How Your Body May Change During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is often referred to as a magical time in a woman's life. This may be true but, let's be honest, there are also a few changes that come along unexpectedly. If you are beginning your family planning stage of life, we invite you to schedule a visit with one of our friendly and experienced providers. The sooner that your obstetrics care begins, even before you become pregnant, the more informed and comfortable you may be with your life-growing, life-changing process. Here, we discuss some of the things that may occur during pregnancy that you might not anticipate, but that are completely normal.
- Sweating and hot flashes. These symptoms are most commonly associated with menopause, but it makes perfect sense that they may occur during pregnancy, too. Every month during the ovulation phase of a woman's cycle, her body temperature rises slightly. For many women, body temperature also rises during pregnancy, and it stays that way for the entire nine months. Heat may increase suddenly in waves or more subtly. This doesn't indicate a problem with the pregnancy but a mere change in temperature related to the drastic shift in hormone production.
- Skin changes. Another consequence of hormone changes is that the skin may change color in one or more areas of the body. Most commonly, pregnant women notice a darkening of the areolas around the nipples. Another change in skin color that affects some women is called the linea nigra, a dark line that runs vertically down the center of the stomach. There are two reasons that the skin may change in these ways. One is hormones, go figure. The other is that a pregnant woman is pumping 30 to 50% more blood through her body than normal. With the veins being close to the surface of the skin in the genital area, this increase in blood flow could cause the labia to appear purple or blue. In most cases, the discoloration that occurs during pregnancy resolves in the weeks following childbirth.
- Brain fog. As pregnancy progresses, it may become more common to forget what you went into a room for. You might forget things that you never would otherwise, or find yourself placing objects where they do not belong. While these little moments make for great stories later, they can be very frustrating in the moment. The experience of brain fog is very common. It affects about 80% of pregnant women and, while experts don't entirely understand why this phenomenon occurs, it does seem to go away after childbirth.
- Everything feels loose. When we say everything, we don't mean clothing. We mean everything from the knees to the hips to the teeth. This sensation of general loosening is normal and necessary. It happens because the body produces a specific hormone to prepare for childbirth. Its job is to loosen the pelvis to accommodate a smoother, safer delivery. Because of this loosening, women may experience more hip and back pain as they near their delivery date. They may notice that their gums bleed or they show signs of gingivitis. These frustrations should go away as the body returns to normal hormonal balance.
- Higher sex drive. As if pregnancy hormones aren't causing enough symptoms, we can throw increased sex drive in there, too. Most couples don't complain too much about this change, which normally happens during the second trimester, when the morning sickness and fatigue have improved and hormone production continues to shift. At this time, sex can even feel more pleasurable because the issue of contraception is a non-issue for a brief moment in time.
If you are at that time in your life when having a child is the next right step, we would love to be a part of your team. The doctors and nurses at Huey & Weprin OBGYN offer professional care in a friendly environment that supports the comfort of each of our patients. To schedule your visit to our Kettering or Englewood, OH office, contact us at 937.771.5100.