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Body Changes During Pregnancy: Do You Know Them All?

As expected, your body goes through a series of changes during pregnancy to help your baby develop in a healthy way. However, although some of these changes are obvious, some can be quite unexpected!

The changes you will experience may be different from those that your mum or your friend experienced during their pregnancies. Therefore, knowing the possible changes you may experience is important. You will also experience different changes during each trimester of your pregnancy. 

At OvuSense, we're here to help you get the support you need every step of the way. Continue reading below to learn more about what to expect during pregnancy, as well as during each trimester. 

How To Prepare For Body Changes During Pregnancy

Thinking about the changes your body will go through during pregnancy can be daunting at first. There are so many different symptoms and changes you may go through that you do not feel prepared for. However, there are some ways to help you prepare for the changes your body is going to go through and allow you to cope with the changes that are happening. Some methods you may want to try include: 

Gentle Exercise: 

This should obviously be undertaken carefully, and make sure to check with your doctor first. However, exercise is a great way to help understand how your body is changing and give yourself some time to adjust. A few things to bear in mind while exercising are:

-Stay hydrated before, during, and after your exercise session;

-Do not push yourself to pain or so you have difficulty breathing;

-Avoid contact or high-intensity sports. Instead, opt for something like yoga or walking where you can set the pace; and

-Avoid all exercises lying on your back after 16 weeks.

Get the Right Nutrients:

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet when you are pregnant will help you feel more energized and healthy. You will experience changes to your blood sugar levels, which will impact your mood and energy levels, so it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. For more information, take a look at the NHS’s guide on the right kinds of foods to eat during pregnancy.  

What to Expect in the First Trimester

The first trimester of your pregnancy is the period from week 1 to week 12. As this is when the baby is first developing, some women experience tiredness. Other symptoms you may experience include:

Morning Sickness:

The hormones produced in your first trimester can cause nausea and vomiting, which (despite the name) can occur at any point throughout the day. There are some steps you can take to ease your symptoms: 

-Eat smaller, more frequent meals;

-Do not immediately lie down after a meal;

-Eat dry food when you wake up - e.g. dry toast or cereal;

-Eat bland foods that are low in fat;

-Sip on drinks, rather than taking in large quantities of water;

-Try sucking on ice cubes, as some women find this helpful with their morning sickness;

-Avoid smells that make you feel nauseous; and

-Enjoy ginger tea or a ginger biscuit to stem nausea.

Breast Tenderness:

This can often occur as a result of the changes to hormones in your body. You may find that you need to change the type of bra you are wearing to something softer or unwired. You can often find maternity bras or unwired bralettes that may help if you are experiencing this. 

What to Expect in the Second Trimester

This is the period of time between week 13 and week 26 as your baby continues to grow. Often, if you did experience morning sickness during your first trimester, this should improve as you approach week 13. Some changes you may experience during the second trimester include: 

Dental Problems:

A fairly common change in pregnancy is to experience dental issues. There can be a range of issues from sore teeth to bleeding gums. See your dentist for regular check ups and if you do experience these issues, there are ways your dentist can help you solve them. 

Shiny Hair, Skin and Nails:

During this trimester, women may experience quicker-growing and shinier hair, skin, and nails. You may find your nails grow faster and your hair is thicker, something you may even miss when you have your baby!

What to Expect in the Third Trimester

During this period of your pregnancy your baby finishes developing and you will start to feel your baby kicking. Get ready, because it’s time to start preparing for the birth! This trimester lasts from week 27 to when your baby is born. You may experience changes to your mood or body during this period, such as: 

Swelling:

Many women develop swelling symptoms in the face, hands, neck, ankles, or feet. Often as you approach the birth date this will become more noticeable. There are some ways you can reduce the signs of swelling such as: 

-Drink 8 to 10 glasses of fluids per day;

-Avoid caffeine or salty foods;

Elevate your feet to reduce swelling; and

-If you notice excessive swelling or you are in any way concerned, seek medical advice immediately.

Craving Strange Foods:

Cravings during pregnancy are very common. Sometimes women crave chocolate or cheese, but sometimes you can crave foods you never liked before you were pregnant. Some women even want to consume items such as coal when they are pregnant. Discuss any unusual cravings with your doctor.

Linea Nigra:

A linea nigra is a black or dark line that some women get when they are pregnant as a sign of hyperpigmentation. This usually shows up on week 23 and will gradually fade after you give birth. 

General Body Changes During Pregnancy

Although a few body changes are specific to each trimester, there are some which can occur at any point during your pregnancy. These can include: 

-Increased vaginal discharge;

-Nipple leakage, which often this occurs in the third trimester;

-Constipation;

-Piles;

-Body aches; and

-Dizziness.

For more information, visit the Office on Women’s Health website, where there is a full breakdown of pregnancy body changes

Weird Body Changes During Pregnancy

There can be some unexpected changes that occur during pregnancy. Although these are quite common, you may be surprised if they happen to you!

-Increased body hair - this can be in places you have never had body hair before, like your chest;

-Bad breath;

-Blocked up or itchy nose;

-Excessive sweating; 

-Itchy abdomen - itching of the skin can be a serious complication. If this is excessive, seek your doctor urgently; and

-Numb or tingling hands  - see your doctor if you are worried about this or if it becomes excessive. 

Visit our blog for more advice and tips on pregnancy. At OvuSense, we want to help you have the best pregnancy you can. If you are trying to get pregnant, why not check out our product to help you track your cycle? For more advice, contact us on our website

About our regular contributor, Kate Davies:

Kate Davies (RN, BSc (Hons), FP Cert) is a registered Fertility Nurse Consultant and IVF coach with over 25 years of experience in fertility and women's health. She worked in the UK's National Health Service as a specialist nurse in Gynecology, Sexual and Contraceptive Health and Fertility for 20 years before founding Your Fertility Journey consultancy company. A member of the British Fertility Society and registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, she is a practitioner with Fertility UK where she receives regular training and clinical supervision. She has a special interest in both natural contraception and PCOS and has taken specialist training in the latter to enhance her knowledge and practice. She carries out consultations either using online video or at her Harley Street Clinic in London, providing both emotional support and clinical advice to her patients.  In 2017, Your Fertility Journey was awarded Best Fertility Consultancy UK by Lux Health, Beauty and Wellness Awards, and in 2019 were given the title of Best Fertility Consultancy and Best Fertility Nurse by GHP's Alternative Medicine and Holistic Health Awards. Find her on LinkedIn, follow her on Instagram at @your_fertility_journey, and listen to her on The Fertility Podcast.

Kate Davies - Independent Fertility Nurse
Your Fertility Journey

Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.