Often, women’s health issues revolve around pregnancy and the effect it has on the woman, her body, and her life. Many women imagine themselves becoming mothers, but many don’t consider how drastically the body changes in order to safely carry a baby. Check out some of the most common effects of pregnancy on a woman’s body, including how large the uterus grows.
How Your Body Changes during Pregnancy
A woman’s body goes through many changes when she is pregnant. This is all to accommodate her baby and his or her needs. Here are some of the most common effects of pregnancy women experience:
- Breathing, or respiratory rate, rises to compensate for the demands of the reproductive organs
- Resting heart rate is elevated more than normal as the uterus expands
- Displacement of the gastrointestinal system to make room for growing uterus
- Growing uterus creates pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder
Your womb, or the uterus, expands exponentially during pregnancy to hold your growing baby. Many doctors compare the growing uterus to fruits to give the mother a better picture. The womb starts at about the size of an orange, and it can reach to be as large as a watermelon by the third trimester!
Starting around 12 weeks, the uterus begins expanding to the size of a grapefruit. During the second trimester, the uterus continues to grow to the size of a papaya. At this size, it can no longer fit inside the pelvis. The uterus grows and pushes other organs out of their usual spots to make room for the growing baby. This can cause tension on surrounding muscles and ligaments, which is why many women complain of back aches or other pains.
Between 18-20 weeks, the doctor measures your fundal height, which is the the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus, called the fundus. Most of the time, the fundal height corresponds with the number of weeks you are pregnant. If you measure 32 centimeters, you should be about 32 weeks pregnant.
Third trimester and after birth
During the final trimester, the uterus finishes growing and is about the size of a watermelon. The uterus extends from the pubic area to the bottom of your rib cage.
After birth, your uterus needs time to shrink down to its normal size. Right after you deliver your new baby, nurses may push down on your stomach to make your uterus contract. This sends the message for your uterus to shrink back down. Birth is an incredible act of nature. For women that deliver several children, it shows the body is truly an amazing organism that can bounce back from such a transition over and over.
Preparing for a Hysterectomy?
The effects of pregnancy can often change a woman’s life and also affect her overall health. Many women notice troublesome symptoms that require a hysterectomy for treatment. Although many women feel a sense of loss with a hysterectomy, think of it as a new chapter in your life, free from menstruation, pain, and other complications.
At Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care, we pride ourselves in caring for women’s health. We provide safe and healthy options for hysterectomy surgery. Contact our office if you notice any abnormal symptoms or pain.