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Congratulations, mama-to-be! On top of everything about your baby, you must be wondering how this pregnancy is about to change your body too. The truth is, pregnancy body changes are more than just having a tummy that grows bigger every week or morning sickness like what you always saw in dramas and movies. The moment you get pregnant, your body goes through significant hormonal changes, causing every organ in your body to change as well. Here are some pregnancy body changes that you might not have expected as a first-time to-be mom:
More Facial and Body Hair
Yes, while your pregnancy hormones may give you that beautiful “pregnancy glow” and thicker and fuller hair on top of your head, they can also cause more visible hair growth on unwanted parts of your body like your upper lips area, belly, armpits and bikini line. Luckily, these hairs are not here to stay forever. Your hair — including those on top of your head too, unfortunately — should return to its normal volume in around half a year after you give birth.
Until that happens, there are ways for you to safely remove your hair during pregnancy. Check with your gynae on which are the safe ways for you to shave, and what are the safe practices you should take note of when you shave. Tweezing, threading, shaving or waxing your hair are only safe for you provided that you get your gynae’s green light and do it with the right method.
Dark Patches on Skin
As weeks went by during your pregnancy, you may start to notice multiple new dark spots or dark patches on your face. These are called melasma, or commonly called “the mask of pregnancy”. Before you start worrying about which anti-pigmentation products to get, it helps to know that melasma typically fades after you give birth — just like any other pregnancy symptoms that you might experience.
So what exactly causes Melasma? The culprit is the increase of estrogen and progesterone levels in your body during pregnancy. A spike of these two hormones can stimulate excess melanin production, which is more commonly known as hyperpigmentation. Melasma is more common among Asian women, and exposure to sunlight may exaggerate its appearance too. To minimize melasma, apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 during the day. Taking your prenatal folic acid consistently also helps, because some experts suggest that folic acid deficiency may lead to skin discolourations.
Linea Nigra (Pregnant Belly Line)
If you notice a dark vertical line in the middle of your belly that goes all the way down to your pubic area during pregnancy, that’s your linea nigra. If you have a darker skin tone, your linea nigra tend to be more visible too. While this unfamiliar dark streak seemed to have magically appeared, it has actually been there all along — it just gets a bit darker due to your pregnancy hormones. This dark line typically shows up by the time you enter your second trimester, which is around the 23rd week. Meanwhile, your areolas, your underarms and the area between your thighs may appear darker too due to your pregnancy body changes.
You probably already expect we are about to say this, but yes, all these skin discolouration will gradually fade on its own a few months after you give birth. To minimise the appearance of your linea nigra, protect your tummy from the sunlight as much as possible, and use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.
Shortness of Breath
You may find yourself breathing faster or feeling like you can’t get enough air as you enter the third and last trimester of your pregnancy. Don’t worry, shortness of breath is a common symptom of pregnancy as your baby grows. Here’s what exactly is happening in your body: As your fetus grows, your uterus pushes on your diaphragm — the muscle that contracts and expands your chest as you inhale and exhale. Along with your diaphragm’s activity range becoming limited, it slightly compresses your lungs too, causing you to get less air with each breath. To make sure both you and your baby gets enough oxygen with less lung capacity, your body releases the progesterone hormones to make you breathe faster, which eventually may leave you with shortness of breath.
To help yourself breathe more comfortably, consider trying safe prenatal exercises like prenatal yoga, but make sure to get your doctor’s approval before attempting any of these exercises. Prenatal exercises like aerobic and yoga can help to stretch your body and improve your breathing. Remember to do any exercise that you choose with moderation, and pay attention to how your body reacts to it.
When we say pregnancy changes every part of your body, we mean your teeth and gums too. How? First of all, the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body can make your teeth looser by temporarily loosening your gums. Furthermore, with pregnancy cravings, you may eat certain foods more than usual, which may affect your dental health. This may come in as a surprise — some pregnant mommies may feel nauseous when brushing their teeth, which may cause them to brush less often and lead to oral health issues too. So what kind of dental health issues are we looking at here? They include cavities, gum inflammation or bleeding (also called gingivitis) and tooth erosion due to excessive exposure to stomach acid from morning sickness.
To take care of your oral health during pregnancy, schedule regular dental appointments with your local dentist. Also, brush your teeth gently with fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles twice a day. You can keep your teeth away from plaque and cavities with regular and thorough brushing. As for mommies-to-be with a sweet tooth, try your best to keep your intake of sweets and sugary food to a minimum.
If you’re normally not prone to nosebleeds and you suddenly get one — don’t panic, this is actually a quite common pregnancy symptom. In fact, a study in the UK shows that about one in five women experiences nosebleeds during pregnancy. Why do pregnant women get nosebleeds? This has to do with your increased blood volume. During your pregnancy, your blood volume is raised by around 50% to sustain your growing baby and your usual body functions. In the process, your blood vessels widen to accommodate the increased blood flow, which includes the vessels in your nose and may sometimes cause nosebleeds.
So what should you do when you get a nosebleed? First of all, if you have high blood pressure and you get a nosebleed, reach out to your doctor immediately. Otherwise, you can start by keeping your head up straight to lower the pressure inside the blood vessels and to help slow down the bleeding. Pinch the area above the tip of your nose gently, and hold your nose like when you smell something smelly, do this for about 10 minutes. You may suck on an ice cube or put wrapped ice on the bony ridge of your nose to cool down the blood vessels. After doing all these steps for 10 minutes, slowly release your nose to see if the nosebleed has stopped.
If your nosebleed lasts longer than 10 minutes and you think you are losing too much blood from it, see a doctor immediately. You should also seek medical attention if you are experiencing nosebleed along with other more serious symptoms like blurred vision, severe headaches, chest pain, fever or any other symptoms that interfere with your usual daily routine.
Recovering Your Body From Pregnancy & Childbirth
If you are already astonished by how much pregnancy changes your body at this point, this list hasn’t actually covered other more well-known symptoms like pregnancy water retention, heartburn, constipation, dizziness, and not to mention the mental stress! With all these tremendous changes that your body goes through, it’s important that you have a plan to properly recover your body after childbirth — and one of the most effective ways is by having a nutritious confinement diet.
Tian Wei Signature is a confinement meals Singapore delivery service that serves nutritious fusion and traditional Chinese confinement meals at your doorstep during lunch and dinner. Incorporating a wide variety of nourishing ingredients, every meal is well-balanced and carefully reviewed by our in-house dietitian to support new mothers’ postpartum recovery and lactation.
With a new mother’s breastfeeding needs in mind, our confinement meals Singapore menu also comes with dishes filled with lactogenic ingredients, confinement soup package, as well as milk-boosting slb cookies to help boost the supply and nutritional quality of breast milk. Interested to learn more about our confinement meals? Discover our full menu by clicking the “Menu” button on the top of this page!
Meanwhile, if you are interested to start early in preparing baby essentials to welcome the arrival of your little bundle of joy, MumChecked is a trusted online shopping site that offers a wide range of mum and baby products with great deals and rewards. Other than exclusive monthly offers and point rewards, first-time shoppers also get a FREE $5 voucher!
A miracle is literally happening in your body right now as it adjusts and makes room to grow a new human being. Along the way, your body will go through various changes, which most would gradually fade after you give birth. Meanwhile, embrace them as one more reason that makes your journey to motherhood even more unique.