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20 Amazing Facts About Pregnancy

20 Your Body Was Preparing For This

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In fact, your body has been getting ready to be pregnant every single month in your life. After each menstrual cycle, your body begins producing estrogen and progesterone–hormones that prime your body for pregnancy.

If your egg cell is not fertilized, however, the levels of these hormones go down and the uterine lining that has been prepared will go out of your body as menstrual blood. The cycle then begins again. If you think about it, your body has been patiently waiting for this pregnancy to happen all along. Now that’s pretty amazing.
19 Hormones Change Your Body in Amazing Ways

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Estrogen is a hormone that helps you build a uterine lining where the fetus can implant and receive adequate nourishment. It also helps prepare your breasts for lactation, so you might notice that your breasts are particularly sensitive when you’re most fertile. Progesterone also prepares you for lactation, as well as regulates water balance and other changes in your body to prepare it to carry a child.
18 You Don’t Need To Eat For Two

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Granted you’re eating a full and healthy diet, you probably don’t need to add on extra calories at least for the first three months. In fact, when you get to the second trimester, one extra slice of bread with cheese or a tasty spread is enough to provide the additional calories your baby needs.

Your body is able to deal with calories so efficiently that it can nourish the two of you with nearly the same amount of calories as when there was just one. This is because one of the functions of progesterone is to slow down your digestive system so that it can absorb more nutrients than usual.
17 What You Eat Is Important

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Your baby will require adequate amounts of folate for various reasons. For instance, you will require folate to facilitate brain development during the first eight weeks. You’re also going to need extra iron and calcium for the development of your baby’s blood circulation, teeth, and bones.

Check with your doctor for a complete list of the nutrients you need to take, as well as if you’ll need any supplements. Late in pregnancy, your stomach may also have a smaller capacity due to the increasing size of your uterus. You may have to eat smaller, but more frequent meals to cope.
16 Cravings May Mean You’re Not Getting Enough

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We’ve all heard stories about pregnancy cravings. In fact, pregnant mothers are a bit more prone to a condition called pica, which means craving non-edible things such as chalk or dirt. It turns out that these cravings may be a signal that your body needs more of a particular nutrient.

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If you’re experiencing any intense craving, whether for food or something a bit strange, talk to your doctor. It may be time to take on a supplement or two.
15 Your Sense of Smell Gets Sharper

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Late in the first trimester, you may begin to notice that you smell things more intensely. This is the point where you may get thrown off by the smell of garlic even if you enjoyed it before your pregnancy. Scientists think this is to help you avoid eating or drinking things that are not safe for your baby.
14 You Create an All-In-One Organ

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Since your baby’s organs start literally as just a single cell that splits and develops over time, your placenta has to cover for many of the vital functions that they’re not able to do yet. This includes providing nourishment, a task of the digestive system. It also provides a steady supply of oxygen, which is normally done through the teamwork of the circulatory and respiratory systems. It also picks up the waste products in the blood, something that the urinary system is typically responsible for.

See, your placenta has plenty of blood vessels. Your baby’s blood vessels connect to it through the umbilical cord. Through this connection, your body delivers much-needed oxygen and nutrients and then picks up all the waste products.

After childbirth, your placenta then exits your body, having fulfilled its purpose.
13 Your Body Puts the Baby First

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A mother would do anything to protect her children. It turns out that it’s not just a mental or emotional instinct. It’s a physiological one as well. Remember all those nutrients going from you to your placenta to your baby? Well, your body tries to ensure that your baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs first, sometimes to the point of depleting your own nutritional stocks.
12 Last Place Can Sometimes Suck

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Because your body gives priority to your baby, you may experience some uncomfortable side effects. Among them are getting nauseous, shaking or passing out. These are symptoms of low blood sugar. Because your body prioritizes your baby, your blood sugar might get particularly low if you haven’t eaten for a while. One way to address this is to take small and frequent meals instead of your usual three big ones in a day.
11 Your Uterus Balloons

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When you think about it, the uterus is a pretty amazing organ. It starts off at 7.6 x 4.5 cm in diameter, roughly the size of an orange. However, when it gets pumped up with the hormones that increase during pregnancy, tissue growth is stimulated. The muscle and elastic tissue build up, along with blood vessels and nerve endings.

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By the time your baby is ready to leave your body, it is about 500 to 1,000 times its original size and could weigh up to 20 times more. This is roughly the size of a really big watermelon. Of course, this also depends on how big your baby is and whether you’re carrying multiple babies in your womb. Even more amazing, it shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size soon after you deliver.
10 You Become More Flexible

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Pushing all that baby out of your body is not going to be easy. Normally, our bodies would not be able to handle all that pressure. However, a hormone released during pregnancy called relaxin can make your joints and cartilage more flexible. This allows your pelvis to expand wide enough to allow the largest part of your baby, the head, to pass through.
9 Your Baby’s Head is Flexible

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It’s just not enough that your pelvis is going to expand to accommodate your baby’s head. Your baby’s head also compresses a little bit during labor. This is because at this point, the skull is still composed of separate bones with flexible sutures. This allows them to overlap, allowing easy passage through the birth canal.
8 There’s More Blood to Go Around

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Because you’re going to need extra blood to deliver nutrients to your baby, you’re going to need more of it to help things go around. On average, a pregnant mother’s blood volume increases just shy of 50% its usual volume by the third trimester.
7 Itchiness is a Sign You’re Growing

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Expectant mothers commonly experience itching, particularly around their tummy and breasts. This can also happen to other parts of the body as well. You’re beginning to accommodate more fluid in your body. Of course, your tummy is also growing because of your growing baby. And your breasts are preparing to produce milk. It stretches your skin in a pretty short period of time. All that itching is just a symptom of this stretching. If it’s really bothersome, however, you may want to consult a doctor just in case there’s another cause.
6 Your Pregnancy Affects Your Partner

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Studies show that expectant fathers may also experience hormonal changes when their partner is pregnant. One study showed that when men become dads, their levels of testosterone go down. It wasn’t a huge drop and it’s not clear what mechanism causes this. Scientists speculate, however, that this may function to make fathers more protective of their young.
5 It Can Get Pretty Intense

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Some fathers begin to experience something called couvade syndrome, which is also known as a sympathetic pregnancy. This usually consists of weight gain and morning sickness. In extreme cases, however, they can also experience labor pain and postpartum depression. Again, scientists aren’t quite sure why this happens. It may be in response to the mother’s hormones, or it may be a psychological reaction to pregnancy.
4 You Get Gorgeous Hair and Nails

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Estrogen slows down the growth rate of your cells. This results in less hair fall, with the added effect of having shinier locks and harder nails. Enjoy it while it lasts, however, as they will probably go back to your pre-pregnancy state after you give birth.
3 The Fetus Can Hear You at Four Months

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Many mothers swear that playing music while their baby is in their tummy makes their kids smarter. While there aren’t exactly studies to support that, it’s good to know that at four months, your baby’s ears and brain will have developed enough that they can hear you! The first thing they’re probably going to hear is your heartbeat. They may also begin to hear muffled versions of outside sounds, so feel free to talk and play some music. At six months, they begin to turn their heads towards noises.
2 Your Baby May Dream at Seven Months

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Scientists who study the brain activity of fetuses have discovered that babies begin to have REM sleep at around this time. REM or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep is the stage of sleep in which we have dreams. Makes you wonder what dreams they have!
1 The Mother and Child Bond Is Strong

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Arguably the most interesting study on pregnancy that has come out in the past decade is one that found cells of children living in their mother’s bodies even well after they’re born. This was discovered by accident some years ago when researchers found male cells lingering in women’s bodies. More interestingly, these cells were far less common in the brains of women who had Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.

No one is sure why this is so, but scientists think fetal cells may have a protective effect on their mothers. Now that’s a link that’s amazing as well as heartwarming!

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