A woman’s body experiences many changes during pregnancy. Some changes are due to hormonal fluctuations, while others are a result of the physical strain of carrying extra body weight. Most changes are anticipated, such as an expanding belly. But lesser known changes, like bleeding gums, might surprise you. Always ask your obstetrician if you experience any changes that concern you. Here are some of the various ways a woman’s body changes during pregnancy.
Many women notice changes in their breasts quite early in their pregnancy. They may feel swollen or tender to the touch. Small bumps might develop around the nipple, and they may protrude more. As pregnancy progresses, the breasts become larger to prepare for breastfeeding, and may leak colostrum (a watery form of pre-milk). Be sure to wear a comfortable, supportive bra throughout your pregnancy.
It’s important that you’re getting the additional calcium your body needs while pregnant to keep your bones and teeth healthy. Ask your obstetrician what dosage of calcium he or she recommends. Some women find that their gums are more sensitive and bleed more easily during pregnancy due to an increase in blood flow. Gingivitis is also a common complaint, as hormonal changes can hinder the body’s response to bacteria. Have your teeth and gums checked early in your pregnancy, and practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing.
Hair and Nails
Changes in hormones cause many women to experience changes in their hair and nails. Your hair may look thicker and healthier due to an increase in estrogen. Unfortunately, that can also mean more hair in unwanted places, such as the upper lip, stomach and breasts. As estrogen decreases post-pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to lose clumps of hair while showering or brushing your hair.
Many women experience a change in the texture of their nails during pregnancy. They may become more coarse, brittle or soft. As a result they might split or break more easily. You may also find that your nails grow more quickly while you’re pregnant.
You’ve probably been looking forward to that “pregnancy glow” you’ve heard so much about. It’s actually the result of an increase in circulation, which leaves some women with a rosy, dewy complexion. But as your obstetrician can attest, not all pregnancy skin changes are so desirable. The increase in hormones can cause acne flare-ups, and increased melanin can result in melasma, or the “mask of pregnancy”. One of the most bothersome skin changes for pregnant women is stretch marks. These scars are caused by the rapid stretching of the skin, and can appear on the breasts, buttocks, abdomen or thighs.
Blue veins in your breasts, abdomen and legs often become more noticeable. It may look strange, but many women experience this change. When you’re pregnant, your blood volume greatly increases and the heart beats more quickly. You might also notice tiny spider veins on your face, neck or arms.
Your feet and ankles may swell due to the body retaining extra fluids during pregnancy. Some women may even find that their feet grow an entire shoe size while they’re pregnant, which could be due to an increase in growth hormones.
Finding an Obstetrician in Jacksonville Beach
If you’re expecting or planning a pregnancy, North Florida OBGYN of Jacksonville Beach provides complete obstetrical care for women. Call 904-440-0810 today to schedule your exam with one of our board-certified female OBGYNs.