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Head-to-Toe Visible Physical Changes You May Experience During Pregnancy
As I write this I’m in my 38th week of pregnancy, so this is a fresh experience, not a distant memory. These are visible, physical changes that I noticed in my body, as the result of pregnancy. In talking about these with other women I found out that they are pretty common. All women are different, so you might not experience all of these physical changes. Also, there may be additional physical changes that I didn’t experience that you might.
If you’re taking your pre-natal vitamins, like you’re supposed to, expect hair to grow in thicker and faster. Most women say that their hair also gets shinier. I have very shiny hair to begin with, so for me it actually became coarser as it thickened.
If you’re avoiding dyeing your hair, which is recommended during pregnancy, your roots will grow in, grays and all. Since your hair is also growing faster due to pre-natal vitamins, that means very visible roots and grays. My research said that you could use non-permanent dye or henna based dyes. I tried non-permanent dye, but after the first wash it begins to fade.
Forget pregnancy glow! In the beginning skin got oilier due to hormone changes. I experienced small pimples and whiteheads.
In the second trimester you have to watch out for brown spots that appear on your cheeks. They look like sunspots. This is known as pregnancy mask, and it doesn't fade after pregnancy. To avoid this wear sunblock.
Near the end skin looks dull, with under-eye circles, due to lack of sleep. Skin around your nose may peel from blowing your nose often. Many women experience congestion and dryness. A bedside personal humidifier may help.
Exfoliate and moisturize often. It’s recommended that you use organic, natural skin care lotions and face washes. Certain ingredients, found especially in acne medications, can be harmful to the fetus. Many ingredients found in lotions have been known to cause birth defects in mice. Why risk your baby, buy something organic.
You may also experience puffiness and <gasp> the makings of a double chin due to weight gain.
You’ll notice dramatic changes in the appearance of your breasts. In the first trimester you will notice them getting larger. Then you will notice your areola (area around your nipples) will darken considerably, and spread outward taking up about 4x the area that they did before pregnancy. In short, by the time you’re ready to deliver your breasts will look like the ones you see in a National Geographics magazine. Don’t be surprised if what was formally pink, has now turned dark brown.
I had a few sessions of laser hair removal on my underarms years ago. After that my underarm area was no longer discolored or bumpy, and thin hair grew in every once in a while. In pregnancy my underarm hair started to grow back more. It probably had to do with the pre-natal pills. Worse though, the bumpiness came back. I also noticed a few skin tags, which I’ve never had before. I found out that skin tags developing during pregnancy is common. They like to grow in warm areas that rub.
My fingers were swollen pretty early on. It became apparent that if I didn’t take off my engagement ring & wedding band they might cut-off circulation to my finger soon. I bought a thin band that looked similar to my wedding band at Claire’s accessories store. I didn’t want to have to deal with the looks from people thinking that I was an unwed mother. Like hair, nails grow longer faster and stronger.
Naturally the skin on your stomach stretches and extends to accommodate the baby. To avoid stretch marks, it’s recommended that you moisturize on a regular basis. Palmers Cocoa Butter is highly recommended. Personally I don’t like the smell of it. I bought an organic body lotion by Mama Mio called O-Mega Super-Rich Body Cream and used this all over my body. I don’t have any visible stretch marks, but to be honest I think it’s something that’s hereditary that plays a big part in that.
In my third trimester I also had hair start to grow on my stomach. Unlike arm hair, the hair stood straight out from my body. Your belly button may even pop out - an innie becoming an outie. I normally have a very deep belly button. So much of what was inside has come out, that the area around my belly button is discolored because it has never seen the sunlight before. It's a weird yellowish/green color. As I'm getting closer to my due date, the area looks bruised.
I also have linea nigra – the dark line that appears running up the center of your belly. It started showing up in my second trimester. It ran from my pubic bone all the way up to my chest
As your stomach extends you will have more and more difficulty maintaining this area. If you get waxed professionally, you’ll have to trust that your waxer is doing their job. If you trim or shave yourself, you will need to become a contortionist and use several mirrors angled in different directions. Again, like your underarms, hair will grow in faster. Later in pregnancy your labia will also thicken and darken. The coloring is similar to the changes you’ll notice in your areola.
Some women complain about broken blood vessels, capillaries or thick dark veins showing up. I didn’t have this happen to me on my legs, but I do have a broken capillary on the inside of one ankle. My legs, from the knee down, are swollen. Usually I have small calves, now I have cankles (calf going into ankles). You can tell if your leg is swollen, the same way that you check if you have sunburn. Press on your skin with your finger. If it leaves a white mark that disappears, it’s swollen. The skin on your legs will also feel very tight. Leg & foot massages help.
By the beginning of my second trimester I had to buy new shoes because my feet were so swollen that my shoes didn’t fit anymore. As well as being wider, the top of my foot is swollen. If I put a ballerina flat shoe on, the area that’s in the shoe will go down, and what’s not in the shoe will puff out. It looks like when you open up a refrigerated Pillsbury biscuit tube and the dough pours out. My toes look like pigs in a blanket. They say that keeping your feet elevated will make the swelling diminish. I wake up with my feet looking like this.
Which physical change are you most worried about experiencing?
Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy
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