Pregnancy side effects
Your body will go through some dramatic changes during pregnancy – and not all of them pretty! Here’s what you can expect (and what you needn’t panic about) while your pregnant:
Nipples - forever darker
While it’s usual for your breasts to increase in size on falling pregnant, did you know that your nipples will be a dead giveaway that you’re carrying a baby? “Every woman’s nipples change and darken,” says Carol Fallows, author of Having a Baby (Doubleday). “They stay that way afterwards – it’s one way of telling whether a woman has had a baby or not.”
Boobs - bigger but not necessarily saggier
While your breasts may expand, they won’t necessarily lose their shape through breastfeeding. “Your breasts do grow during pregnancy, but they also become incredibly sexy,” says Carol. “Remember that it’s pregnancy that affects your body rather than breastfeeding. If you think you can save your breasts from sagging by avoiding breastfeeding, think again.”
Tummy - a line is drawn
A strange pregnancy side effect is the appearance of a brown line right down the length of your stomach. Known as ‘linea negra’, it’s simply pigmentation of the skin where your abdominal muscles separate, and tends to appear in the second trimester. “Some women get it, some don’t, but we don’t know why,” explains Carol.
Rib cage - up and out
It’s completely normal to experience aches in your rib cage, or even stitch-like pain down your side, in the last trimester. It’s down to the fact your baby is growing in size and pushing your ribs up and out, along with stretching your uterine muscle.
Hips and thighs- a new womanly shape
It’s also usual to gain more weight on your bum and hips than other parts of your body, acting as an extra energy source during breastfeeding. “The fat is stored and used from different sites and at different times during breastfeeding,” says Carol. “It’s there for a reason, so try and appreciate your womanly body.”
Bottom - ouchy
If you’re suffering from hemorrhoids, Dr Robyn Napier, Australian Medical Association NSW Medical Director, explains that they’re just varicose veins that arise on the veins around the anus because of the pressure of your baby. “It’s best if you can prevent hemorrhoids from happening in the first place,” she says. “You can do that by keeping hydrated and eating lots of fruit and veg and fibre.”
Face- an instant tan
Pregnancy affects your skin, too, with the ‘mask of pregnancy', or chloasma, brown patches of pigmentation appearing on your cheeks, forehead and neck. Caused by the increased production of melanin, the tanning hormone, you can reduce its effects by wearing SPF on sunny days.
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This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot, New Zealand's best pregnancy, labour and birth resource.
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