From your growing belly to shifting hormones, and erratic sleep patterns to unpredictable hair and skin, your body goes through a host of changes during pregnancy. Learn what to expect and how to make the most of both the exciting and the less-than-fun!
Your breasts are actually two glands—dynamic clusters of cells provoked by a stimulus to produce and release colostrum and milk. Estrogen, which acts as a stimulator of growth, enhances the size of your milk ducts and results in your breasts' growth during pregnancy. During this active stimulation, the nerves around the ducts are more responsive due to extra blood flow, which can lead to breast tenderness in early pregnancy.
While some women experience exquisite tenderness in the breasts, others worry that their breasts are not sensitive enough. A common pregnancy myth is that painful breasts imply a healthy pregnancy because this indicates a hearty amount of estrogen—but tenderness is a result of the breasts' sensitivity to estrogen and not necessarily the amount of estrogen.
As a result of this increase in estrogen and your breasts preparing to secrete colostrum and milk, your areolas may also widen and darken. And if your breasts change and grow quickly, they may develop stretch marks.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Progesterone plays mischief with your bowels by relaxing and slowing them down. Your large intestines play a major role in your state of hydration. The longer feces sit in your bowels, the longer the intestines can reabsorb water and dry this material out. The result is constipation.
A further side effect of this may be the development of hemorrhoids—varicose veins around the anus that can be irritated with constipation.
Talk with your OB-GYN about over-the-counter options for treating constipation and hemorrhoids. You can also increase the amount of fiber in your diet and drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water daily.