How Does Pregnancy Weight Affect Your Body?
The body responds to the new life forming inside of a woman by requiring a higher caloric intake. Appetite increase and cravings for a particular food type contribute to the retention of needed weight for the baby.
A woman’s body provides clues as to what is missing, and as she obliges, her body begins to reshape itself. Bones are affected by the weight gain and begin to shift to accommodate the baby. The pelvis and hips augment and tendons relax (Iovine, 1995).
No Two are the Same
Pregnancy-related bodily changes differ among women and even among each pregnancy a woman may experience. In some women, the weight gain may be visible from face to feet.
Although it is possible to carry the majority of pregnancy weight in the lower portion of the torso, it is more common that the life developing in the expanding uterus triggers hormones liable for other body parts to augment.
One of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy is the enlargement of a woman’s breasts. Due to hormonal changes, the breasts become fuller and heavier throughout the pregnancy. Additionally, pregnant women can gain weight in their faces, necks, arms, buttocks, thighs, ankles and feet.
Weight gain is not limited to the aforementioned areas. Much of the weight is due to fluid retention from both water and increased blood volume. Besides the baby, other weight gain results from the placenta, amniotic fluid and uterus (Verrilli, M.D, 2002).
Whether in the form of fluid or fatty tissue, the additional weight gained affects everyday bodily functions. Putting on weight puts on pressure. The extra pounds can make walking difficult primarily due to disturbances in balance.
Pregnancy weight may cause swelling of the ankles and feet and poor circulation in a woman’s legs, which leads to cramping because of pressure placed on them from the growing uterus.
Also, pregnancy weight places pressure on the bladder, causing continuous pee. As the pregnancy progresses, shortness of breath may be experienced as a result of the added baby weight, particularly when lying down.
Pressure is also placed on the back as the weight often is unevenly distributed toward the front of a woman’s body (americanpregnancy.org).
Because pregnancy weight gain significantly affects a woman’s body, it is important for a woman to gain only what is necessary and at a steady rate of up to four pounds monthly (mypyramid.gov).
Excessive weight gain can be harmful to both mother and unborn child, causing blood pressure to rise and strain the heart of the mother, which in turn puts the baby in danger.