Pregnancy is a fascinating process; from a tiny egg and a tiny sperm, a baby grows and develops within your body. Sometimes we get so caught up in the outward symptoms we experience that we forget what an amazing process it is.
Your Body’s Preparations
A pregnant woman’s volume of blood increases by almost 50 percent during pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s breasts can double or even triple in weight by the end of pregnancy. A pregnant woman’s blood clots faster than it does when she is not pregnant; this precaution helps prevent too much blood loss during delivery of the baby and placenta.
Your Baby’s Growth
A baby’s heart begins beating around the 4th week of pregnancy. Baby’s organs begin developing around the 9th week of pregnancy. Baby’s length will double between weeks 11 and 14. Baby can be sucking his thumb around the 15th week of pregnancy. Baby has perfectly formed fingernails by the 16th week of pregnancy.
Before pregnancy, the uterus can hold about 1/3 of an ounce of fluid; by the end of pregnancy, it can hold 5 to 10 quarts. Amniotic fluid in the uterus provides temperature control for the baby. Amniotic fluid is much like plasma in the first half of pregnancy; during the second half of pregnancy, baby adds phospholipids and fetal urine.
Itching is one of the most common symptoms during pregnancy. Higher level of hormones in a pregnant woman’s body can cause her ligaments to loosen, which can aggravate back pain from abdominal weight.
Put Yourself at Ease
Many women don’t get any bigger during the last few weeks of pregnancy. (They just feel like they do.) About 1 in 5 pregnant women may experience some bleeding during pregnancy; it’s really not unusual, but it is often frightening when it happens due to fear of miscarriage. Only 3 percent of newborns have any major birth defects.