The First Signs of Pregnancy
Breasts and waist
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to try on a different body and maybe have a new personality for a while, here's your wish come true. During the nine months of pregnancy, your body will do things you never thought it could (or should) do. The whole world will notice that it is growing in all directions. Not only will you lose your waist, but also you'll see your hips, your arms, and maybe even your ankles expand. Other changes will be more subtle: Your hair might become thicker or thinner, curlier or straighter, and your skin might become drier or oilier. Your sleep patterns might change. Even your personality might take on a new dimension. One thing is for sure: Every day will be a new adventure.
Although your breasts grow very large during pregnancy, they don't gain a single ounce of fat!
Do your breasts a favor: Wear a bra. Without support, the extra weight is going to strain the connective tissues. To prevent permanent changes (such as sagging) after childbirth, some women even wear their bras 24 hours a day during their pregnancies.
One of the first signs of pregnancy is a change in breast size. Your breasts are changing now to prepare for your baby's arrival. From the moment of conception, your breasts become stimulated by the hormones of pregnancy. At first blood vessels dilate and grow to nourish the breast tissue. Then the milk ducts branch out and expand.
In addition to increased size, most women find their breasts are tender. This discomfort is similar (but usually a bit more intense) to the way your breasts might feel just before you get your period. Your nipples, too, might react to the news. They might get hard and sensitive. This breast discomfort should ease after the first month or so.
You might also find that the area around the nipple (the areola) will get darker. And if you look closely, you'll see blue lines under the skin of the breast. In the second half of the pregnancy, many women begin to notice fluid leaking from their nipples. If this happens, there is no need for alarm. This fluid is called colostrum—a thick yellow fluid that is the earliest form of milk. This can happen to any pregnant woman but is more common in women who have already delivered a baby.
The Disappearing Waistline
Your breasts are not the only part of your body getting bigger right from the start. By the time you get a positive result on your pregnancy test you might find the waist of your pants fitting a bit tighter (especially if you're having more than one baby or if this is your first pregnancy). It's not that you're growing a pregnancy belly yet. It's just that as your insides start to shift around to make room for the soon-to-expand uterus, the waistline seems to be the first to go. Long before you begin to "show" you'll find you can't close the top button of your pants.
After the waistline goes, you might notice that your body is beginning to take on an upholstered look. To protect the fetus your body will add layers of fat to your lower abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks. This insulates the womb and stores up a source of energy for the end of the pregnancy when you begin to eat less (this will happen!).
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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