Pregnancy Body Changes

Pregnant woman lying in bed sleepingBy Marcia Whyte Smart for Baby + You

Surging hormones and a growing body trigger some intense body changes during pregnancy. While some of these alterations will seem almost alien to you, rest assured that most of them are normal and will go away after you deliver your baby. As noted in the bestselling guide What to Expect When You're Expecting, “If you haven't already noticed, pregnancy impacts just about every inch of your body — from head (that forgetfulness!) to toes (those expanding feet!) and everything in between (breasts, belly!).”

Here, a roundup of common pregnancy body changes you might encounter:

Pregnancy Body Change No. 1: Chloasma
Usually called “the mask of pregnancy,” chloasma is the appearance of patchy dark skin on the forehead, nose and cheeks. It coincides with a rise in hormones and melanin during pregnancy. Dark-haired women tend to be more susceptible. The patches will fade a few months after pregnancy. In the meantime, to prevent the area from darkening further, stay out of the direct sun, wear sunscreen, and cover up.

Pregnancy Body Change No. 2: Linea Nigra
Everyone has a faint line that runs from the belly button to the pubic bone, but it can darken substantially when you're expecting. The same culprit that causes chloasma, an increase in melatonin, enhances the color of the linea nigra. The line should fade a few months after pregnancy, when your hormones level out.

Pregnancy Body Change No. 3: Breasts You Don't Recognize
You may not recognize them anymore: bluish veins appear under the skin's surface, the area around the nipple (the areola) darkens and increases in size, nipples protrude more, and the glands on the areola become raised and bumpy in preparation for breastfeeding. And by the end of the first trimester, your breasts might leak a thick, yellow liquid called colostrum. Most of these symptoms will subside after delivery or after you stop nursing.

Pregnancy Body Change No. 4: Bleeding Gums
An increase in your body's blood flow helps move nutrient-rich blood to the uterus, but it can also send extra blood to your teeth and gums. You may notice that your gums bleed more easily when you brush. This symptom will subside after delivery; until then, try using a softer toothbrush, and floss gently.

Pregnancy Body Change No. 5: Hair Growth
Your entire body is growing to accommodate your baby, and your hair is no exception. New hair is growing more rapidly and old hair is shedding more slowly. Your mane may feel thicker, and you may notice hairs sprouting in odd places, like your belly, breasts and nipples.

Pregnancy Body Change No. 6: Skin Tags
Skin is growing and stretching to accommodate baby, and you may notice pieces of “accessory” skin, called skin flaps, on your breasts, armpits and neck. Skin tags are harmless, but they won't diminish after you deliver. You can have them easily removed by a doctor.

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While most physical side effects of pregnancy are harmless and will fade soon after delivery, call your doctor if you can't keep liquids down, or if you have a fever or sudden swelling in your face or hands.


Read more about pregnancy wellness at Baby
+ You.

Marcia Whyte Smart is a freelance writer based in
San Francisco and writes frequently about women's and children's health.

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Pregnancy Body Changes

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21 comments

  1. Natasha says:

    I need some helpful suggestions please. I am 16 weeks pregnant and my breast have grown very quickly. I was a 34B starting out and now a 36C. I am outgrowing the cup but not the band; what are some suggestion on keeping up with my growing breast and a comfortable bra?

  2. mommy nhoj says:

    Hmm. Spotted some items applicable to me 🙂

  3. LIZ says:

    i took two times of care of my face because i didnt want to get those patches and i use almond oil all my pregnancy to prevent stretch marks

  4. Alanna says:

    There are too mani strange changes going on.

  5. TwitchMarie says:

    I have one pair of pj pants left that fit and can’t afford any maternity/new pants. The rubber band trick just isn’t working anymore, and all of my friends with kids are larger than I am. Starting to worry since Winter is close and it’s past the dress season. Ahhh! :/
    I didn’t expect the belly to grow this fast.

    • Alanna says:

      Search for some pregnancy consignment shops in your area. You might be able to find some fashionable items by trading in some thing you don’t need anymore.

  6. I got the veins on my boobs! It hurt so much! my breasts were swollen and everything that they touched hurt!

  7. Kellie says:

    Some things that are def good to know havent really had any of these yet but im only 12 weeks pregnant but it gives me a heads up as to what i can expect

  8. KEIYONDA says:

    EVEN READING THIS I STILL FREAK OUT WHEN ANY OF THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO ME.

  9. Angela says:

    I was always one to get the occasional pimple or two during my periods, when I was pregnant my face went full blown lobster red, and acne central. NOTHING helped. but once I stopped breastfeeding and my hormones started to balance back out it SLOWLY faded away.

  10. Marina says:

    Not happy with bleeding gums and skin tags. Definitely will be visiting my Dentist & Dermatologist right after I deliver in few months.

  11. Berenice says:

    Hairy belly is not cute at all but i have to live with it for 9 months. I’m healthy skin that good. I wear the cocoa butter lotion to prevent stretch markers hopefully it works, first time using it.

  12. I feel like my body isn’t even mine anymore…

  13. Angelwings says:

    skin tags and hairy belly. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I do not like that

  14. Hope says:

    I’ve developed skin tags. It scares me a bit because I’m paranoid about getting melanoma.

  15. Anna says:

    Skin tags are the most unpleasant surprises of my pregnancy… It seems I get a lot of them

  16. Thanks, glad to know its not just me . I am learning.

  17. very informative article

  18. McKenzie says:

    All very good to know.

  19. Sasoo says:

    So many changes to get used to but it is worth it.

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