By Arielle Frankel (Registered Midwife)
Though it may seem obvious that it is a miracle to grow a baby in a mother’s uterus, there are so many ways in which your body changes and provides for the fetus, that you may not aware of.
1. The volume of blood in your body increases.
Your blood volume and therefore your cardiac output increases by a massive 50% when you are pregnant. This change occurs in order to meet the demands of the uterus and the growing fetus inside. After birth, it decreases back to normal, usually without any disturbance.
2. Your nipples get larger and (much) darker.
Have you noticed that the colour of your nipple and the areola has darkened? This is because your body has started to produce more pigment. Once baby is born and ready to breastfeed, the enlarged and darkened areas act as a kind of ‘bullseye’ to help guide baby to right area. Wow!
3. Babies start to cry from the womb.
A New Zealand study found that babies from 25 weeks’ gestation cry in the womb. This is not the cry that we would associate with hearing once baby is born, however markers such as swallows, tongue extension and chin quivering were discovered. Scientists speculate that this is a type of practice period for once baby is no longer in utero.
4. Heartburn may actually mean that baby does have more hair.
Remember that old wives’ tale about pregnant women who have heartburn will have a baby with lots of hair? Well, a 2006 study at John Hopkins University has shown that a high level of hormones released during pregnancy that relax a muscle in the abdomen, may also control hair growth.
5. You may crave non-edible things.
Known as ‘pica’, you may have a strange craving for things that are not usually socially acceptable to eat, for example soap or dirt. This may be due to a severe deficiency, such as iron or mineral deficiencies.