Profound changes occur in your body with in days of conceiving. In the first week you may feel surprisingly tired and as the weeks go by you will notice increasing breast tenderness and probably one of the worst effects of early pregnancy nausea. The changes in your body happen as a result of hormone levels that soar dramatically during pregnancy.
Soon after conception, when the fertilized egg embeds in the lining of the uterus, the levels of two pregnancy hormones begin to rise. These hormones are progesterone, which is important in helping to maintain your pregnancy and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Progesterone has many effects on your body, one of which is to relax smooth muscle. We have this type of muscle in our internal organs such as the intestines and uterus. Smooth muscle relaxation is critical in pregnancy because the uterus must stretch, other wise uterine contractions might cause preterm labor or miscarriage. You have a lot of other smooth muscles in your body that are also affected by progesterone. One of the first symptoms of progesterone you may notice is relaxation of your intestinal smooth muscle, which results in a lot of bloating and gas. Progesterone also profoundly affect the way you breathe, increasing how quickly you breathe and how deeply. Expect to feel short of breath when you walk up stairs, even if you are in good shape. Pregnancy hormones make your breasts very sore and your breasts will start to enlarge.
The first trimester is also the beginning of a profound set of changes in your heart and circulation. The amount of blood pumping around your body starts to increase dramatically and your heart has to work harder. As the uterus starts to enlarge it may press on the bladder, and you may feel the urge to urinate more frequently than usual. Even though this is annoying, don't be tempted to start drinking less fluid. Instead, take frequent bathroom breaks and wear clothes that are not a nightmare to get in and out of.
Most women feel exhausted much of the time in these first few months. While this is absolutely normal, it can be frustrating. Even if you are getting enough sleep, you may feel like you need a nap by 10am. This can make functioning at your job or taking care of your family feel particularly onerous.
In a perfect world you should give in to these feelings and take frequent naps. For many of us, this is not possible. If you can, allow your self to slow down to whatever extent is possible. Don't feel guilty about going to sleep as early as you want to, and skip evening social events if you don't feel up to it. Let your partner organize meals, and pamper your self whenever you can.
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