11 things you probably didn't know about being pregnant
Being pregnant seems both magical and terrifying. On one hand, you’re carrying another human being inside you and, on the other hand… you are carrying another human being inside you. That fact alone is mind-boggling. Yet, there are many other pregnancy facts out there that can easily shock the calmest of us all. Let’s review…
1. The uterus grows like crazy.
Dr. Laura Riley explains that, over the course of one’s pregnancy, the uterus grows 500 times its normal size. This is essentially like the uterus going from the size of an orange to the size of a watermelon.
2. Feet can get longer and wider.
A 2013 study conducted by Professor Neil Segal led him to conclude that pregnancy can change a woman’s shoe size. 30-60% of the women he interviewed (who had been pregnant at least once) told the researcher that their shoe size changed as a result of carrying a child. This may be because of the extra weight they’re carrying around, which puts pressure on their lower halves.
3. Your baby will pee… inside you.
The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin reveals that while in its mother’s womb, a baby will produce urine. This can occur as early as the 5th week of gestation. And where exactly does this urine go, you ask? Well, it turns out that the babies actually ingest this fluid after it becomes part of the amniotic fluid surrounding them in the womb.
4. A baby’s cry can trigger lactation.
New mothers and pregnant women, according to the California Pacific Medical Center, can start to lactate the moment they hear a baby cry. Plus, this baby doesn’t have to be their own in order for them to start secreting milk.
5. You will be more prone to broken bones.
A hormone known as relaxin makes it easier for pregnant women to get broken bones. That’s because this substance softens their joints so the hips and pelvis can get ready to widen for birth.
6. Babies can cry in the womb.
7. More estrogen is produced.
The Women’s International Pharmacy reveals that by the time a woman is six weeks pregnant, she’ll be producing three times as much estrogen as she did during the highest point of her menstrual cycle. This can easily (and understandably) affect her mood.
8. Sense of smell may be heightened.
Though there’s no conclusive scientific data on the subject, many women have reported a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. When trying to figure out why this happens, experts have come up with different theories.
“The plasma volume (blood flow) in your body increases by up to 50 per cent in pregnancy, so anything moving from your blood to your brain reaches it faster and in larger quantities,” midwifery teacher Denyse Kirkby told Mother & Baby. “This heightens your responses and some experts think that’s why you react more strongly to smells.” Others believe it may have to do with a mother’s body not wanting her to breathe in anything harmful.
9. Your blood increases in volume.
To accommodate the pregnancy growth, the body’s blood increases by a shocking 50%. This then causes the heart to pump more blood as the uterus receives one-fifth of the blood supply a woman had before she was pregnant.
10. Pregnancy brain is a thing.
“If you read pregnancy manuals and listen to pregnant mothers – yes, there is such a thing as pregnancy brain or momnesia,” Dr. Helen Christensen told WebMD. “And there is also evidence from research showing deficits in memory.” This is because pregnant women can deal with increased hormone levels, a lack of sleep, stress, and more.
11. Taller women are more likely to conceive twins.
A 2006 study conducted by Dr. Gary Steinman found that – out of 125 women who gave birth to twins and 24 who gave birth to triplets – those who gave birth to two or more babies were typically an inch taller. Dr. Steinman explained, “Any circumstance that affects the amount of available insulin-like growth factor so as to modify the sensitivity of the ovary to follicle-stimulating hormone appears to govern the rate of spontaneous twinning.”
Yup. Still magical and terrifying.