Congratulations! Now that you’re expecting, your body will be going through big changes over the next several months due to hormonal changes as well as the physical growth of your baby. You may notice some of these changes at different times during your pregnancy. Some changes may last throughout while others will be temporary, or may come and go.
Typical Physical Changes During Pregnancy
Many pregnant women experience the following changes during their pregnancy:
The recommended weight gain for most women is between 25 and 35 pounds, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight and other health factors.
Nausea and vomiting are common during the first three months of pregnancy. Some women don’t experience morning sickness at all while others endure it throughout their pregnancy.
Your breasts may provide the first signs to you that you are pregnant. Women's breasts often get extremely tender and begin increasing in size very early in pregnancy.
Most pregnant women experience food cravings at some point during their pregnancy. The cause for this is unknown but may be related to pregnancy hormones. Cravings often pass after the first three months of pregnancy.
Being tired is common during pregnancy, especially in the first few months and then towards the end.
Hormonal changes and increased pressure on your bladder mean frequent trips to the bathroom during pregnancy. Frequent urination may go away as your pregnancy progresses only to return towards the end as your baby drops lower into your pelvis.
Indigestion or heartburn may occur during pregnancy as your digestion slows down and the muscle that normally keeps digested food and acids in your stomach relaxes.
Skin and Hair Changes
Changes in your hormones during pregnancy will often cause skin and hair changes. You may develop brownish or yellowish patches on your face, called chloasma. This is sometimes referred to as the "mask of pregnancy". Some women also get a dark line on the midline of the lower abdomen called the "linea nigra."
Many women experience changes in the texture and growth of hair and nails during pregnancy. Hair and nails usually grow faster and are stronger, but sometimes, hair can fall out and nails can weaken. After you deliver, your hair and nails will slowly return to the way they were before the pregnancy.
Backache and Leg Cramps
Pregnancy changes your posture and places strain on your back, often causing backaches. In addition, ligaments loosen, which may also contribute to back pain and cause leg cramps. Maintaining good posture, stretching, wearing comfortable and supportive shoes and using pillows to provide support while sleeping can reduce pain.
A majority of pregnant women report stretch marks on their abdomen and some also get stretch marks on their breasts, hips and buttocks. Stretch marks are caused by the skin stretching to accommodate the growth of the baby and pregnancy weight gains.