How hormones change your body when you are pregnant

Learning to understand and cope with body changes during pregnancy

In Pregnancy

5 minutes read

At a glance

You may feel tired, low or more sensitive than normal

Why your body aches before your bump appears

 

Hormones can change the way your hair grows              

Foods may taste weird during pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body gets flooded with oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones affect your emotions and your sleep as well as cause a few other things.

  • Pregnancy mood swings or feeling more sensitive than normal

  • A crash in energy levels and pregnancy tiredness

  • Food aversions or weird food cravings

  • Dramatic changes to your skin and hair

Here are some simple tips for dealing with hormone changes.

Aches and pains in pregnancy

Throughout pregnancy, you might feel you get aches and pains in your lower back, joints and around your hip bones. This is due to Relaxin – a hormone that loosens ligaments to make room for your growing bump.

Tips to stop aches and pains in pregnancy

  • Go for a gentle swim to help soothe muscle pains. It’s a great stress reliever for the both of you

  • Try yoga and pilates, or other stretching exercises

  • Ask your partner to give you a massage. Don’t forget, they might need one too and it’s a nice way to look after each other

  • Invest in a good, supportive pillow or a maternity pillow – you won’t regret it

  • Do not take any medication unless advised by your GP

How your hair can change during pregnancy and what to do about it

You may find your hair looks a lot fuller when you're pregnant because of the higher levels of oestrogen in your body. This is because when you’re pregnant, you shed hair at a slower rate than usual, not because you’re growing more hair. After the birth you may notice more hair falling out as your body sheds what it should have when you were pregnant. Things will soon settle though so don’t worry.

You may also find more hair on your face and body. If it bothers you, avoid depilatory creams, bleaches and permanent hair removal such as laser or electrolysis. Try waxing, threading or tweezers instead.

Tips to look after your hair in pregnancy

  • Enjoy it! Try different hairstyles and lap up all the compliments

  • Be careful when bending over to wash and dry your hair. The hormone surges can make you unusually lightheaded and unsteady so go slow

  • Plan ahead if you wax or epilate your bikini area yourself. As your bump grows you won’t be able to see, so you may need help to tend to this area

Breast changes during pregnancy

Soon after you become pregnant, you might start to see and feel a number of changes in your breasts and nipples. These changes are caused by progesterone and the development of milk ducts.

  • Your breasts may feel sore and more tender than usual

  • They will get larger and the stretching skin may cause them to be itchy

  • Your nipples may become darker, dry or sometimes puffy

  • The veins in your breasts may start to become more noticeable

  • They may also start to leak milk, so you may want to wear breastpads

  • In some cases, you may also leak a little blood due to increased blood flow in your breasts. This is perfectly normal but it’s always good to get any blood leakage checked by your GP

Tips to look after your changing breasts in pregnancy

  • Get a good, supportive, non-underwired bra so that your growing breasts are more comfortable

  • Gently massage a natural moisturiser into them to prevent dry, itchy skin

  • Get nursing pads to absorb leaks

Taste changes during pregnancy

Some women find their taste buds change quite drastically when they’re pregnant. It’s called dysgeusia and it’s very common. Don’t worry – it does go away. Here are some tips to help you manage it in the meantime.

Tips to deal with changes to your taste buds in pregnancy

  • Stimulate your taste buds with sharper tastes. Try marinating food in vinegar, lemon or lime juice, or add these to sauces

  • If you’re getting a metallic taste in your mouth, try swapping your metal cutlery for plastic

  • When brushing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue to help neutralise pH levels

Nose bleeds during pregnancy

Changes in hormone levels can make the capillaries in your nose more susceptible to nose bleeds. This can be worse in air conditioned or overly heated environments and your nasal passages may feel more bunged up.

Tips for nose bleeds

  • Your GP may recommend using a nasal saline spray to stop your nasal passages getting overly dry

  • Try rubbing Vaseline at the base of your nose to prevent chapping

  • Drink plenty of water to ensure your nasal passage isn’t dry

Your sex drive may be different to normal

While you’re pregnant you can find your sex drive changes. Some pregnant mums find they’re in the mood more often and experience stronger orgasms, others find that pregnancy fatigue make it the last thing on their mind.

Tips to deal with a changing sex drive

  • Having sex when you’re pregnant won’t harm you or your baby so long as you and your partner are comfortable, and you’re not experiencing anything unusual like bleeding or cramps

  • You may not be in the mood. Or your partner might feel like they’re harming the baby. Talk it over – there are plenty of other ways to enjoy time with your partner

  • Be open and honest with each other, always try to talk about it and do what feels right for the both of you

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Important advice to mothers

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.

 

 

 

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