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Physical Changes During Pregnancy

Throughout the course of their pregnancy, women in Sri Lanka will undergo a variety of emotional and physical changes. While most people are aware of the common changes like weight gain and swollen ankles, there are, however, several subtle changes that take place as the pregnancy progresses.

 Which Parts Of The Body Does Pregnancy Impact?

 Changes during pregnancy are far reaching and can impact the following areas of your body:

  • The respiratory system
  • The cardiovascular system
  • The breasts
  • The urinary system
  • The abdomen
  • The gastrointestinal system
  • The endocrine system
  • The musculoskeletal system
  • Skin

Generally as the pregnancy progresses, you experience different changes and symptoms according to the trimester. It is not guaranteed you will experience all the changes as each woman’s body is different and some may experience some or all of the following physical changes.

 Changes During The First Trimester

 In the first trimester, a small weight gain of 1 to 1.5 kilograms is expected, with some of the following changes:

  • Extreme tiredness and fatigue – fatigue and extreme exhaustion is a natural aspect of early pregnancy. This is a sign, which conveys the message that your body needs to get more rest.
  • Morning sickness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Headaches
  • Cravings or distaste for certain food

Changes in hormone levels contribute to several physical changes during pregnancy.

  • Swollen breasts – Hormone changes will cause breasts to get bigger as they prepare for breastfeeding
  • Constipation and heartburn – Higher hormone levels slow down the digestion of food and relaxes the bowel muscles
  • Mood swings

At this stage, it is important to make amendments to your lifestyle, in order to meet the needs of your body.  For example, you may need to get more sleep, change your diet, drink more water and eat smaller, frequent meals.

Changes During The Second Trimester

 First trimester symptoms like nausea and fatigue will begin to fade as new changes begin to take over. On average, women gain 6 to 6.5 kilograms during this trimester. The ending of this trimester, you will be able to feel your baby moving. As your abdomen grows, the following changes may take place:

  • Stretch marks
  • Itching of the abdomen, palms and feet – Close to 20% of women complain of itchiness due to hormones and stretching of the skin
  • Patches of darker skin on the face
  • Body aches in particular the back and abdomen
  • Swelling of the ankles, hands and face and
  • Cramps – cramps can occur throughout the pregnancy, particularly during the night as your body changes the way it processes calcium

Changes During The Third Trimester

 In the last three months of pregnancy, some of the same symptoms from the second trimester will continue. During this phase of the pregnancy, expectant mothers on average gain 6 to 10 kilograms. A study by The University of Peradeniya found that most Sri Lankan women did not gain more than 8 kilograms. As the baby is growing, more pressure is placed on organs and the following may occur:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heartburn and frequent urination – As your baby is getting bigger, he or she pushes down on the uterus, which makes heartburn a common occurrence in the latter stages of pregnancy
  • Tender breasts
  • Hemorrhoids
  • The baby dropping or moving lower in your abdomen

Managing The Changes To Your Body

 Pregnant women in Sri Lanka may find the changes to their bodies daunting. At times, these changes may seem foreign, as it is the first time they are dealing with it. While we at Mumzcare have provided you with some of the changes that can occur, it is best to seek medical advice if concerned about you or your baby’s welfare.

Reach Out For Support

 Pregnancy can be a difficult time with a radical change in hormones, physical appearance, and emotional health. Dr Rodrigo – a gynecologist and obstetrician –   physical changes could also result in depression and anxiety, which is a natural reaction.

It is a challenging time for both parents and if depressive symptoms increase, it is best to seek help from a health care professional. It is important to have a strong support base with your partner, family and friends, in order to help process these changes and assist in accepting the many new challenges you will face.

Just keep in mind, that these changes will be rewarded with one of life’s miracle and to focus your energy on creating a comfortable, safe and welcome environment for them.

Remember each pregnancy is different and changes in your body may even differ from one child to the next. Just allow your pregnancy to take its course and enjoy this special and remarkable experience.

So slow down, listen to your body and enjoy the pregnancy!

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