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Understanding the Bodily Changes During Pregnancy
You are home to a tiny little human being, and to make the best environment for them and us, our body changes as the pregnancy progresses. It can be difficult to make sense of all the tiny changes happening inside and outside our bodies. To gain a better understanding of these bodily changes during pregnancy, let's take a look at each trimester separately.
As your baby grows and develops inside you during the first trimester (weeks 0-12 of your pregnancy), your body experiences several changes to make way for a healthy baby. Most significantly, your hormone levels alter as the placenta starts taking shape and matures to support your little one. This could leave you feeling tired and nauseous due to increased progesterone levels. You may also experience breast tenderness and get a fuller look due to extra fluid retention.
The blood volume increases, and you start growing a baby bump. Inside the womb, your little one is busy growing organs and bones. You may also feel a heightened sense of smell and sensitivity to certain smells.
Hormones can cause subtle changes in the second trimester, including skin pigmentation around the eyes and cheeks. Your baby bump grows further, and you'll start feeling occasional movements from your baby, which is a happy sign of development!
You will also notice darker areolas, increased fatigue, and soreness or tingling in the breasts due to milk production. Osteogeny will take over progesterone, stimulating growth and development in different parts of your body. This also causes abdominal growth, increased vaginal discharge, and loosening of ligaments (in preparation for childbirth.)
By the third trimester (weeks 29-40), your body will start preparing for labor by secreting hormones such as oxytocin which are responsible for triggering contractions during labor. Your baby will have grown quite a bit by now.
Even the uterus increases in size and starts putting extra pressure on other organs, including your stomach, which causes additional fatigue and backaches due to postural changes caused by all that extra weight. Moreover, your heart rate increases.
As you reach full term, you may experience increased swelling of the feet, ankles, and calves due to extra fluid retention. Your belly may feel tight and heavy; these are signs that you're about to enter labor soon!