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Pregnancy brings with it a wave of surprises, right from seeing your belly get bigger, inch by inch, to feeling your baby kick for the first time. As the weeks go by, you’re bound to notice some changes in your body – and they’re not always ones that you were warned about. While a majority of these changes will eventually fade away after delivery, there are some that may stay for a while, which will require adjusting to, or just some TLC to help brush them away. Let’s explore some changes you should expect during pregnancy and simple ways to deal with them.
Changes in Your Body During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be an exciting, yet scary time, especially with your body changing in ways you may never expect. However, knowing what changes to expect allows you to physically (and mentally) prepare for them, making your life much easier during this 9-month journey. Here are a few of the changes you may see in your body.
1. Stretch Marks
One of the most common changes you should expect in your body during pregnancy, stretch marks bring about mixed feelings. While some women proudly sport them as a symbol of the journey they’re on, others aren’t their biggest fans. Simply a result of the skin being pulled and expanding to accommodate your growing baby, stretch marks are essentially tears in the tissue. Love them or hate them, you will most likely start spotting these pink, yellow, or sometimes, purple or brown streaks slowly appear on your belly, shoulders, breasts, hips, and thighs around the 13th week of pregnancy. Don’t fret though – all is not lost! There are some easy ways to minimise their appearance, such as moisturising your skin and amping up your Vitamin C intake to keep the skin toned and elastic. If you’re anticipating stretch marks during pregnancy, establish a skin care routine as early as possible to avoid them.
Tip: You can also apply a generous amount of Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks on areas where you notice stretch marks keep cropping up. Enriched with Vitamin E, shea butter, cocoa butter, and bio c-elaste, this cream will keep your skin supple and boost the production of collagen, bringing back elasticity and hydrating your skin. Preventing the development of stretch marks is the most effective way to keep them at bay, since you’ll have limited success once they’ve already appeared, so get started early!
2. Shoe Size
You may be surprised at the correlation between shoe size (and feet, in general) and pregnancy. Many women have noticed that their feet seemed to have gone up a size by the end of pregnancy. This increase in shoe size can happen due to three reasons. One is that the extra weight carried during pregnancy flattens feet out, making them longer. It can also be caused by the hormone relaxin, which relaxes the bones and ligaments to increase the elasticity of the body during childbirth. Relaxin also makes the ligaments in the feet relaxed and spread out, which increases the length of the feet. Last, but not the least, swelling, caused by extra fluids produced by the body collecting in the feet and ankles, can also lead to a change in shoe size.
Tip: While any swelling will eventually subside, your feet will still remain longer, so all the more reason to buy more SHOES! Invest in comfortable, stretchy footwear (no heels) and keep your feet elevated to get relief from any discomfort.
3. Dry Skin
Another change you can expect to see during pregnancy is your skin becoming dry, itchy, and flaky. With hormonal changes taking over your body, this is a side-effect you may definitely not be anticipating (or looking forward to). Get ready to experience itchiness and dryness around your stomach, thighs, breasts, and arms. It can also occur as a result of dehydration, which is common during pregnancy.
Tip: Some ways to tackle this unwanted dryness are by sipping on water throughout the day, moisturising your skin, and limiting shower time. Using a stretch mark cream, such as the Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks, will also work wonders in reducing dryness, as it’s made with ingredients that specifically add moisture to the skin and improve collagen production, leaving you with soft, supple, and hydrated skin.
4. Breast Size
Prepare for your bra size to go up a couple of notches, especially during the first trimester. With nobody to thank except skyrocketing oestrogen and progesterone levels, there’s not much you can do about this increase in breast size, but prepare for it. Your breasts will continue to grow through the pregnancy and even after the birth of your baby, right until your milk production stops. In fact, your breasts may even feel more sensitive, tender and full. Don’t worry though! All of this will eventually go back to normal once you stop lactating.
Tip: Invest in good quality maternity bras, made with breathable fabric, so you get good support and don’t feel suffocated or claustrophobic. If you require additional support, wear a maternity bra while sleeping as well, which can help with any soreness and pain too.
5. Dental Health
With your immune system taking a beating during pregnancy, you can also expect a dip in oral health. Let’s also not forget about the hormones in your body affecting the bacteria in your mouth and acid from morning sickness wreaking havoc on the enamel of your teeth! Pregnant women often complain of bleeding or sore gums due to an increase in blood flow, as well as gingivitis and cavities. In fact, when left untreated and in extreme cases excessive bacterial growth in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, travelling to the uterus and triggering prostaglandin production, which can induce preterm labour.
Tip: Even if you don’t have any complaints, go for regular dental cleanings, which remove any hidden plaque that regular brushing and flossing may not. All it takes is good oral hygiene and regular checkups to keep any dental issues at bay.
Changes to Look Forward to During Pregnancy
While we’ve covered some less-than-pleasant changes during pregnancy, the good changes can’t be ignored, especially since they’re what you’ll remember when you look back at this time.
Many first-time moms-to-be struggle with accepting that they can take care of their baby well. However, there comes a time during pregnancy where your maternal instinct kicks in and you begin preparing to bring your little one home. You may not even realise this change when you’re pregnant, but you’ll definitely be able to look back and identify it.
2. That Pregnancy Glow
Say hello to good skin days, as the increase in blood flow in your body gives your face a glow that’s hard to miss. Remember to revel in all the compliments and click as many selfies as you can!
3. Great Hair
If you’ve ever wished for thick luscious hair, you’re in luck, because pregnancy gifts you just that. The increase in hormone production makes your hair grow thicker and longer, not to forget, shiny. Look for these changes in your nails as well.
The key to sailing through your pregnancy is by being prepared for the changes that come with it. These are just a few of the surprises in store for you during pregnancy. So, enjoy this time, nurture the little one growing inside of you, and prepare for the adventure you’re about to embark on!