Pregnancy 101 – How your body changes during Pregnancy

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Pregnancy looks different on everyone, as can be seen by my pictures (taken the night before I gave birth to my babies). Here I am at 40 weeks + 1 day with my singleton on the left and 33 weeks + 4 days with my triplets on the right).

Pregnancy looks different on everyone, as can be seen by my pictures (taken the night before I gave birth to my babies). Here I am at 40 weeks + 1 day with my singleton on the left and 33 weeks + 4 days with my triplets on the right).

How your body changes during Pregnancy

Without taking complications or high-risk factors into consideration, there are some ways our pelvic floor and abdominals change during pregnancy. The obvious changes to your body can be easily seen. You will get a visible baby bump, however, the timing and size of this varies between women and pregnancies.

Other changes that occur during pregnancy are internal and not easily seen – I’m just going to cover a few here:
Changes to your Pelvic Floor during pregnancy:

  • Stretching
    • Increased weight on pelvic floor causes it to stretch and weaken as the baby grows
  • Increased laxity
    • An increase in laxity of ligaments and fascia holding the pelvic organs in place is caused by the hormone RELAXIN. This is needed to prepare your body to give birth.

Other factors effecting pelvic floor:

  • Constipation – can be a killer during pregnancy. The higher levels of Progesterone can slow gut motility making you more prone to constipation. Add on any iron supplements you may be recommended to take, and your morning coffee might not be enough to keep things regular.
  • Chronic coughing and sneezing – any fellow hay fever suffers will attest to how horrible this is during pregnancy. The increase in pressure can be really challenging an already stressed pelvic floor.
  • Repetitive heavy lifting – this could include gym workouts, carrying toddlers, prams in/out of cars.
  • Exercises involving high impact or increased intra-abdominal pressure – again this could be during a workout, but it is not limited to that. Many women suffer from vomiting during pregnancy (thanks Hyperemesis Gravidarum till 21 weeks in both pregnancies). This sudden increase in intra-abdominal pressure can compromise pelvic floor function.

Changes to the abdominal muscles:

Rectus Abdominal Diastasis: is a stretching of the Linea Alba (LA). The LA is the connective tissue between our abdominal muscles. This process is completely normal, 100% of women who carry a baby past 35 weeks will get a separation to some extent. It is a great adaptation the body makes to accommodate your growing baby without squashing your kidneys.

If you have any concerns, please chat with your healthcare team! Keep an eye out for our next post on exercise during pregnancy.

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