How will my body change when I am pregnant?

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Answered by: Emily, An Expert in the Pregnancy and Your Body Category
One of the first things every woman wonders about when they realize they want to start a family is not only, "How long will it take me to get pregnant?" or "What will it be like as a mommy?" but "How will my body change after I get pregnant?"

Body image is important to us all. These days, we are constantly comparing ourselves to our peers, the celebrities we see in magazines or the strangers on the street. This in and of itself is a whole other issue. Shouldn't we be thankful for the bodies we were given? Must we constantly strive for not only earthly possession we don't have, but for the perfect legs, abs, or thighs as well? That discussion is for another day.

I never anticipated just how much my body would change as my little boys grew within me. From the tender breasts to the nausea to the butterfly movements in the tummy, it is all a part of the amazing (yet sometimes miserable) experience called pregnancy! You will experience what seems like a constant hunger (yes, you really DO need to get almost every hour in the beginning!), a constant urge to go to the bathroom and an almost constant fatigue for those first few months. It isn't easy. But, again, it's a part of that beautiful process!

As you leave the first trimester and enter into the second, you get back some of your energy, breathe a sigh of relief that the most critical developmental stage is behind you, and enjoy this middle ground in pregnancy. You can walk around with your cute baby bump. Yes, you may have some indigestion, heartburn, and you will still be peeing almost every hour, but it is a happy medium between the nausea and the just-shy-of-40-weeks baby bump. Somewhere in there you many find out the gender of your baby, giving you what feels like more of a bond with this little miracle you are carrying.

Now, the last trimester is more challenging. As your excitement grows for this life-changing experience, so does your body! Your face may seem fuller, your ankles may swell, and we all know that little baby will make your belly grow even more. You are REALLY going to the bathroom constantly now (and maybe a few times at night!), you may hardly have an appetite as the baby pushes on your stomach, and you will begin to ache more. Shortness of breath and a few Braxton Hicks contractions may bother you as well.

Then, you arrive to the ultimate day, where you deliver that baby into this world, and your body does things you never imagined it could do. And, yes, your body is changing once again. But so is your soul. Because now you have met this person you have been carrying that is this perfect combination of you and the one you love.

As a mother of two boys, I do struggle with this sometimes. Did my body change? Yes. My body will never be the same. But, I know that these two boys are the most amazing people I have ever seen or known or loved. When I see their dimpled cheeks and smell their sun-bleached hair and hear their sweet voices whisper "I love you," I realize that every sacrifice was worth it. Every stretch mark. Every sag. Every worry. Every minute I am devoting to nurturing their precious souls. It was worth it.

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