Sunday, 13 July 2014
The female body is a wonder at the best of times, but never more so than when you are having a baby. Helen Foster reveals 25 medical facts to keep you happy, healthy - or just simply in awe
You might spend the first ten weeks feeling like a period is about to start, ‘Women are often surprised by this,’ says obstetrician Dr Joseph Iskaros, medical advisor to the Mermaid Maternity Retreat. ‘It’s nothing to worry about; it feels heavy because the area becomes congested very quickly.’
Nipples may change colour - darker nipples are common during pregnancy as hormones stimulate pigmentation - but once feeding starts, some women notice their nipples turn white. ‘This can be a sign of a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon which normally affects fingers and toes,’ says lactation consultant Sioned Hilton from Medela UK. ‘It’s usually accompanied by burning or shooting pains. It can help to use heat pads when feeding but speak to your health visitor too.’
If you’re getting a ‘push present’,don’t make it those swanky shoes you’ve had your eye on. Women have suspected foot size changes in pregnancy for a while and now science confirms it. Docs at the University of Iowa have found the arch of the foot falls between two and ten millimetres during a first pregnancy, which lengthens the foot. And, it doesn’t return to normal…
Play a chill-out song and have a calmer baby when they arrive - ‘Unborn babies can learn to associate a piece of music with relaxation – which may prove a practical way of calming your baby after birth,’ says Linda Geddes, author of new book Bumpology (£14.99, Bantam Press). She tells of a study of pregnant women who learned to relax to a particular tune. After birth, when their babies were played the same tune, they stopped crying, opened their eyes and made fewer jerky movements.
Delivery might switch off future period pains - Period pains aren’t just caused by the uterus contracting – they also occur when blood and tissue passes through a narrow or tight cervix. ‘After you’ve given birth the cervix is more open and relaxed and many women find pains are lessened,’ says Dr Geetha Venkat from the Harley Street Fertility Clinic.
To read the full article and get the next 20 medical facts about your pregnant body, buy the June/July 2013 issue of Gurgle magazine.