B O D Y C H A N G E S
D U R I N G P R E G N A N C Y
A pregnant woman's body undergoes various normal physical changes
that can be obvious or quite subtle. These changes are necessary to assist
fetal development and prepare the body for labor.
R E S P I R A T O R Y S Y S T E M C A R D I O V A S C U L A R S Y S T E M
G A S T R O I N T E S T I N A L S Y S T E M B R E A S T S
E N D O C R I N E S Y S T E M A B D O M E N
U R I N A R Y S Y S T E M M U S C U L O S K E L E T A L S Y S T E M
S K I N O T H E R C H A N G E S
R E S P I R A T O R Y S Y S T E M C H A N G E S
The respiratory rate rises to compensate for increased maternal oxygen consumption,
which is needed for demands of the uterus, the placenta, and the fetus
. Increased respiratory rate . Decreased functional capacity
. Increased minute ventilation . Increased tidal volume
. Respiratory alkalosis . Pregnant women may feel out of breath
C A R D I O V A S C U L A R S Y S T E M C H A N G E S
During pregnancy, the entire cardiovascular system is readjusted, blood volume
increases greatly, more blood vessels grow, and the pressure of the expanding
uterus on large veins causes the blood to slow i its return to the heart.
. Increased cardiac output . Decreased peripheral resistance
. Increased blood volume . Decreased blood pressure
. Elevated resting heart rate
G A S T R O I N T E S T I N A L S Y S T E M C H A N G E S
As the uterus enlarges, it rises up and out
of the pelvic cavity. This action displaces
the stomach, intestines, and other
Intestine Progesterone causes relaxation of the
lower esophageal sphincter.
+ = . Decreased gastric motility/constipation
. Increased reflux
C H A N G E S O F T H E B R E A S T S
. Breasts may become larger and more tender because Breast Anatomy
of increased levels of the hormones estrogen and Pectoralis minor muscle
progesterone. As the due date approaches, hormone Pectoralis major muscle
changes will cause pregnant women's breasts to get Subcutaneous fat pad
even bigger to prepare for breastfeeding. Pectoral fat pad
. Nipples may stick out more. Lactiferous sinus
Lobes of the mammary gland
. By the third trimester, colostrum, a yellow, watery Chest wall
pre-milk, may leak from the nipples.
E N D O C R I N E S Y S T E M C H A N G E S
Hormonal changes readjust the entire body system.
Hypothalam . The placenta acts as a temporary endocrine gland during pregnancy. It produces
Pituitary large amounts of estrogen and progesterone by the 10th to 12th week of pregnancy.
It serves to maintain the growth of the uterus, helps to control uterine activity,
Thyroid and is responsible for many of the maternal changes in the body.
. Pregnant women may feel warmer . Near the end of term, the posterior
Thymus or experience "hot flashes" caused pituitary will begin to secrete oxytocin
by increased hormonal levels and that will serve to initiate labor.
basal metabolic rate.
Pancreas . The parathyroid gland increases in . At birth, the anterior pituitary will begin
size slightly to meet the increased to secrete prolactin. This stimulates
Placenta requirements for calcium. the production of breast milk.
A B D O M E N C H A N G E S
During the second trimester the abdomen begins to expand and by the
end of this trimester, the top of the uterus will be near the rib cage. 9th month
A pregnant woman's abdomen may ache on one side or the other, as the 7th month
abdominal wall and the ligaments that support the uterus are stretched. 6th month
Skin Subcutaneous fat 4th month
Abdominal Peritoneum Abdominal
U R I N A R Y S Y S T E M C H A N G E S
. The expanding uterus puts pressure on the bladder, urethra,
and pelvic floor muscles, which leads to temporary bladder
Bladder control problems like frequent urination and even leaking of
Kidney Internal urethral sphincter urine when sneezing, coughing, or laughing.
External urethral sphincter
Urethra . The kidneys must work extra hard excreting the mother's
and the fetus waste products. The kidneys must work extra
hard to excrete the waste products of both mother and fetus.
M U S C U L O S K E L E T A L S Y S T E M C H A N G E S
There is a realignment of the spinal curvatures to maintain
balance; this produces a shift in the posture with exaggerated
lumbar lordosos, leading to the typical gait of late pregnancy.
Increased ligamental laxity, caused by increased levels of relaxin,
contribute to back pain and pubic symphysis dysfunction. The
ligaments that hold the pelvic bones together gradually loosen
to prepare the mother for labor and birth. Pelvis
S K I N C H A N G E S
Human Skin Diagram
Dermis Stretch marks (Striae Hyperpigmentation of Hyperdynamic
gravidarum) usually appear in the umbilicus, nipples, circulation and high
Subcutaneous the second half of pregnancy abdominal midline (linea levels of estrogen
Tissue on the thighs, buttocks, nigra), and face may cause spider
abdomen, and breasts. These (chloasma) are common veins (spider naevi)
scars are caused by the due to the hormonal and reddening of
stretching of the skin changes of pregnancy. the palms (palmar
O T H E R C O M M O N C H A N G E S
Hormone changes make many Feet and ankles may
women experience changes in No curve swell because of the
hair and nail texture and extra fluid in the body
growth during pregnancy. during pregnancy
Normal ankle Swollen ankle
Leg cramps can be caused by fatique
from carrying pregnancy weight,
compression of the blood vessels in the
legs, excess phosphorous, a shortage A slight increase in body temperature in early
of calcium or magnesium, and pregnancy is noted. The temperature returns to
fluctuation of pregnancy hormones. normal at about the 16th week of gestation.
Changes in Body Weight
0 to 15 weeks 16 to 27 weeks 28 to 40 weeks Total weight gain 25-35 pounds (12 to 17 kg)
2-3 pounds 16-17 pounds 25-35 pounds
(1-1.5 kg) 7.5 kg (12 to 17 kg) Fetus and support tissues/fluids
Baby 6-8 pounds (3 to 4 kg)
Placenta 1-2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kg)
Uterus 1-2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kg)
Amniotic Fluid 2-3 pounds (1 to 1.5 kg)
Maternal fluids and storage
Breast 1-2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kg)
Blood 3-4 pounds (1.5 to 2 kg)
Protein & Fat 8-10 pounds (4 to 5 kg)
Body Fluids 3-4 pounds (1.5 to 2 kg)
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