As with weddings and getting married, people have a tendency to bombard pregnant woman with advice and opinions.
There is, however, no end to the many myths and old wives tales around pregnancies, so the often unsolicited ‘help’ expecting ladies receive from everyone and their mother should be taken with a grain of salt.
But here are a few facts about pregnancy that you CAN believe!
1. It legit makes you glow
If you ever told a pregnant woman that she’s glowing, you weren’t lying. While it’s mostly just used as a common expression to make a lady feel special, there’s actually a lot of truth to the saying.
A pregnant woman has 50 percent more blood in her body than her non-expecting counterpart, and this increased amount of blood can be seen through certain areas of the skin, especially the cheeks. Pregnant woman also have more active oil glands, due to hormonal changes, which can give her a softer, shinier appearance.
Combine the glow and the shine, and you have the pregnancy glow everyone’s always going on about.
2. It enhances your senses
Pregnancy intensifies a woman’s sense of smell and taste; a change that is also believed to be caused by hormones, especially oestrogen.
And while scientists aren’t really sure how and if oestrogen creates any actual changes in the nose or brain that causes these heightened senses, there are some who hypothesize that it’s an innate process to stop woman from consuming small levels of toxins that might not be dangerous to an adult, but could fatally harm the baby.
3. Contractions after birth
Not many people realise that woman have contractions after they’ve given birth. Also called ‘after pains’, these contractions signal the process of involution, during which the uterus shrinks back down to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.
These contractions furthermore constrict blood vessels in the wall of the uterus and gradually stop the flow of blood due to the separation of placenta from it during the birthing process.
4. Nobody eats for two
Sorry ladies! There’s sadly no truth to the widespread idea that woman need to gain weight to have a healthy baby. Pregnant woman actually only need to consume some 300 extra calories per day, which equates to a small meal like a serving of yoghurt and half a bagel.
In total, a woman only really needs to gain about 11kg throughout her entire pregnancy.
5. It will up your shoe size
Even though the dream of eating for two has now been thoroughly ruined, there is still a silver lining. Pregnancy is often the perfect excuse to go shoe shopping, because it makes feet grow bigger.
And while it’s natural to assume that bigger feet is caused by weight gain, this isn’t the case. Pregnancy actually makes a woman’s feet flatter and wider. This happens as the body starts to release the tightness of its ligaments to help with the birthing process, and is compounded by excess pressure on the feet.
Shoe size increases as feet start to lose their arch and stretch out on the sides, and while this is most commonly a temporary change, it could end up being a permanent one if they grow a lot.