviate lower back pain.
Some workout classes for pregnant women may help to keep your muscles strong. This will assist in managing the cramps and aches that come with the shift in your pelvis, as well as help you keep balance.
The baby goes bump in the night
We saved the best for last. You will feel your baby move from week 16 – 20. Tossing, turning, kicking and punching, until it is time to move into position for birth. Besides everything pushing on your bladder, your baby might decide to kick it. Expect frequent urination in the third trimester.
Read more: Baby milestones explained: The first 3 years
If you are in need of any maternity services, visit our Homegrown Babies Clinic. Our qualified midwives will guide and assist with services, from the 12th week of pregnancy up to your baby’s third year milestones and beyond.
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