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How does the Body Change During Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A person should expect a great deal of physical change during pregnancy, especially in the belly and the breasts. A substantial amount of emotional and lifestyle change also tends to occur. In some cases, these various types of changes may be related.

Two parts of the body that generally undergo drastic visible change during pregnancy are the breasts and the belly. The breasts will change first. At the beginning of the pregnancy, a woman’s breasts will usually become more sensitive. In many instances, her partner’s fondling of them will result in some degree of discomfort.

As the pregnancy progresses, the breasts will get firmer and grow larger. Usually, during the sixth month her areolae, which are the dark rings around her nipples, will expand and get darker. Then, during the ninth month, the nipples may begin to leak colostrum, which is a type of milk the body produces for a limited period of time.

The belly will also drastically change during pregnancy. During the first few months, growth should either be slight or unnoticeable. By the fifth month, however, the swelling should be very noticeable and the size should continue to increase over the next few months. The skin needs to expand to accommodate this growth, so women commonly develop stretch marks. This same process often occurs in the hip area, but it is generally not as drastic as the belly.

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As the baby grows, it will become more of a physical burden. It will affect the positioning of a woman’s organs, which can result in conditions such as heartburn and shortness of breath. The muscles tend to stretch, often resulting in leg and lower back pain.

The hormonal change during pregnancy generally affects a woman in a number of ways. As progesterone and estrogen increase, a pregnant woman can have severe mood swings. A woman’s energy levels may seem in flux throughout her pregnancy. This can be attributed to hormones and the fact that the body works harder during some stages of pregnancy. The fatigue she experiences may affect her mood, emotions, and sexual enjoyment.

A woman’s appetite is another thing that is likely to drastically change during pregnancy. In the beginning, she may have strong cravings for certain foods and be sickened by the thought or smell of others. This has a lot to do with her hormones. During the later months of pregnancy, however, the baby will consume more, which will cause the mother to feel as if she needs to eat more.

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