A woman’s body will undergo many changes during nine months of pregnancy. The physical characteristics of pregnant women that easily look like an enlarged abdomen due to an enlarged uterus, weight gain, nausea and back pain. However, somebody changes may be unexpected and make some pregnant women surprised.
According to Kim Trout, a certified nurse-midwife in Philadelphia, one change that often makes some pregnant women surprised is an increase in breast size. The next unexpected change is varicose veins in the genitals. Maybe pregnant women think that varicose veins are only in the legs during pregnancy, but veins near the vagina and vulva can also become swollen and usually appear in the third trimester. Read more refer to the explanation of the physical characteristics of pregnant women below.
Physical Characteristics of Pregnant Women
Not only nausea to the size of an enlarged abdomen, but there are also many physical features of pregnant women from head to toe, including the following:
1. Bleeding gums
Bleeding gums is one of the physical characteristics of pregnant women, which is often experienced. This condition has the potential to become an infection such as inflammation of the gums. Women become more susceptible to infections during pregnancy because of their weakened immune system.
But some women are afraid to go to the dentist during pregnancy, and if the dentist recommends dental X-ray examination during pregnancy, this is actually still safe, while the stomach is properly protected from radiation.
2. Changes to the hair
Pregnant women may have good hair because estrogen increases the growth phase of hair follicles which results in thicker and healthier hair.
Not only has thick hair, but also more hair growth on the body, sometimes in unwanted places, such as around the upper lip, stomach, back, and nipples.
When estrogen levels decrease after giving birth, you can shave your hair. Or even experience hair loss, which often occurs after bathing and this is normal. Relax, your hair will grow back as it was before four to six months after giving birth.
3. Changes to the nail
The physical characteristics of pregnant women also appear on the nails that tend to be rough, and this condition makes the nails more fragile. Nail changes are caused by increased blood flow to the fingers and toes because of increased estrogen levels. Like hair, nails also tend to grow faster when pregnant.
4. Changes to the skin
Skin changes are very common during pregnancy, but pregnant women who tend to worry about is stretch marks. These pink and purplish lines are usually seen on a woman’s stomach, breasts, buttocks or thighs, which tends to cause itching.
The physical characteristics of a pregnant woman are more likely to occur in women who are obese, gain weight quickly during pregnancy, or have large fetal weights. Stretch marks may be caused by damage to collagen or connective tissue that supports the skin, where the skin has experienced rapid growth and stretching. This condition will usually shrink after giving birth and will appear faint over time.
In addition to stretch marks, the following changes to other skin:
- Bright skin: Women who are pregnant may often have bright skin, this is because of increased blood circulation to the skin. But not everything is bright when it comes to skin changes during pregnancy. Pigment changes are also known as melasma or chloasma.
- Spots on the skin : Dark brownish patches of skin may appear on the face around the eyes and on the cheeks and nose, due to increased melanin, the pigment that gives skin color.
- Linea nigra (stomach line). In addition, fluctuating hormone levels can produce a dark line in the middle of the abdomen that runs from the navel to the pubic bone. Known as linea nigra, these pigment changes are usually more common in women with dark skin and usually fade after giving birth.
5. Acne worsens
The condition of acne can also worsen during pregnancy or even cause the appearance of pimples on a smooth face.
Hormonal changes that cause the skin to remove more oil may be the cause of acne.
6. Changes in the breast
The breast of a pregnant woman may feel firmer, softer and the nipples more sensitive to touch. To overcome this, you can wear a pregnant bra while sleeping.
In addition, the skin around the nipple (areola) will look dark and enlarged early in pregnancy. The breast of a pregnant woman may begin to secrete colostrum, which is milk fluid. The physical characteristics of pregnant women usually occur during the third trimester but can occur earlier.
When the belly of a pregnant woman gets bigger at the end of the second trimester or during the third, her navel tends to bulge out.
7. Changes in body temperature
Pregnant women will tend to feel warmer and sweat a lot because of increased metabolism and sweat gland activity. To stay cool, especially in summer, it is advisable to wear loose clothing and drink plenty of water every day.
Pregnant women should drink enough water when the urine looks yellow, not like the color of tea. However, some prenatal vitamins can also change the reddish-yellow urine.
8. Changes in joints and ligaments
During pregnancy, the body will release relaxin or pregnancy hormones, which function to loosen joints and ligaments and this can facilitate labor.
Relaxin not only relaxes ligaments in a woman’s pelvis to prepare for labor but also stretches the joints and ligaments throughout the body. This can cause back pain and sciatica, or pain along the sciatic nerve – which starts in the lower back and radiates through the back and bottom of the leg.
Relaxin, also causes the stomach to appear larger and increased curvature of the spine. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to do yoga, especially cat poses and cow poses, which are good for lower body discomfort.
9. Swelling in the legs and face
Not a few pregnant women experience swelling in the legs, which is caused by an increase in growth hormone. Swelling in the legs and ankles can also occur because the body produces additional fluid that may be fused in these two areas. The hands and wrists also experience swelling.
The characteristics of a pregnant person from facial expression will also appear to experience swelling. As labor approaches, the swelling usually becomes more visible.
As a treatment for swelling, drink eight to 10 glasses of fluid every day, don’t drink caffeine or eat salty foods, and get enough rest.
If the hands or feet swell suddenly or gain weight quickly – possibly preeclampsia, consult a doctor immediately.
10. Foot cramps
Pregnant women may experience cramps in the legs suddenly, feel something is moving in the legs or a desire to move the feet, especially at night.
The physical characteristics of pregnant women can be caused by a lack of iron or potassium in the body. As an aid, stretch your legs before going to bed and exercise regularly. You can also eat bananas that contain lots of potassium.
Consult with your obstetrician or nutritionist to find out the levels of iron in the body. If it’s too low, your doctor may recommend you take iron supplements.