From Producing More Estrogen To A Stronger Sense Of Smell, Here Are Some Facts About Pregnancy
There’s no greater evidence for the changes our bodies go through during pregnancy than our stomachs. But how much do you know about the weird and the wonderful changes that occur outside of the size of growing bellies? We’ve put together a list of things to possibly expect when you’re expecting, for those of you who think you know it all.
1. Fetal stem cells start to repair your body.
Even though stem cells have been traditionally associated with keeping the baby healthy through the umbilical cord, scientists have discovered more recently that it’s common for stem cells to travel all around the body. They can even go so far as the brain!
2. Your hair starts to get thicker and shinier.
Hair growth speeds up during pregnancy, so don’t be surprised if you find that your hair suddenly turns into bombshell babe-like tresses. You also don’t shed hair as much as what you normally would. You can thank estrogen for this.
3. Hair also starts to grow on other parts of your body.
It isn’t just the hair on your scalp that gets affected by pregnancy – so does the rest of your body hair! Testosterone levels increase during pregnancy, which can also make the body grow thick hair in places you may not have been expecting. Think: on your abdomen, face, chest, and back!
4. Cravings are a thing.
The reason why cravings happen is because all the pregnancy hormones can disrupt taste and smell receptors. That’s why it’s completely legit that your friend’s mom snacked on ice cream and ketchup when she was pregnant. Sometimes it’s worth paying attention to cravings though because they might indicate a nutrient deficiency.
5. You’ve got to start managing bad breath.
Yep. You’ve gotta keep an eye out for pregnancy gingivitis! Pregnancy hormones can make the gums more susceptible to plaque, which then leads to inflammation and bleeding. It might be worth considering a dental checkup if you get pregnant.
6. You produce more estrogen in a day than you normally would in a year.
That’s right! You start to produce way more estrogen. Like, a lot. When you’re almost at full term, you can produce more estrogen in a day than what you would normally do over the course of three years. No wonder pregnant people get so affected by their hormone levels!
7. Heartburn becomes more common.
Since pregnant bodies produce more estrogen and progesterone, this relaxes the esophagus. It’s because of this relaxation that you can then experience acid reflux or heartburn. Oddly enough, it’s been found that people who suffer from heartburn during pregnancy are more likely to have given birth to babies with lots of hair!
8. You gain the ability to lactate.
You don’t need to have had your baby to start lactating. To be honest, all you need is a bun in the oven, and to hear a baby start to cry. It’s that easy.
9. The vagina changes color.
And, in some cases, it’s a really dramatic change, too. While some people report it just simply turning a darker color, others have found theirs to turn purple, or even bluish. The medical term for this is known as the Chadwick Sign. Thankfully, this isn’t a permanent change – usually, everything goes back to normal after delivery.
10. Your sense of smell becomes stronger.
In the first trimester, it’s pretty common for pregnant people to gain the superpower of a heightened sense of smell. And while that might be great if you’re surrounded by flowers, it might be less fabulous if, say, you’re stuck on a small bus with a bunch of sweaty, smelly bodies.
11. A chemical called relaxin softens your ligaments.
Don’t worry, this is all 100 percent natural. It’s a special hormone that the body releases to make your pelvis more flexible during childbirth. Chances are, this is when you’ll find your yoga game is top notch. Just be careful not to break any bones!
12. Your sugar levels may go out of whack.
Granted, pregnant people are basically feeding and watering a tiny little body inside their own body. So for some people, they may find that their pancreas can’t keep up with providing the needed insulin for digestion. These people then have to manage gestational diabetes. Don’t worry, though, it’s usually not permanent and will disappear after giving birth.
13. It’s completely normal for your voice to change.
Considering that you’ve got all of this estrogen and progesterone whizzing around your body, it’s unsurprising that your voice might change! These hormones can cause swelling in your vocal cords, which is why you might lose some of your higher pitches, but find that you can hit lower ones.
14. Your heart grows bigger.
No, it’s not because you’ve got so much more love in your life now that you’re expecting a little bundle of joy. The heart has a lot more work to do, now that you’ve essentially become a life support system! So to compensate for that, the heart increases in size.
15. Your blood volume can increase by 40-50 percent.
Not only do you need a bigger heart for an impending baby, but you also need more blood to keep the little one satisfied! This is so that the fetus has enough oxygenated blood coming to it while it’s still developing.
16. Your uterus also expands.
Or, basically, everything just seems to get bigger. The coolest thing, though, is your uterus goes from being around the size of a peach, to the equivalent of a watermelon.
17. Pregnancy is a good excuse to go shoe shopping.
Yeah, even your feet aren’t exempt from the whole swelling process. Some people find that their feet can grow a full shoe size when they’re pregnant!
18. You’ll develop another organ.
Science-fiction has absolutely nothing on actual real-life pregnancy. Believe it or not, the placenta is classified as an organ.
19. Melasma appears.
What on earth is melasma, you ask? It’s also known as the “mask of pregnancy”, which causes dark splotches to appear on your face. Basically, it’s really common for people to see their skin darken when they’re pregnant: those extra pregnancy hormones can cause an increase in pigmentation.
20. You’ll become particularly orgasmic.
All the extra blood flow around the body means that you’ll get a real boost in your libido, and all you’ll wanna do is stay in bed. But you know what else? Chances are you’ll find that’ll change at the drop of a hat, and you’ll be ready to strike anyone who dares to even touch you. Why? Hormones, of course.
How many of these facts surprised you? Or, better yet, how many of these have you experienced when being pregnant? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.