Pregnancy: The Effects on your Body
November 16, 2013
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During pregnancy, you will undergo a radical transformation. In order to carry a zygote to full term, your body has to effectively rearrange into a life support system for two. The production of blood increases by around 50% to provide oxygenation. Meanwhile, the blastocyst (the outermost protective layer formed around a fertilised egg) implants itself into the side of the womb to grow into a placenta, which protects and nurtures the expanding embryo. The skeleton is loosened for birth by a hormone called Relaxin, which has been detected at up to ten times the regular rate in pregnant women. Expansion of the breasts will typically occur, in order to aid the production of colostrum (a nutritious, antibody rich fluid) and milk.

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Most of these physical changes are perfectly natural. However, a large number of women will also experience a variety of side effects. The womb expansion that takes place inside you effectively squashes many of the internal organs. It is not unusual for an expectant mother to suffer from heartburn, muscle ache, upset stomach, indigestion, constipation, bleeding gums, hot flushes, cramps, itching, excessive urine production or the loss of bladder control.

The nausea associated with pregnancy has become infamous colloquially as Morning Sickness. Despite the name, vomiting can occur at any time of day. However, this usually ceases by the second trimester and is harmless for most (if disconcerting.) Gaining at least a modicum of (temporary) weight is to be expected, due to your increased fluid production and reduced mobility. Swelling, tingling and numbness are also very common due to the pressures of physiological change.

Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy can also have unfortunate consequences. Roughly 78% of expectant mothers will experience insomnia, while pre-natal pressures result in depression amongst an estimated 10%. Psychological problems such as chronic tiredness, persistent headaches and dizziness can also manifest themselves.

Likewise, the increased production of blood can seriously hinder mothers to be. The U.S Office of Women’s Health estimates that up to 50% will suffer from acute haemorrhoids. Similarly, varicose veins can emerge and unexpected nosebleeds are also common. These problems are particularly widespread amongst women who have previously been inactive, or who are nearing the end of their biological fertility.

Through scheduling regular health assessments, your doctor will be able to give you further in-depth advice. Pain reducing medication can often be professionally prescribed for ailments. However, vaginal bleeding, unusual discharge(s), burning urination, severe or chronic pain and continuous (or out of place) symptoms are all abnormal. These could all prove potentially dangerous. Contact a medical professional immediately for an emergency health assessment if you (or anyone else) display one or more of the critical symptoms listed above.