“Pregnancy is having in your body a being that is semi-alien to you,” recalls Dr it’s my body published by L’iconoclaste. It’s a very special coexistence.”
In fact, “the presence of the fetus not only modifies immunity, but also metabolism, blood clotting, blood pressure, hormone circulation, etc.”, adds the expert.
Long before the belly begins to round, extraordinary – and sometimes bewildering – adjustments take place in order for the embryo to develop harmoniously and transform into a fetus and then into a baby ready to leave the nest.
Hormonal balance disturbed
In order for the mother’s body to adapt to the presence of a growing baby and ensure its development, the pituitary gland – a grape-sized gland located at the base of the brain – is activated under the influence of estrogen. It boosts the thyroid, which can quickly double its weight.
As a result, “the heart accelerates, the temperature rises above 37 °C and breathing accelerates,” specifies Dr. Bernadette de Gasquet, doctor, yoga teacher and author of well-being and motherhood (Ed. Albin Michel).
This creates transient hyperthyroidism regular feelings of heat exhaustion and shortness of breath with the slightest exertion.
It also affects mood, hence possible irritability or hypersensitivity in pregnant women. The overactive pituitary gland also exerts an influence fast growing breasts. The adrenal glands are also endowed, causing staining of the areolas, the appearance of a brown line between the pubic bone and the sternum (black line), sometimes even a pregnancy mask.
Barely pregnant, several possible inconveniences
Beta HCG hormone (chorionic gonadotropin), which is produced in early pregnancy as soon as the egg implants itself in the uterine lining, also plays the role of troublemaker. she increases stomach acid and stimulates a specific region of the brain responsible for morning sickness 75% of expectant mothers suffer, especially between the ages of 4 and 5th and the 16th Week of amenorrhea, period when HCG rate increases rapidly. 50% of them also suffer from vomiting for this reason.
The influx of estrogens also sharpens the Sensitivity to odors, which explains why many pregnant women are disgusted with foods they used to love. The smell of coffee and tobacco smoke is usually unbearable for them.
Blood circulation also adjusts to ensure oxygen and nutrient exchange with the future baby. “Due to the water retention, the volume of the circulating blood increases from half a liter to one,” emphasizes Dr. Bernadette de Gasquet, which is enormous in that we usually have four liters of blood at the outlet.
It turns out Dilation of the veins, heavy legs and sometimes edema from the first trimester of pregnancy. Over the weeks Blood pressure can also rise. This phenomenon affects about 10% of pregnant women after the 4th monthth months, especially in the very young and over 40 years of age.
The destabilized autonomic nervous system
This so-called “autonomous” nervous system, which innervates the intestines and maintains the body’s balance, manages the automatic functions of the organism.
It is governed by two antagonistic systems: the parasympathetic system, which is more conducive to rest, and the sympathetic system, which promotes activity. Usually both work together.
“But during the early months of pregnancy, the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant, observes Dr. de Gasquet. So you find yourself a little asleep, in “hibernation”in a not very enterprising mood, his memory became clouded… ”.
This sudden imbalance is therefore the cause of the state of drowsiness and unusual tiredness characteristic of early pregnancy. This physiological adaptation allows the body to redirect much of the mother’s energy to the baby.
During the 2th trimester, sometimes lancinating pains
From 4th month the pregnancy is well established. The tiredness has dissipated and the movements of the baby are noticeable.
The belly isn’t big enough to pose a problem yet, though The uterus begins to weigh down and the baby can compress organs and nerves in certain positions. Due to the new hormonal balance, ligaments and tendons relax. This leads to an increased risk of sprains, sciatica, etc.
Stabbing pain can also occur in the lower abdomen, back and pubic area, especially when changing position suddenly.
Between the 5thth and the 7th By the end of the month, the rectus abdominis muscles lengthen and begin to move apart to make more room for the baby. The curvature then increases, which gradually changes and can have an effect on the posture back and lumbar pain.
Greater susceptibility to infection
In order not to reject the baby the mother’s immune system is put on the back burner.
Result: Infections occur more frequently. The vaginal flora reacts particularly little to attacks by bacteria and microscopically small pathogenic fungi, hence the frequent genital mycoses during pregnancy. They are also favored by the acidification of the vagina, the thickening of the vaginal mucosa and the increased secretion of cervical mucus after hormonal changes and increased blood circulation in pregnant women.
Urinary tract infections are also common because the bladder, which has become less firm, has difficulty emptying with each urination, which promotes the growth of bacteria. The dilatation of the renal pelvis and the compression of the ureters by the pressure of the hypertrophied uterus further increase this susceptibility to infection.
Oxytocin, the key hormone at the end of pregnancy
Discreet at the beginning of pregnancy, this cerebral hormone is produced in high doses as the due date approaches. In fact, it is she who gives one Happiness at the end of pregnancywhich then triggers uterine contractions and opening of the cervix, expulsion of the placenta, and then promotes the release of milk during feeding.
This so-called birth hormone has a mild anxiolytic effect, which eases the pain a bit and helps you let go on D-Day.
How can we boost our happy hormones?