Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes. This is a known fact among multiparous women (women who have been pregnant more than once). However, ladies who have never been pregnant may not be aware of this. Primiparous women (first pregnancy) may have knowledge of it, but this may depend on the gestational age (number of weeks of pregnancy) and if the person takes her antenatal clinic seriously. It is good to know even before time, about these changes. This is important because statistics have shown that most women who have no preformed idea about pregnancy and the life after childbirth tend to have pregnancy ‘blues’ more than those who know and have prepared their minds for it. In order words, having a good knowledge about the changes that will take place in your body can help, as a good factor, to keep your emotions in check.
1. Weight gain: every pregnant woman gains at least one extra kilogram from the fetus. Generally, nevertheless, towards the end of pregnancy, an average of 12 kilograms are gained by the woman. So when you gain weight during pregnancy, don’t feel bad.
2. Low blood pressure: both the systolic and the diastolic pressure falls. Also, there is relaxation of peripheral vessels due to the effect of progesterone. These cause reduction in blood pressure. However, in some bad situations, some women develop high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) which is a very bad condition.
3. Skin changes: darkening of the midline of the abdomen (Linea nigra) and formation of stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are some of the skin changes. Chloasma (yellowish brown spots mostly on the face) and palma erythema (red patch on the skin) are also part of the skin changes that occur during pregnancy.
4. Varicose veins: the fetus could compress the femoral vessels (vessels supplying blood to, or draining blood from the feet, legs and thighs), especially the veins and this will lead to engorgement of blood within the veins leading to varicose veins.
5. Vomiting: most women experience early morning sickness which includes vomiting, dizziness, fatigue and others.
6. Fainting symptoms: This happens when the woman lies on her back. The large uterus (womb) compresses the great vessels underlying it. To prevent this, she has to lie on her sides.
7. Signs of anemia: the woman’s iron store deplete during pregnancy. Iron is needed for formation of red blood cells. Therefore, depletion of iron store during pregnancy leads to reduced red blood cell formation. The signs could be, weakness or fatigue most of the time. She has to be on drugs that supplement iron. This will be provided in the antenatal clinic.
There are many other changes that occur in the body of a pregnant woman. These are the most common however. Some, if not most of these changes occur due to changes in the hormones of the body. Progesterone plays a huge role.
These things, and more will be discussed in the antenatal clinic. Therefore, it is very necessary that a woman who has found out that she is pregnant goes to antenatal clinic to get adequate information about her pregnancy, what to expect and the things to do with regards to the pregnancy and even the delivery.