8 things that might surprise you about pregnancy
You've heard about the possibility of morning sickness, the weight gain and the stretch marks, so no surprises there.
But did you know there are countless other weird and wonderful things that happen to a woman's body during pregnancy?
Happily, many of them are much more enjoyable (or at least more fun to think about) than exercising your pelvic floor while you grow a human for nine months (you'll hear that one a lot).
Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Music matters
Babies seem to respond to music and sounds they heard while in the womb – and may even be calmed by music played while their mothers relaxed during pregnancy. Keep that in mind when you pick your playlist each week. Mozart or Queen?
2. Your uterus expands to 500 times its usual size
The average size of a uterus is about that of a pear. During pregnancy however, it expands to about the size of a grapefruit at 12 weeks and a small watermelon - up to 500 times its normal size - in the ninth month of pregnancy.
3. You'll produce a truly impressive amount of oestrogen
A full-term pregnant woman produces more oestrogen in just one day than a woman who is not expecting produces in three entire years. Oestrogen is responsible for increasing the size or the number of tissues, vessels, and blood cells during all that growing.
4. Your heart gets bigger.
Oh, and so do your feet: When they say motherhood changes you from head to toe, they aren't kidding. The cardiovascular system needs to accommodate an increase in blood volume as your baby grows, so the heart expands in size by around 12 per cent. As the ligaments in your feet relax, your foot size could increases by half a size. Sometimes this is permanent.
5. Prepare to have fabulous hair
An increase in oestrogen extends the hair growth cycle, giving your hair lots and lots of gorgeous, bouncy volume. This can also lead to more unwanted hair in annoying places. You win some, you lose some.
6. And huge breasts...
Yep, a happy byproduct of being with child is that your breasts will expand significantly. They may also leak when you hear somebody else's baby crying. Blame Mother Nature for that one.
7. People will be SO happy to see you
Seriously; strangers, old ladies at the bus stop, your pharmacist, the greengrocer... everyone loves a pregnant lady. Something about seeing you lumbering along with swollen ankles will remind them of the mysterious and magical circle of life.
8. There are many (very odd ways) to induce labour
By 40 weeks, you'll likely have heard every old wives tale about inducing labour there is. From spicy curries to dancing, herbal teas to a car ride down a bumpy road, there are plenty to choose from. If nothing else, they'll amuse you and your other half while you wait for baby to make an appearance!
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