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Body change during pregnancyutero, cervix, breast, belly, skin, posture, hair, emotionality

Are you pregnant and curious to know how your body changes during pregnancy? Here's what you need to know about physical body changes in pregnancy in order to take care of yourself properly. Summary

body change during pregnancy
body change during pregnancy

Body change during pregnancy

During the nine months of pregnancy something extraordinary happens in the womb of every woman. A life originates from a love, from two cells and from two individuals and the mother's body represents a cradle whose fetus is protected, nourished, warmed and cradled. Physical changes in pregnancy are mainly due to hormonal changes, the growth of the fetus and the physiological adaptation that the mother's body makes to allow the correct development of the fetus. Some changes are visible from the first weeks of pregnancy such as amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), nausea, sensitive nipples and an increase in white discharge from the genitals. From week to week the changes may decrease or increase such as heartburn (reflux), frequent urination and fatigue. The major changes in pregnancy generally occur from month to month such as an increase in the belly, swollen legs. Well mom let's start this journey, let's find out how the body of the expectant woman changes internally.

Changes in the female reproductive system during pregnancy

The most important changes during the nine months of gestation are borne by the female apparatus and allow the embryo first and then the fetus to feed, grow and develop.

Uterus in pregnancy

The changes in the uterus during pregnancy are significant enough to totally change the position of the uterus itself. Outside of pregnancy, the uterus is a small pear-shaped organ weighing about 60 grams; at the end of pregnancy it weighs about 1,100 grams, reaching the volume of a watermelon. The increase in the size of the uterus is a consequence of the distension of the growing fetus, the development of the placenta, the amniotic fluid and the amniochorial membranes. The fibrous tissue that makes up the uterus adds strength and elasticity to the muscle wall, allowing it to expand. The changes in the uterus do not end there, the growing placenta and fetal development lead to an increase in blood flow to the uterus. From the first weeks of pregnancy, try to periodically touch the uterus in order to familiarize yourself with its growth.

Cervix in pregnancy

The cervix during pregnancy is stimulated by the hormone estrogen which stimulates the increase in the activity of its cells. The endocervical glands secrete a thick and sticky mucus that accumulates forming the so-called mucous plug that seals the uterus and prevents the rise of microorganisms. The mucous plug remains in place for the entire period of gestation (except in cases of threatened preterm birth where it can be expelled) protecting the fetus from possible infections coming from the vagina. Loss of the plug occurs in the prodromal phase of labor when cervical dilation begins. The hyperactivity of the glands of the cervix can result in abundant white vaginal discharge, this is the reason why pregnant women complain of increased vaginal secretions.

Pregnancy changes of the ovary

In the early stages of pregnancy, the ovary plays a very important role, secreting hormones to support the fertilized oocyte through the corpus luteum of gravity while waiting for the placenta to develop. During pregnancy, the ovaries stop producing oocytes, instead secreting the hormone progesterone until about the seventh week. When the placenta is fully formed, the corpus luteum begins to slowly disintegrate.

Vagina in pregnancy

The increased blood flow into the vulva gives it a purplish blue appearance. The vagina in pregnancy is stimulated by estrogen which causes a dilation of the vaginal walls together with an increase in vaginal secretions. Vaginal discharge in pregnancy is thick, mucous, white and very acidic and represents a useful defense mechanism to make a barrier to pathogenic microorganisms that could rise from the vagina to the uterus infecting the fetus. In pregnancy, the vaginal pH is slightly more acidic which favors vaginal Candida infections, for this reason the months of gestation are a period susceptible to candidiasis. At the end of pregnancy, the vagina, vulva and perineum become soft and relaxed to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. To increase the elasticity of the perineum, in the third trimester of pregnancy it is useful to practice the perineum massage.

Breast changes in pregnancy

The pregnant breasts become enlarged and the nipples become very sensitive to the touch. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for breast changes during pregnancy. The breasts enlarge and become more nodular as the glands grow in number and size to prepare for breastfeeding. Superficial veins are visible, the nipples are more turgid. The areola darkens and on its round surface sometimes tiny dark dots are highlighted, these are sebaceous glands that increase in size.

Nipples in pregnancy

The nipples in pregnancy become darker and very sensitive even to slight touches. From the second trimester of pregnancy, droplets of white-yellowish serum can occur, this is the precious colostrum. Colostrum is the precursor of breast milk.

Respiratory system in pregnancy

Changes in the respiratory system during pregnancy help meet the increased oxygen requirements of the mother and fetus; as well as to expel the carbon dioxide produced by both. The air inspired by the mother increases by 30 to 40%. The increase in the volume of the uterus, as the months of pregnancy proceed, exerts an upward pressure, lifting the diaphragm and causing the mother an unpleasant feeling of not being able to breathe deeply.

Belly in pregnancy

In the first month of pregnancy, the belly may appear more swollen than normal. The swelling of the belly during pregnancy is not due to the presence of the baby, who is still tiny, but only to the increase in intestinal gas. Belly growth begins between the 10th and 12th week of pregnancy. The belly instead begins to be particularly visible between the 5th month and the 6th month of pregnancy.

Changes in the cardiovascular system in pregnancy

During pregnancy, blood flow to the uterus, placenta and breast increases, and there is also an increase in the number of red blood cells due to the increased transport of oxygen. Blood pressure drops slightly as it reaches its lowest levels in the second trimester, then gradually rises again until it returns to pre-pregnancy levels at the end of the third trimester. The increase in the volume of the uterus exerts pressure in the underlying blood vessels and this condition can lead to edema in the lower limbs (swollen legs), hemorrhoids and varicosities in the veins of the legs, vulva and rectum. When the mother lies on her back, the uterus compresses the blood vessels below, reducing the return of venous flow from the lower areas to the heart. For this reason, it is very common to suffer from dizziness, low blood pressure, paleness and sweating during pregnancy. To avoid these discomfort it is always recommended to lie down on the left side and never face up in order to favor blood return.

Changes in the stomach and gastrointestinal system

Nausea and vomiting are common in the first trimester of pregnancy. The gums bleed more easily and saliva secretion can increase becoming annoying causing drooling. The high levels of the hormone progesterone are responsible for the relaxation of the stomach muscles, which causes intestinal swelling, constipation and heartburn (heartburn) in the pregnant woman. Acid reflux in pregnancy is also aggravated by the pressure exerted by the enlarged uterus upwards, compressing the stomach and moving the intestine laterally, all of which increases food digestion times. Also due to the effect of progesterone, the valve that closes the stomach, the cardia, relaxes, causing stomach pain and acid reflux. It is possible to feel a sense of heaviness that lasts for a few hours after meals; this is because the stomach is no longer able to empty itself as quickly as before.

Urinary tract changes in pregnancy

In the first trimester, the enlarged uterus presses considerably against the bladder, inducing an increase in urinary frequency. The increase in urination in the second trimester tends to decrease, in fact the uterus expanding rises upwards, decreasing the pressure against the bladder. Urinary frequency reappears in the third trimester when the now bulky uterus presses again against the bladder.

Posture in pregnancy

The joints in the pelvis somehow loosen due to hormonal influences. The result is a swaying gait, for the same causes the center of gravity is gradually changed and the curvature of the back becomes more pronounced, causing a change in posture. The change in posture compensates for the weight gain that the uterus creates and which frequently causes lower back pain.

Skin in pregnancy

During pregnancy, changes in skin pigmentation may occur, ie a darker color, originating from the increase in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Pigmentation increases in the areola, nipples, vulva and perineum. The skin in the center of the abdomen can develop a dark line, called the Nigra line, which extends from the navel to the mount of Venus. The so-called chloasma gravidarum can occur which consists of a darkening of the skin on the cheekbones, nose and forehead. Chloasma is more evident in women with dark hair and after sun exposure. Fortunately, chloasma gravidarum fades immediately after the birth of the baby when the hormonal influence disappears. Stretch marks in pregnancy generally appear on the abdomen, hips, buttocks and breasts. Small bright red elevations can appear on the chest, neck, face, arms and legs, again caused by high levels of estrogen.

Hair in pregnancy

Pregnancy hair becomes more beautiful, shinier and easier to comb as the new hormonal situation decreases the production of fat in the scalp. The speed of hair growth may decrease but the number of hair bulbs increases. Only hair that is already naturally dry can look more stringy.

Metabolism changes in pregnancy

During pregnancy, all the metabolic functions triggered by the increased demand from the growing fetus increase. To ensure optimal growth of the fetus it is important to have a correct diet guaranteeing the right supply of nutrients and vitamins as well as periodically checking the weight. During the second trimester the fetus requires a large amount of proteins and fats to be able to double its weight, so the diet during pregnancy must ensure a correct amount of these nutrients. During pregnancy, the proteins necessary to maintain a constant level in breast milk are stored by the mother's body. Increases water retention caused by high hormone levels. Extra water is needed for the fetus, placenta, amniotic fluid and the mother's organs.

Thyroid change in pregnancy

During pregnancy, the thyroid gland often increases in volume due to the increased blood supply. A few weeks after giving birth, thyroid function returns to normal.

Smell in pregnancy

In pregnancy, smells are more intense and some seem different and less pleasant than usual. In this regard, some studies argue that it is an innate self-defense mechanism of the mother's body that prevents the future mother from taking substances that are not very beneficial for the baby.

Changes in the emotional state in pregnancy

During pregnancy, the strongest human feelings, love and fear, are constantly solicited, albeit to varying degrees and in relation to external circumstances. In the first trimester of gestation there is considerable emotional lability perhaps favored by the rapid production of hormones. An undertone of anxiety is almost always associated with lability. Not infrequently there are conflicting feelings of love and rejection towards the product of conception. It is common for many symptoms associated with pregnancy, particularly nausea, to be amplified to challenge the partner and family. So-called birthmarks can be the ultimate expression. The second trimester is characterized by emotional stability. The woman is confident and is remarkably active, she begins preparations for the unborn child and the ambivalence towards the fetus disappears. In the third trimester there is a certain degree of apathy, listlessness and fatigue for which the woman again tends to rely on her partner, especially in carrying out various domestic activities. In recent weeks, the anxiety directed above all towards the fear of childbirth has reappeared. In some women the approach of labor coincides with carrying out activities often without a specific purpose, such as cleaning the house suddenly and without necessity.

Hormones in pregnancy

Hormones are the major culprits for pregnancy symptoms.


The estrogen secreted by the corpus luteum is mainly produced by the placenta and stimulates uterine development to provide the fetus with a comfortable environment. Estrogen also helps prepare the breasts for breastfeeding.


Progesterone is produced initially by the corpus luteum and later by the placenta which plays the important role of maintaining the conditions suitable for pregnancy. Progesterone inhibits uterine contractions for this reason it prevents spontaneous abortion in the first period of pregnancy and contributes to the preparation of the breast for breastfeeding.


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