How Will You Deal With Changes Pregnancy Does To Your Body.

Just like my mum would always have it said, “Pregnancy isn’t a disease”. It’s only the manifestation of a woman keeping (keeper) and nurturing what was given to her by her man with both making the decision to bring forth a new life. While my description of pregnancy medically is, it’s a physiological and hormonal change in a woman from the period of conception to birth following fertilization of the ovum by the sperm.

So it is very necessary to prepare your body for most exciting series of changes in your body which accompanies pregnancy i.e changes in your body, emotions, family life etc and even stress which if not well managed makes you feel more worse. These changes would not only affect emotions and feelings they also will create the “beauty of pregnancy” and may disrupt exercise impacts on the body and how the woman experiences her world through sight, smell and tastes

During the period of pregnancy, you may be mentally, financially and psychologically ready but How ready is your body/ how prepared is it for the baby? What changes would it get pre/during or post-conception? How does the body cope with these changes?  Lastly how has the changes affected or improved your family life? etc. The woman’s body undergoes many changes in lesser/greater /equal to nine months of pregnancy. Some of which are visible, others not. I’d classify these body changes using different body systems, which are;

HORMONAL CHANGES: i.e progesterone and estrogen (the chief pregnancy hormones) production is increased this will help in preparation for implantation, development and maturation of the fetus. These can result in serious effects like nausea and vomiting some may lead to increased salivation, enlargement of the breast, abdominal size in preparation for the baby…this however may increase the curvature of her back, may prompt getting new bras and clothes, ligament and joint laxity… making exercise difficult for mothers who used to exercise before pregnancy.

INCRFEASED BMI (Body mass index)/weight gain, may result from food cravings and excessive fluid retention causing swellings of the leg, ankle, face etc. Increase in body mass index may also limit activity.

TRY OUT– cutting down on the calories of food taken and cravings that will not really benefit the body good nutrient for the body.

-Simple exercises so as to keep fit.

-Ensure adequate rest, avoid long periods of standing, excessive caffeine and salt intake.

-Encourage eating of fruits, sea foods which are rich sources of potassium

BREAST CHANGES:  increased pigmentation and darkened areola,  pigmented skin around the nipple which may be protruded or retracted, nipple sensitivity and tenderness to touch, stretch marks, areolar lumps may sometimes leak breast milk.

TRY OUT– caring for the brassieres in those with breast milk leak to prevent pungent smell.

-Advice for self -pull in those with retracted nipples

-Avoid wearing of tight-fitted bras and cloths that may compress on the breast reduce pain and tenderness.

-See and make complain to your doctor during the antenatal care sessions

CERVICAL CHANGES:

In many the cervix thickens and produces mucus plugs that seals off the uterus as to protect the fetus from miscarriages.

-Ensure healthy cleaning of this area to prevent maternal infections that can harm the baby and the mother

GUSTATORY AND CHANGES IN SMELL:

-Where some crave more for saltier and sour and sweeter foods, some have taste preference. Many report heightened awareness of how they smell and perceive odor etc

-Not to worry much most typically regain their full gustatory and perceiving functions while those who don’t should try to avoid harsh perfumes, creams, food etc

VISUAL CHANGES:

Some experience near-sightedness, blurriness, discomfort with use of contact lenses. Some of these expectant mommas who are known diabetic or hypertensive may experience serious conditions like retinal detachment or loss of vision etc

TRY OUT– Visitation to the eye clinic for routine check, consumption of healthy food rich in vitamins etc

CARDIOVASCULAR/ RESPIRATORY:

-Palpitations (heart beat awareness) which were never or insignificantly there prior the pregnancy.

-Huffing and puffing while climbing few stairs, dizzy and fainting feelings, frequent change in blood pressure

-As the baby develops diaphragm moves upward causing difficulty in breathing with or without exercise

-Increase in the resting metabolic rate, hyperthermia or overheating of the body which may be harmful to the fetus development

TRY OUT– Avoid strenuous exercises that takes up more of the body energy, oxygen or cause palpitations as there are mild/moderate yoga exercises recommended for pregnant women

-There is also need to increase calorie consumption during pregnancy, encourage use of fans, swimming and wearing light colored and loose fitting clothes to prevent body from heating

-Intake of fluids and fruits, because they get dehydrated easily

Others are;

-Increased urination and excessive water intake

-Lack of or reduced urge for sex which can largely be aided by your partner by positioning the woman in a way that is convenient, use of lubricants and initiating foreplay to get her into the mood.

SKIN

-Physical changes like darkening of the skin tone of the face (mask of pregnancy/ melasma), areolar, abdomen, genitals etc which is more common in women with darker complexion but also in those with fairer skin due to more melanin production and deposition

-Moles, freckles boil, rashes etc

-Stretch marks or Striae gravidarum from the stretching of the skin and effects of hormone produced and is seen in about 90% of pregnant women. These marks also resolve but may not totally resolve.

TRY OUT–  Other natural body scrubbing ingredients to provide care of the skin, texture and tone and

-Encourage the use of broad spectrum of ultraviolet sunscreen to prevent sun burns.

Lastly proper Ante-nantal care is the most paramount of all where you are taught how to care for yourself and the baby. It provides avenue for the expectant mum to ask more than enough questions about their present state.

But when you really look into the situations, outcome and impact of these things…the emotional and psychological changes, body changes, the marks, the swellings and all  “Really are worth it” because it build your insight to see that pear –like structure called fetus turns baby, telling you and others how much of a keeper you really are and how much of joy and happiness that brings you.

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ADESANYA OLUWATOBILOBA,   A Medical student, College of medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo state. She is a member of Primebella Initiatives (A non governmental organisation where young females are trained and equipped to build their future). Oluwatobiloba likes art, fashion, music and focuses on improving love-driven relationships. Her hobbies are; travelling, cooking, and meeting new people. She’s also into food and event planning and currently resides at Ibadan, Nigeria.

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