There’s a whole lot of things that happen to a person’s body when they’re pregnant. Most of these things are not covered in health classes (at least not where I’m from) and a lot of women learn about what their body does in pregnancy through actually being pregnant.
Needless to say, some things can be quite shocking. Plus, not every person has the exact same pregnancy, so what might’ve happened in one body may not happen in another.
If you’re like me and have gone years without knowing what happens to the human body during pregnancy then this article is here to enlighten you a little bit. Here are 16 of the most common things people have to come to terms with while pregnant, during childbirth, and after childbirth.
1. Skin tone and skin complexion can change during pregnancy. This can either be positive or negative, but the addition of extra hormones usually causes some change in a woman’s relationship with her skin.
2. Pregnant women have less oxygen in their blood which is what causes the forgetfulness better yet known as ‘pregnancy brain.
3. Because of all the extra hormones during pregnancy, it’s common for pregnant women to see thicker hair and longer nails. But after pregnancy, there’s a very real reality of post-partum shedding.
4. From the second trimester onward, a baby is actually just drinking its own pee. They pee in the uterus and it gets filtered back around, they drink it and then pee again, etc. It’s a whole cycle.
5. After a woman has given birth she will need to wear massive mesh underwear with built-in pads because the uterus has to get rid of all the cells that were lining it during pregnancy. Some women leak their breast milk which means they’ll also need a mesh bra to match their underwear.
6. In the later trimester, the weight of a baby presses down on the bladder causing most people to have to pee quite often.
7. While pregnant it’s common to develop “linea nigra” which is a dark line going down the center of the stomach. This goes away for some but doesn’t for others.
8. When a person gives birth, they actually deliver twice. First comes the child and then the placenta. It can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to twenty for the placenta to detach from its lining.
9. Sometimes med students watch a person give birth. They aren’t necessarily there for a good ole time, but they’re simply there to learn and observe. Something to come to terms with or think about before giving birth maybe?
10. While a baby is still in the womb, they can apparently cry. Doctors don’t believe that the unborn child is necessarily upset but rather that they’re just practicing for when the time comes. Still, seems kind of sad to be told your baby is crying during an ultrasound.
11. During pregnancy, a woman is more likely to break a bone due to a hormone called relaxin. The hormone allows the joints to soften so that the hips and pelvis can open up for birth. Gotta come to terms with taking it easy.
12. There’s a good reason why pregnant people are more hormonal than non-pregnant people and that’s actually because the placenta produces more estrogen in a day than a non-pregnant woman could produce in three years.
13. Even after giving birth, the stomach doesn’t automatically go flat again. It takes several weeks for the uterus to shrink back down. Six weeks to be exact. For that reason, a lot of women are still wearing their maternity clothes even after birth.
14. Pregnant women must pass something called a ‘mucous plug’ as their body gets ready for labor. It may come out clear, pink, or slightly bloody and the texture is exactly what it sounds like.
15. While in utero, babies are covered in a waxy, cream cheese-like coating. Many babies are still born with this on their skin and it can be a little alarming, but definitely just a weird thing one has to accept about childbirth.
16. Because of water weight, pregnant people will typically see their feet swell up to one whole size larger than their pre-pregnancy size. In fact, a person’s feet may never even go back to their prior size.