The response of the mother’s body to pregnancy

There is an ancient saying that a lady is reborn when a mother becomes. This rebirth brings changes in the female body as well. Among many apparent changes caused by the reaction of hormonal changes in the mother’s body or by the fetus is the enlargement of many sexual organs. For instance, the uterus of pregnant women increases from 50 gm to 1100 gm. Breasts become double in size, and at the same time vagina enlarges and the introituses open more widely. Apart from these specific changes hormones causes the marked changes in the body of mother by bringing changes in her appearance like edema, acne and acromegalic features. 

Weight gain in pregnancy –

The average weight gain during the pregnancy is up to 35 pounds and out it, most of this weight is gained in the last two trimesters. In this 35 pound, 8 pounds belong to the fetus and 4 pounds is of amniotic fluid, fetal membranes, and placenta. The increase in uterus size causes a change of 3 pounds in weight and enlargement of breast further enhance 2 pounds in this calculation. Still, the average weight increase of 8 to 18 pounds is because of extra fluid in the blood which contributes 5 pounds along with 3 to 13 pounds due to fat accumulation. During pregnancy, a woman often feels desire for food which is resulted from the cause of removal of food from the mother’s blood. If one doesn’t follow the prenatal diet the average weight gain can result into increase in 75 pounds. 

Metabolism during pregnancy –

The basal metabolism of pregnant women increased by 15 % in the latter half of the pregnancy. This is due to the effect of increased secretion of the number of hormones like thyroxin, adrenocortical and the sex hormones. As a consequence of the increased secretion of metabolic hormones, she becomes overheated and expends more energy for muscle activity. 

Nutrition during pregnancy –

The weight of the fetus becomes doubles in the last two months of the pregnancy. Ordinarily mother does not absorb sufficient amount of nutrition from a diet like calcium, magnesium, protein, iron and other to nourish the fetus; however, this requirement is fulfilled by the stored food in the placenta and other storage depots of the mother’s body. 

If the diet of pregnant women does not contain appropriate nutrition’s it may result in much maternal deficiency especially phosphate, calcium, iron, and vitamins. It is necessary for pregnant women to have the proper amount of vitamin D as the total quantity of calcium used by the fetus is small but mothers gastrointestinal track poorly absorb the calcium without vitamin D.  

Changes in the maternal blood circulation system 

The blood flow through the placenta and maternal cardiac output increases by 625 ml in last month. This increased blood flow along with the increased metabolism increases the mother’s cardiac output up to 40% by the 27th week of pregnancy. 

During the pregnancy, the blood volume of the mother’s body also increases by 30 % above normal shortly before term.

Changes in maternal respiration 

As a consequence of the increased metabolic rate and the size of the mother’s body the respiration rate of pregnant women also increases. The total amount of oxygen used by pregnant women shortly before the birth of the baby is increased by 20%. 

It is believed that the high level of progesterone increases the minute ventilation which is maintained by the increases respiration rate. 

Changes in maternal kidney function.

As a result of increased production of salt and water retaining hormones, more specifically the steroid hormones secreted by the placenta and adrenal cortex the reabsorptive capacity for sodium and chloride and water increased by 50 % in the maternal kidney. 

During normal pregnancy, vasodilatation occurs in pregnant women which do increase renal blood flow and glomerular filtration by 50%. The normal pregnant women accumulate 5 pounds of extra water and salt.

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