You and your body in pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of big change, particularly for your body. Discover some of the things you are likely to experience.
- Tender breasts - Your breasts may start to feel sore, swollen
or tingly. This is often the first sign of pregnancy as, even
at this stage, your body prepares for breast feeding.
- Nausea - A surge of pregnancy hormones at around seven or eight
weeks can trigger morning sickness. It generally peaks by 10 weeks
and subsides by 13 weeks.
- Tired and emotional - The first trimester is your baby's most
critical growth stage, when all the vital organs are forming.
Hormonal changes mean you can expect to feel exhausted, not to
mention tearful and emotional. This is all normal. Take things easy
and try to rest whenever you can.
- Frequent loo stops - Thanks again to hormonal changes, you may
find you need to empty your bladder more often than usual.
Did you know?
By the end of the first trimester, your unborn baby can
curl and fan their toes, squint, frown and open their mouth.
- Hair, skin and nails - Increased levels of the hormone
progesterone may mean your hair looks and feels thicker. Some women
find their nails also grow faster too, while others find they break
more easily. Your skin retains more moisture during pregnancy and
your blood volume increases, so you may develop a healthy-looking
- Stretch marks - With your uterus moving upwards, your bump
becomes more obvious. As your skin stretches, you may develop
stretch marks. They can also appear on your thighs and breasts but
generally fade after the birth.
- Dark patches on your face - Dark patches of pigmentation may
appear on your face. They are caused by melanin, the natural
pigment in your skin, darkening as a result of hormone changes and
will fade after the birth. In the meantime avoid the sun and wear a
high factor sunscreen.
- The linea nigra - Pigmentation changes can also mean you
develop a dark line, the linea nigra, that runs vertically down the
middle of your bump. This will fade after the birth.
- Baby's kicks - You can look forward to feeling your baby kick
any time from around 20 weeks, possibly earlier if this not your
Did you know?
At around 27 weeks, your baby's eyes, which have been fused
shut, will open and they will start to blink.
- Puffy and out of puff - You may start to feel breathless as
your expanding uterus presses against your diaphragm. Meanwhile
water retention is common in later pregnancy and can cause your
feet, ankles and fingers to swell. Try to avoid standing for long
periods. If swelling is severe and accompanied by headaches,
dizziness, nausea or visual disturbances seek immediate medical
advice as these can be symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
- Itchy bump - Your bump may itch from time to time as the skin
stretches. Applying moisturising cream can help. But if it is
severe, especially at night, contact your GP as this can indicate a
rare pregnancy liver disorder.
Did you know?
At 35 weeks your baby's hearing is fully formed.