By Jacob Maslow – Branded Content

It’s no surprise that pregnancy changes the human body. As a woman carries a child, her body goes through many changes to ensure she and the baby can endure the next nine months safely. In addition to shifting her organs to accommodate the baby, there are many other subtle changes that aren’t immediately apparent. 

Here are nine surprising facts about pregnancy and some reasons why the human body changes so much during pregnancy.

1. Hot Flashes

Pregnant women often experience hot flashes during the third trimester, but they can be experienced at any phase of pregnancy. You may find yourself kicking off the covers in the middle of the night or trying to quench an overwhelming thirst. If kicking off the covers is accompanied by soaked sheets, don’t fret—pregnancy hot flashes are perfectly normal. Your body temperature should return to normal once your baby is here and hormones have gone back to normal. Here are a few easy ways to cop in the meantime:

  • Wear less/light layers and cool fabrics.
  • Turn on fans and air conditioning.
  • Drink iced water.
  • Try breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques.

2. Brain Fog

Pregnancy brain, also known as “mommy brain” is a real phenomenon where women experience brain fog, memory loss, and difficulty focusing. Studies have found that pregnant women have poorer cognitive functioning, as well as memory and executive functioning, but these changes do not affect factors such as job performance. Furthermore, they were only noticeable to close relationships and to the pregnant woman herself. Remember that you’re not alone if you’re experiencing mental fog while pregnant. Even though it can be frustrating, you can take steps to feel more in control, such as getting more exercise, improving sleep hygiene, and taking prenatal vitamins to boost brain health. You can be assured that these symptoms usually subside after giving birth, and it’s just a phenomenon of the incredible pregnancy experience.

3. Bloating Everywhere

Pregnancy doesn’t just make your abdomen bigger. Additionally, pregnant women often experience bloating and swelling throughout their bodies, which is partly caused by the excess fluid retained in the body. The increased levels of progesterone in a pregnant woman cause the muscles in her body to relax. As a result, all muscles relax, including those that help the digestive tract move food out of the body. The decrease in digestion times increases gas and feelings of bloat.

4. Lots of Hair

Pregnant women commonly experience an increase in hair growth, particularly in new areas of the body, such as the face, chest, abdomen, and arms. There’s no need to panic, this is just a result of the ovaries and placenta producing more male hormones, which will decrease after delivery. However, it’s not all bad news, as the hair on the head is also known to become thicker and grow faster during pregnancy, so some women’s hair may appear more glossy and vibrant than usual.

5. Bad Breath

Another unfortunate pregnancy side effect is bad breath. This is thought to be due to the change in hormones during pregnancy, which may cause bacteria in the mouth to become inflamed and overgrown, resulting in bad breath and bleeding gums. Make sure you’re getting regular dental checkups and that you’re brushing and flossing regularly to prevent decay and gum disease.

6. Itchy Stomach

As skin expands rapidly, it becomes dry, itchy, and uncomfortable, resulting in stretch marks. Itching can vary in severity between women, but it can be very uncomfortable. In addition, pregnancy hot flashes can also contribute to itchy skin. To combat this, reduce the heat of the water in the shower or bath and apply moisturizing creams or oils before you are completely dry. 

7. The Nesting Instinct

Many women feel the nesting instinct during pregnancy, a powerful urge to prepare their home for the baby. As your due date draws near, you may find yourself cleaning out cabinets or washing walls – things you would never have dreamed of doing in your ninth month of pregnancy! Preparing your home before birth is useful because you’ll have fewer things to do after the birth. However, be careful not to overdo it.

8. Mood Swings

Pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome are similar in many ways. During this time, your breasts swell and become tender, your hormones fluctuate, and you may feel moody. You are more likely to experience mood swings during pregnancy if you have PMS. Fluctuations in hormones can make you go from being happy one minute to feeling like crying the next. Mood swings are very common during pregnancy. They tend to occur more in the first trimester and toward the end of the third trimester. Pregnant women often suffer from depression during pregnancy. If you experience sleep problems, changes in eating habits, or mood swings for more than two weeks, speak with your health care provider.

9. Sweating

Perspiring excessively is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body sweats more due to increased blood flow and metabolism. Even though the body may not be physically active, it is working hard to create another human life, so, understandably, sweating and pregnancy hot flashes are a natural response.

Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow //