Pregnancy body: changes and challenges

Pregnancy body: changes and challenges

This article may help answer:

How will my body change during pregnancy?

How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?

Is pregnancy painful?

Even if you’re only a few weeks into your pregnancy, you may have started to see and feel small changes. Your body will continue to change as it does everything it can to support and nurture your baby – a good thing to remember when things don’t feel that great.

Remember your body is your baby’s first home – and we all like a happy tenant – so try to embrace all the changes you see and feel as positive ones. 

Find out more:

    While they’re difficult to spot to an outsider, you are likely to start feeling small changes almost immediately after becoming pregnant. 

     Many couples choose to keep news of their pregnancy to themselves until they have their first ultrasound


    Woman lying face down

    Morning sickness, tiredness, sore breasts and irritability are all early signs that you could be pregnant.

    Many couples choose to keep news of their pregnancy to themselves until they have their first ultrasound to check on their baby’s development at around the 12-week mark. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above – especially severe fatigue and morning sickness – it can be hard to carry on as normal around friends and colleagues.

    Get as much rest as you can, ease back on after-work functions and consider speaking with your pharmacist about a suitable over the counter treatment option.

    Although every woman is different, you’re not likely to look pregnant until you’re into your second trimester – from 13 to 29 weeks. By this time, you will find that your clothes feel tight and your bump is more obvious.

    Invest in some maternity wear, or clothes in a bigger size, to stay comfortable. Swollen feet are another (glamourous?) symptom of pregnancy so, if you must wear heels, take them off as often as you can and elevate your feet and legs when possible.

    Another change you might see – if you’re lucky – is fuller, more luscious hair. Pregnant women don’t lose as much hair as usual, so enjoy this little perk.

    While you shouldn’t experience persistent pain during pregnancy, there may be some aches and irritants that come and go. These include:

    • Itchy skin: The skin on your stomach may itch as it stretches over your growing baby bump. 
    • Varicose veins and haemorrhoids (piles):  You’ll be more susceptible to varicose veins and haemorrhoids during pregnancy. Avoid standing or sitting for too long and crossing your legs when you’re sitting down.
    • Vaginal discharge: It’s normal to have a thin, white discharge, called leucorrhea, at this time. It helps keep your vagina healthy. If you see any other type or colour of discharge, see your doctor.
    • Skin discolouration: Pregnancy hormones can cause dark patches on your face and stomach. The condition can be aggravated by the sun, so wear sunscreen. 
    • Shortness of breath: As your lungs process more oxygen to support your baby, you may feel short of breath, or breathe slightly faster.
    • Increased appetite: Growing a baby may make you feel constantly hungry. However, your actual energy needs don’t increase that much -   only slightly in the second trimester, and again in the third trimester. It’s a myth that you need to eat for two! If you do need a snack, choose a healthy option like fruit or yoghurt. 
    • Nipple leaks: Your nipples may start to leak colostrum, the liquid that feeds your baby until your breast milk kicks in. Wear breast pads to avoid any marks on your clothes.
    • Braxton-Hicks contractions: You might feel some weak practice contractions as your body prepares for birth. They’re called Braxton-Hicks contractions and they’ll come and go at irregular intervals. If they are strong and regular, call your doctor. You might be in labour.
    • Discomfort sleeping: You might also be having trouble sleeping, if so, here is a complete guide for sleeping while pregnant which may help.
    • Constipation: You may experience constipation during your pregnancy but don't worry because this is a symptom of pregnancy. We have put together some facts and tips to help with this pregnancy symptom here.

    Please don't hesitate to speak to your healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

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