A lot happens in a woman’s body during pregnancy as a result of all the hormones and organs working overtime to accommodate the new life growing in the uterus. Expecting mothers might have heard about and even come to accept these new developments that come with pregnancy, but it’s one thing to expect your body to change, and another to know exactly why those changes happen and how to manage them.
You should be able to ask your physician questions you have about what’s happening to your body and get clear answers, and at Guy’s and St Thomas Private Healthcare, this is a priority. The clinic provides premium medical care, private consultations and patient-focused care to demystify pregnancy and help you to expect these changes and prepare for them.
Cravings are a universally accepted part of pregnancy, but did you know that there’s no medical reason for them? There is speculation that the cravings are the body’s way of replacing the minerals it’s losing rapidly as the baby grows, or connected to iron deficiency which is common in pregnancy. Some serious (and very abnormal) cases can be due to an underlying illness. A simple visit to your doctor for maternity services could demystify your unusual cravings and set you on the right dietary path for a healthy pregnancy.
Swollen feet are a well-known part of pregnancy. For some women, their feet actually get bigger to the extent that their shoe sizes change. This has been linked to the increase in growth hormone, which while it’s making the baby grow, is also making the potential mum get larger-especially in the extremities of the hands and feet.
As the expectant mother adds weight and her body expands to accommodate the foetus, her skin stretches too. In some cases, due to the rapid growth, the skin stretches too fast and the marks from that trauma to the skin can be found around the stomach, thighs, back and even on the shoulders and arms.
There’s ‘pregnancy glow’, then there’s this dramatic change in skin colour. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause an increase in melanin production, leading to the woman getting “darker”, or a prominent dark line running down her stomach. This is called melasma and is more common in dark-skinned women.
Again, this undesirable change is linked to the common culprit-oestrogen. This hormone is responsible for growth and expansion during pregnancy, and it takes that job seriously. Oestrogen causes an increase in blood flow to the mucous membranes of the body, which includes the nose, causing it to get plumper and widen.
A lot of women get luscious, full and shiny hair during the first stages of the pregnancy, only for their hair to start shedding as the 3rd trimester approaches. This is because oestrogen levels in the body have fallen as the body readies itself for birth.
Some of these changes are temporary and can be managed with the intervention of the specialists at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ to prioritise your health and that of the foetus.