Major Physiological Changes During Pregnancy

Major Physiological Changes in Pregnancy

What is Pregnancy?

In medical science, pregnancy is the state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This situation can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test and confirmed through a blood test, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-Ray, ultrasound. It should be noted here that, pregnancy or gestation lasts for about nine months which is measured from the date of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP).
Physiological changes of pregnant women
Fig: Physiological changes of pregnant women

What are the Physiological Changes During Pregnancy?

The below physiological changes occur during pregnancy:

1. Respiratory system changes:
It includes-

  • Increased respiratory rate,
  • Increased minute ventilation,
  • Respiratory alkalosis,
  • Decreased functional capacity,
  • Increased volume,
  • Pregnant women may feel out of breath.

2. Cardiovascular system changes:
It includes-

  • Increased cardiac volume,
  • Increased blood output,
  • Elevated resting heart rate,
  • Decreased peripheral resistance,
  • Decreased blood pressure (second trimester).

3. Gastrointestinal system changes:
It includes-

  • Decreased gastric motility,
  • Increased reflex,
  • Constipation,
  • Heartburn,
  • Progesterone causes relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter.

4. Change of the breast:
It includes-

  • The breast may become larger and tenderer,
  • The nipple may stick out more,
  • By the third trimester, colostrum, a yellow watery pre-milk may leak from the nipples.

5. Endocrine system changes:
It includes-

  • Insulin resistance increase with advancing pregnancy mainly due to insulin antagonism by human placental lactose,
  • The posterior pituitary gland is stimulated to produce an increasing amount of oxytocin,
  • Increased plasma binding protein,
  • Increased bound form thyroxine,
  • Decreased free toxin levels.

6. Abdomen changes:
It includes-

  • The abdominal wall and ligament that support the uterus are stretched,
  • 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 case.

7. Urinary system changes:
It includes-

  • Frequent urination,
  • Leakage of urine when coughing or sneezing laughing,
  • The kidney must work extra hard to excrete waste product from both mother and fetus.

8. Musculoskeletal system changes:
It includes-

  • Back pain,
  • Public symphysis dysfunction.

9. Skin changes:
It includes-

  • Stretch mark,
  • Hyperpigmentation of the umbilicus, nipples, abdominal midline and face,
  • Spider veins and reddening of the palms.

More questions related to this article:

  1. What do you mean by pregnancy?
  2. What changes occur during pregnancy?
  3. Mention the physiological changes during pregnancy.
  4. What are the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy?
  5. Mention major physiological changes during pregnancy in the reproductive system.
  6. Describe normal physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.
  7. What are the physiological changes during pregnancy?
  8. What are changes during pregnancy?
  9. What are the changes in the body during pregnancy?
  10. Discuss the physiology of pregnancy in humans.

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