Whether you’re having a baby for the first time or not, you probably have some idea of what you think it’s going to be like. However, no two pregnancies are the same, so even an experienced mother can have different circumstances during different pregnancies.
From your first pregnancy to your last, Dr. Staci McHale and her skilled team at New Beginnings OB-GYN can offer you experienced, quality care. We provide Las Vegas, Nevada residents with a wide range of women’s health services throughout their lives, including prenatal care and childbirth. Even if you think you know what to expect, read on to find out five things you were likely not told about being pregnant.
1. Behavioral changes
Hormonal shifts during pregnancy cause a number of behavioral changes such as mood swings and strange food cravings, but there are many changes that aren’t commonly discussed. In your first trimester, you may notice symptoms like forgetfulness and concentration problems because your mind and body are focusing on you and your baby’s needs.
Another change that starts happening near the end of pregnancy is the nesting instinct which gives you a powerful urge to prepare for your bundle of joy by cleaning and decorating your home. Rather than just sweeping or wiping down counters, this can actually take the form of washing walls, cleaning cupboards, or other ways of preparing for the baby to come.
2. Skin changes
There are obvious changes in your body during the nine months of your pregnancy, including your belly growing as the baby develops and breasts getting larger to prepare for feeding. However, other subtle physical changes are taking place as well.
To start, when someone says you have a pregnancy glow, it’s actually because of hormonal changes and stretching skin. When you’re pregnant, your blood volume increases to provide more blood to your uterus, kidneys, and oil glands, which can affect the appearance of your skin and lead to that famous glow.
Other changes to your skin may include acne, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration on your face known as melasma or chloasma. Even your hair and nails can change in texture and growth during pregnancy.
3. Sensory changes
Your hormones play a key role in many changes to your body during this time, affecting everything from the changes in your uterus and breasts to your voice. Hormones may cause your vocal folds to swell, creating a change in your voice’s pitch (which your baby can recognize as early as your third trimester).
You may also experience changes in taste and smell, with dysgeusia (a decrease in your ability to taste food) in your first trimester. Often you may develop a preference for saltier and sweeter foods and have sensitivity to various odors.
4. Mobility changes
While pregnant, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which prepares the cervix and the overall pubic area for childbirth. This hormone loosens ligaments and can actually affect your stability, increasing the risk of falling, overstretching, and straining your joints. This is more likely in your pelvic joints, lower back, and knees.
5. The birthing process
Once you're finally ready to give birth, a new set of surprises await you. The amniotic sac that has surrounded your baby during pregnancy ruptures (also known as your water breaking). There are usually up to three cups of fluid that come out, which may be accompanied by a strong urge to urinate.
Nausea and vomiting may happen during childbirth, along with diarrhea or gas during labor. During your birthing process, there is often a lot of blood as you deliver your baby as well as the placenta (the source of your baby’s nutrients).
This is a natural process that is different for each woman and for each pregnancy, but these are just some of the things you can expect during this life-changing experience. If you’re pregnant and you want to be ready for all of the changes to come, contact Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today.