Dr. CJ Tseng

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Body Changes from Non-pregnant to Pregnant



-Increase in size, nodularity and sensitivity. Production of colotsrum occurs in late pregnancy. Breasts weigh each 1/2 pound by delivery



It's weight increses from 2 oz to 2 lb at term and volume of its cavity increases from 10 mL (2 tsp) to 2-10 L at term



Total blood plasma volume increases by 50%


Lungs-Expansion and flaring of lower ribs due to increased capacity of lung volume. Oxygen consumption increases by 14%, half going to developing fetus, and rest consumed by growing uterus, breast tissue, and increased respiratory abd cardiac demands.



-increases in size due to increased worload and cardiac output. Heart moves upward and laterally from non-pregnant position



-Growing uterus displaces the bladder forward and upward. Bladder volume decreases as compression of uterus increases



Common Physical Changes

Shortness of Breath

Your growing uterus puts pressure on some of your internal ogans. As a result your lungs do not have as much room to expand. Here are some measures that may help:

  • Sleep in your left side. Avoid lying on your back
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing - nothing that feels tight around your waist or chest.
  • Report any severe or recurring shortness of breath to your health care provider.



During pregnancy you jave more blood and other fluids in your body. In addition, your growning uterus puts pressure on some large blood vessels. As a result some swelling is common, particularly in your hands and feet. Here are a few preventative measures:

  • Rest on your left side several times during the day.
  • Elevate your feet and legs slightly when lying down or sitting
  • Eat a well balanced diet and drink plent of water
  • Avoid clothing that fits tightly on the legs, thihgs , hips and groin
  • Report any severe swelling that is not relieved by resting and elevating your feet.
Frequent Urination

As your baby grows, your bladder has less room to expand. Even a small amount of urine inyour bladder may give you an urge to "go". many women also find that a cough, sneeze or laugh can cause a small amount of urine to leak out. Here are some suggestions that may help:

  • Plan frequent trips to the bathroom. Do not wait until the urge is too intense.
  • Use Kegel excercises to strengthen your bladder and urethra.
  • Contact your health care provider if you experience intense urgency, burning, pain or bleeding with urination.



With pressure from a growing uterus, it is not unusual to have some stomach contents pushed upward into the esophagus. This causes a burning sensation. In addition, digestion can be slower in pregnancy. Food stays in the stomach longer, incresing the chances of heartburn. Here are some suggestions:

  • Try eating more frequent, smaller meals
  • Do not eat right before going to bed
  • Talk with your health care provider before taking any over-the-counter heartburn medications
Hemorrhoids and Constipation

The hormones and physical changes of pregnancy slow digestion, making constipation common. Iron supplements can also worsen constipation. During pregnancy you can develop hemorrhoids, swollen veins in the rectum. Some ways to prevent or minimize these problems:

  • Eat a nutritious, high fiber diet rich in vegetables and fruits
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Use walking and other excercise to stimulate bowel function and reduce constipation
  • Consult your health care provider before using over-the-counter laxaives or enemas. Also report any intense rectal pain or bleeding
  Fatigue and Insomnia

Fatigue is common in pregnancy. Often fatigue incerases as your baby gets bigger and you have more weight to carry around. Insomnia is especially common in the last trimester when finding a comfortable sleeping position can be challenging. Some suggestions to make sleeping easier:

  • Take a warm shower or bath before bedtime
  • Use pillows to support your legs, abdomen and arms
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages. Try drinking warm milk or non-caffeinated tea before bedtime.
  • Avoid excercising immediately before bedtime. Excercise earlier in the day.