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What Happens to Your Body During Pregnancy?

What Happens to a Woman’s Body During Pregnancy?

When you’re on your way to becoming a mother, there can be many questions going through your head all at once. But one of the most common questions for pregnant women is “What is going to happen to my body during pregnancy?” Body changes can be stressful, especially if this is your first time trying to become pregnant. We all know about the physical changes that happen on the outside, but what about inside the body? How do you know if certain symptoms of pregnancy are normal?

We’re here to help you answer these burning questions, and to do so we’ll break down what each trimester of pregnancy looks like, what nutrition you may need at that stage, and tips to prepare your mind and body for the next stage of your motherhood journey.

Your Body in the First Trimester (Day 0–89, Week 0–13)

First things first—congratulations! Hopefully the first trimester is a time of joy when you first discover that you are pregnant. This is when you just begin to notice the early signs of pregnancy. Your hormones surge as the implantation occurs, setting in motion all the changes your body must undergo to create the placenta to nourish your fetus. This is one of the most critical phases of pregnancy because this is when every part of the fetus begins to develop. The brain and spinal cord and all organs start to develop. By the end of 8 weeks, fingers and toes are beginning to form and the heart begins to beat. The fetus weighs only about an ounce at this point, so you may wonder why you’ve gained 4 or 5 pounds! This is because your body is increasing red blood cells to help oxygenate the placenta. Your breasts start to increase in size in order to prepare for breastfeeding. Your uterus grows, putting pressure on your bladder, which makes you feel like you need to urinate constantly.

Challenges and How to Address Them

The most common challenges a pregnant woman faces in the first trimester are fatigue and nausea. You’re going to feel fatigued because your body is doing a lot! So focus on your nutrition, eat fruits and veggies for their antioxidant power, and make sure your meals have protein and healthy carbs for energy. It’s okay to pamper yourself or take a nap! Pregnancy is a marathon, not a sprint. Nausea is caused mostly by your surging hormone levels. Eating small, frequent meals and drinking plenty of water can help. Eating saltine crackers in between meals and drinking water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice can also help. Try our Stomach Soothing Drops*—tasty lozenges made with high-quality ginger and vitamin B6 can provide help with the occasional morning sickness that you’ll be happy to know usually subsides by the beginning of the second trimester!*

Diet and Nutrition

If you’re not already taking a high-potency prenatal multivitamin, now’s the best time to start. Build your personalized Meology™ Prenatal supplement plan today to assure you have adequate folic acid to support the development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord and enough iron and B vitamins to support adequate hemoglobin/red blood cells for your and baby’s needs.* Remember that you are providing all the nutrients for both yourself and your baby. So take your daily Prenatal MultiV Drink and MultiM tablet, and be sure not to forget your Omega-3 Gelly with the critical DHA to support your baby’s developing brain and eyes.*

You may be eating for two now, but it doesn’t mean you need twice the calories! Your calorie content doesn’t need to change much during the first trimester. Work on improving the quality of your meals, but keep it light during the first trimester. Weight gain should be about 25–30 pounds, with only 3–4 pounds of this occuring in the first trimester and about a pound a week during the second and third trimesters. Your doctor may want you to gain a bit more than that if you are underweight or carrying multiple babies, and you may need to focus on less weight gain if you are carrying excess weight. It is important for your weight gain to stay in range for three reasons: it lowers your risk of developing gestational diabetes; it reduces some of the typical pregnancy challenges (swelling of the hands and feet, lower back pain, fatigue); and it increases the likelihood of uncomplicated labor and delivery.

Your Body in the Second Trimester (Day 90–179, Week 14–26)

Let’s start with some good news! During the second trimester, regular morning sickness tends to go away and your energy will seem more normal. So enjoy every moment of your growing baby bump. Buy outfits that make you look and feel great about yourself. Remember, motherhood is beautiful!

Somewhere between 16–20 weeks, you feel that magical fluttering in your uterus—yes, your little bundle of joy is big enough for you to feel him/her moving and kicking. Fingers and toes are growing, and your baby can hear you now, so talk to him/her. All the organs have formed, so for the next 6 months, the fetus grows in length and weight. Also, the brain begins its most important phase of growth from month 5 onward, so don’t forget to take your DHA. By the end of the second trimester, your baby will be about 13–16 inches long and weight 2–3 pounds. Your baby swallows, has sleeping and waking periods, and will turn his/her head at the sound of your voice.

Challenges and How to Address Them

There will be new challenges during the second trimester, including constipation, leg cramps, and occasional heartburn. Increasing fiber intake, especially veggies like broccoli and squash, grains like quinoa and other high-fiber (low-sugar) cereals, and legumes will help. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so drink more water, either sparkling or plain. You can infuse your water with berries or citrus slices for added flavor and nutritional value. Talk to your obstetrician about adding a probiotic that is designed to support digestive health.

During this phase, sleep can be disrupted by leg cramps. Remember that your legs are adjusting to carrying more weight, so regular exercise to strengthen your legs and a protein shake or bar to support muscle strength can help. You may also want to try supplementing with Chewable Cal Mag Plus for calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium can have a relaxing effect and may help with a more restful sleep.* Remember to always talk about the use of supplements (and what you are using them for) with your OB professional.

Diet and Nutrition

Your calorie intake during the second and third trimesters should be an extra 300–350 calories over your usual pre-pregnancy intake. You’ll also need extra calcium, vitamin D, and protein, so a fortified protein shake is a great and highly nutritious way to get those extra nutrients. Try adding Life Shake™ to your diet for 20 g protein, 6 g fiber, and 24 essential vitamins and minerals. You should also stay on top of your daily prenatal vitamin regimen.

Try this nutrient-packed shake recipe for pregnancy that will add 290 calories, 29 g protein, 550 mg calcium, and 9–11 g fiber to your diet. Blend and enjoy!

2 scoops Life Shake (Soy or Plant) (20 g protein/6 g fiber)

8 oz, unsweetened soy milk or nonfat organic milk (300 mg calcium/7–9 g protein)

½–1 cup frozen organic berries (vitamin C)

Your Body in the Third Trimester (Day 180, Week 27–40)

It’s time to prepare for your baby’s arrival! You’re probably getting the nursery ready, visiting the doctor more frequently, and maybe planning a “babymoon” with your partner before you become parents. While you’ll have a lot going on during this trimester, it’s an important time to take care of your mental and emotional health. Whether you’re anxious because it’s your first time or you’re on baby number three and wondering how you’ll have enough time for everyone, be sure to talk through your fears, anxieties, worries, and emotions! If you need to, seek professional help sooner rather than later; you can ask your OB or midwife for referrals. Take time to rest. Ask your parents or in-laws to keep your two older kids for a night here and there so you (and your partner) can focus on YOU!

Your doctor visits will focus on how you are doing as a result of pregnancy, which includes following your blood pressure, looking for protein in your urine, and monitoring your weight and blood sugar. The doctor should also assess the baby’s growth, development, and position (head down is best). Your baby’s lungs and kidneys are still maturing. He/she can see and hear. By 40 weeks, your baby bundle is 19 to 21 inches and weighs 6 to 9 pounds.

Challenges and How to Address Them

This tends to be the most uncomfortable phase of pregnancy, so get plenty of rest! Pregnancy pillows can help with resting and sleeping. Eat frequent, small snacks and avoid spicy foods and large meals. Heartburn becomes more frequent during the third trimester as the baby pushes against your stomach. Calcium can help alleviate heartburn as well as leg cramps during sleep. Stretching your legs and toes before bed may help as can prenatal yoga and special pregnancy massage; be sure to go to someone with a lot of experience!

You may also experience constipation, but fiber and lots of water are the keys to keeping it at bay. If you are not able to go regularly or are uncomfortable doing so, talk to your OB professional about potentially using laxatives. A probiotic may also help; again, we recommend discussing supplementation with your OB professional.

Diet and Nutrition

Your calorie intake during the third trimester should be the same as the second trimester, which is an extra 300–350 calories over your pre-pregnancy intake. Continue to take your daily prenatal vitamin regimen, and eat meals with protein, fiber, and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Take Good Care of Your Body

Your body will go through many changes, but it’s also a time to be joyful as you await your child’s arrival. And for now, your baby’s home is your body, which means it’s so important for you to get the nutrition your body needs. Take our Meology Prenatal assessment to create your personalized nutrition plan and let us walk with you through your journey to motherhood.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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