Pregnancy changes your life! This is probably the most common phrase you will hear during the course of your term. Most of these well wishing folks are referring to changes happening outside your body. Changes like how having a baby will turn your life upside down, make you wonder at the joy of giving birth to a life, make you realize the value of a full night’s sleep etc. However, those are not the changes that we are referring to. The magic of life happens inside your body and everything gets out of the way of your baby. Let’s see how this wonderful journey takes place as your pregnancy moves along.
5. Your body before pregnancy
Before pregnancy, much of the space in your abdomen is taken up by the small and large intestines. There is no real separation between the pelvis and abdomen. As you can see in the image, the vagina is behind the urinary bladder and urethra. In the normal position, the uterus is behind and above the bladder and the cervix protrudes into the vagina. The colon, rectum and anal canal are located behind the vagina.
4. Your body at 12 weeks
The placenta is much larger now and produces the hormones required to sustain the pregnancy. The uterus is of the size of a grape fruit now; and fills the complete pelvis. It gradually rises up into the area of the abdomen. Fundus, the top of the uterus is level with the top of the pelvic bones. This upward movement of the uterus takes pressure off the bladder and reduces the need for frequent urination. The fetus is about 3 inches long (yes so tiny!) and weights about 30 gm. If you looked inside your womb, you could see tiny toes and finger nails.
3. Your body at 28 weeks
The top of your uterus is now well above your belly button and closing in on the breast bone. Constipation is common because your colon is being pressed by your uterus and the slowing down of the digestive system by hormones. You may also feel heartburn as your stomach is also getting squeezed. Your breasts are also getting ready to produce milk. Colostrum and milk are produced by the grape like clusters called alveoli, deep within the breast tissue. The baby feeds through 15-20 tiny nipple openings in each breast. Nearly all of your baby’s functions are working independently and can survive if born prematurely.
2. Your body at 40 weeks
At full term (ie 40 weeks) your baby’s head lowers into the pelvis, commonly known as lightening. If it is your first pregnancy, this may happen a few weeks before labour. In repeat pregnancies this generally happens at the time of birth. The canal of the cervix is still blocked by the mucous plug. Nearly all the internal organs are squeezed at this time and you will face symptoms like frequent urination, indigestion, constipation etc. But, don’t worry all of these symptoms will slowly vanish after delivery as your organs start returning to their original positions.