How Pregnancy Changes Your Body


Being pregnant and the changes that come with it seem pretty obvious: your belly gets really big, you gain a lot of weight and you eat everything in sight. Well, there is a little bit more to it than that, especially when it comes to what occurs inside of a woman’s body. If you’re newly pregnant, it helps to know what to expect of your body as it changes in the coming months.

The first three months of your pregnancy are known as your first trimester. This is where a lot of changes will start to take place inside you as your body gets ready to accommodate a human fetus. The most common symptoms you’ll experience throughout your first trimester include mood swings, stress, nausea, fatigue and backaches. Not all women suffer from these symptoms but be ready for them if they do happen. Most go away as your pregnancy progresses. Morning sickness can be treated by eating small meals 6-8 times a day, avoiding fatty, spicy and fried foods, eating a more healthy diet, drinking ginger ale or seltzer water, and taking prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your doctor.

Because the size of your uterus growing can put a lot of pressure on your bladder, expect to go to the bathroom frequently. During this time you will also experience weight gain as your appetite increases. At first you may only gain a small amount of weight, such as one pound a month.

During the second trimester, you’ll start to notice more signs of your body changing. This is the time when stretch marks tend to appear due to the expanding skin of your stomach, as well as pain in your groin, thighs and abdomen, changes in your complexion (blemishes, discoloration), shortness of breath, tingling in your hands and fingers, and itching around the abdomen, palms and soles of the feet. Weight-wise, you will start to slowly pack on more pounds – about one pound per week or 3-4 pounds per month. This is all completely normal.

The third trimester means you are also nearing the end of your pregnancy. While it can be a time to celebrate, there are still certain symptoms you’ll experience and signs you must look for to make sure everything is on track. Because you are getting close to your delivery date, you’ll notice your symptoms from your second trimester may get worse, especially when it comes to going to the bathroom and having difficulty breathing, as the baby is getting bigger and putting more pressure on your organs.

You can also expect heartburn, hemorrhoids, tender breasts, trouble sleeping, and swelling of the fingers, face and ankles. By this time, the average pregnant woman will have gained anywhere between 25-30 pounds. It is estimated that roughly seven and a half of those pounds are the baby’s weight. It is common during the third trimester to experience more fatigue. Be sure to avoid eating large meals before bed, walk when you can and avoid taking long naps during the day so you can get the rest you need at night.

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Cigarettes And The Aging Process: Are You Smoking Yourself Older?

Smoking & aging face changes

The health risks of smoking have been in the news for years and most people smokers have made their peace with the fact that cigarettes are hazardous to their health. But so is caffeine (at least that’s the way the argument goes). But what about the beauty ramifications?

Now we’ve turned a corner. We’re no longer talking about the invisible effects of smoking inside the body, but the visible effects of smoking on your face. And while some smokers are fine with the idea of black lungs, the suggestion that smoking can prematurely age the face is a line of discussion that they will entertain.

No one wants to look bad, but for smokers, it’s an uphill battle. According to Amanda Sandford, research manager for Action on Smoking and Health, states that, “…for smokers, middle-age starts in their early 30`s as the tell-tale wrinkles around the mouth and eyes begin to appear.  Young female smokers are likely to be wasting their money on anti-aging face creams if they continue to smoke.”

And to make maters worse, the aging effects of smoking are often more noticeable in women than in men. It’s not news that smoking affects the skin. In fact, the phenomenon known as “smoker’s face” was first identified more than 40 years ago – in 1965.

Since that initial study, it has been estimated by researchers that the effects of smoking add between 10 and 20 years to your appearance. So if you’re 35 and smoking, you could look like you’re 55 – and who wants to rush the hand of time?

Smoking speeds up skin damage in several key ways:

– It causes the formation of “free radicals” in your body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your very DNA and cause your cells to behave erratically.

– It restricts the blood flow through your capillaries, thereby starving your skin of precious nutrients.

– It causes your body to break down the supply of collagen to your skin. Collagen is an important part of maintaining your skin’ elasticity. And while it does decrease with age, smoking accelerates that process.

– It reduces your supply of vitamin A and prevents your body from efficiently absorbing vitamin C – both key ingredients in protecting your skin from damage.

– Once airborne, it has an overall drying effect on the skin.

– It causes deeply wrinkled skin around the eyes and mouth from continual puckering from drawing on a cigarette and squinting in reaction to the cigarette smoke.

What does a smoker’s skin look like over time? The beauty effects of long-term exposure to tobacco smoke are:

– A loss of glow and vitality – your skin starts to look dull

– Discoloration – the smoke can actually stain your skin

– Normal wrinkles will be deeper and more pronounced – in fact, according to one study, you’re 3 times as likely to appear wrinkled if you smoke.

– Loss of tone and elasticity in your skin. Similar to the damage caused by the sun, smoking breaks down the collagen that helps keep your skin taut and resilient.

So if you smoke, you may be setting yourself up for early aging. Add that to the well-documented health risks and it might be in your best interest to skip that next cigarette. Your face will thank you.