The human body is truly amazing. A lot will happen to your body throughout pregnancy. Over the stretch of 40 weeks, your heart pumps harder. Your Breasts also get bigger, and your organs are squashed as your body makes room to carry your baby. This means more than just a baby bump; your entire anatomy has to make room.
Your Belly skin is already elastic, but as your uterus grows and becomes more egg shaped, your organs must shift and squish together to make extra space. Causing pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion.
The journey of the placenta goes through a lot in 40 short weeks. First off, your body practically creates an entire organ out of nowhere to sustain your baby, only to outgrow your baby in the first trimester and then slow down and mirror his or her growth until birth.
At week 5 to 8 of your pregnancy, outside changes may not be visible but your bladder would have already been squashed down to a fraction of its original size at conception. Explaining the need to pee every five minutes.
At week 9 through to 12 is where things get interesting. Before pregnancy, most of the space in your abdomen is taken up by the large and small intestines. There is no real separation between the areas of your pelvis and abdomen. If you have a baby bump, it may be small since your uterus is squashing your intestines together to make room. Your uterus will be about the size of a grapefruit and completely fills the pelvis. And by mid pregnancy your stomach would have also shifted about 45 degrees, adding to that pesky heartburn.
By the 20th week of pregnancy, your uterus can be felt at the level of your belly button (umbilicus). The pelvic colon and small intestines are crowded upward and backward. At this point, your uterus is especially enlarged where the placenta attaches to it (usually on the front or back wall). This gives the uterus an uneven bulge. As your uterus moves up, it rests against the lower portion of the front of your abdominal wall, causing it to bulge forward noticeably by your 20th week. The size of the bulge depends on how strong your abdominal muscles are. If they are firm, the uterus may be pressed against the spinal column, and there will be no noticeable bulge; if they are weak, the pressure of the uterus against the inside wall makes a sizeable bulge.
By week 31 to 36, the third trimester, both your liver and lungs will get squeezed by your stomach and intestines and would have also shifted several inches higher, contributing to that out of breath feeling. Your enlarged uterus almost fills the space within your abdomen. Constipation is common because your uterus is pressing on your lower colon and hormones slow down your body’s excretion process. Between the growth of your uterus and general weight gain, you may be feeling fatigued. The change in the position of the heart and the upward pressure of the diaphragm may make it hard to breathe at this point and crowding of your stomach and intestines may contribute to discomfort after eating.
Post Partum tends to be difficult as well. As your organs return to their former sizes, shapes, and positions this may cause great discomfort. Your uterus must also be given time to shrink back to its original size. This explains why moms will not be back to flat tummies immediately after birth. The body needs time for that snap back.
Knowing what goes on inside your body really puts pregnancy in perspective—and being aware that those uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms are a direct result of giving your baby room to grow might make them seem a little less annoying. All the more reason to care for and love yourself.