Basic details about pregnant women


pregnant women

Pregnancy brings the fruitful result of carrying a baby inside the womb for nine months. It is an amazing feeling for a woman when she becomes pregnant. She undergoes many changes during this period both physically as well as emotionally.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through various changes to accommodate the growing fetus. These changes can be divided into three main categories viz., physical, hormonal, and emotional changes.

1. Physical Changes

A woman holding a cell phone

Pregnancy leads to lots of physical changes in a woman’s body right from the day of conception. The common physical changes are:

An increase in the size of breasts is due to the development of milk glands. There is also an increase in the blood flow to the breasts which makes them tender and causes them to enlarge.

There is an increased need to urinate as the baby grows which puts pressure on the bladder.

The woman’s center of gravity changes as her abdomen expands due to the growing fetus, which leads to a change in her posture and gait.

2. Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, there is a surge in the levels of various hormones like progesterone, estrogen, human placental lactogen, relaxin, etc. These hormones are responsible for the various changes that take place in a woman’s body during pregnancy like:

The Relaxin hormone loosens the joints and ligaments in preparation for childbirth. It also relaxes the stomach muscles, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.

Human placental lactogen hormone helps in the development of breast tissue and also increases the fat deposition in the breasts, which leads to an increase in their size.

Progesterone hormone relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus and also decreases the contractions of these muscles. It also slows down the movement of food through the digestive system, which can lead to constipation.

Oestrogen hormone is responsible for the growth of various structures like the uterus, fallopian tubes, placenta, etc. It also causes an increase in the blood flow to the pelvic region.

3. Emotional Changes

Pregnancy can also lead to emotional changes like mood swings, anxiety, depression, etc. These changes are mainly due to the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy.

Mood swings are caused by fluctuations in the levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

Anxiety and depression can be caused by changes in the levels of various neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

Pregnancy is a very special time for a woman and she should take good care of herself during this period.

4. Diet during pregnancy

A woman should consume a balanced diet during pregnancy so that she and her baby’s nutritional needs are met. The following food groups should be included in the diet:

Fruits and vegetables: These are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They should be consumed in plenty.

Whole grains: These are a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Dairy products: These are a good source of calcium, proteins, and vitamin D.

Proteins: These are required for the growth and development of the fetus. Good sources of protein include egg whites, lean meats, tofu, legumes, etc.

Oils and fats: These are required for the development of the fetus and the production of breast milk. Good sources of oils and fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, etc.

Pregnant women should also take supplements of folic acid and iron to meet their increased nutritional needs.

5. Exercise during pregnancy

Exercise is important for pregnant women as it helps in maintaining their fitness and prevents various complications like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. It also helps in the proper development of the fetus. Pregnant women should do simple exercises like walking, swimming, lightweight training, etc. under the guidance of a trained professional.

6. Pregnancy care

Pregnant women should visit their healthcare provider regularly for antenatal checkups. These checkups help in detecting any problems that the woman or the fetus may be having.

Pregnant women should also get a flu shot to protect themselves from the flu virus.

They should also take care to avoid any kind of injury to their abdomen.

7. Pregnancy risks

Pregnancy is not without its risks and complications. Some of the common risks and complications associated with pregnancy include:

miscarriage: This is the most common complication of pregnancy and it occurs in about 10-20% of pregnancies.

ectopic pregnancy: This is a type of pregnancy where the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. This can be very dangerous for the mother and can even lead to death.

gestational diabetes: This is a type of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy. It can lead to various complications like high blood pressure, premature delivery, etc.

preeclampsia: This is a condition that can occur during pregnancy and it is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It can be very dangerous for both the mother and the fetus.

premature delivery: This is another common complication of pregnancy and it occurs when the baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. This can lead to various health problems for the baby.

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