No one disputes the miracle of childbirth or denies that a woman's body undergoes some pretty magical changes while pregnant. Most, however, aren't aware of the science behind these mystical, wondrous and sometimes downright freaky bodily changes. Here are six amazing things that happen in a woman's body when she is expecting.
1. You develop a new organ. Many people don't know that the placenta is actually an organ that you grow during pregnancy - one that leaves your body after the delivery. The placenta is a tissue structure that grows and develops inside your uterus in order to deliver oxygen and essential nutrients to your baby. It provides a wall between the blood of both mom and baby, and helps in the process of waste removal. It is linked to your body via the umbilical cord, and exits through the birth canal once it is no longer needed.
2. You gain 50 percent blood volume. When you're pregnant, your body is working twice as hard and therefore needs more blood vessels to keep things moving. By the time you reach month five, you'll be carrying around an extra 50 percent of blood in your veins, which can have a few different effects. First, your heart will need to work faster in order to pump all that blood. Other side effects include hemorrhoids, nasal stuffiness, nosebleeds and even varicose veins.
3. You get that pregnancy "glow." The idea that pregnant women "glow" is a cliche, and many believe it is also a myth or a white lie told to uplift moms-to-be when they feel they aren't at their most beautiful. However, science lends credo to this notion, and considering how much extra blood women are toting at this point, it makes sense - but it isn't just a result of the increased circulation. Your body also produces more hormones while pregnant, which means your oil glands may be working overtime to provide you with that pregnancy sheen.
4. Your bones loosen up. One of the strangest transformations that occurs in your body while pregnant is what happens to your bones and ligaments - they actually loosen up and become bendier. This is caused by certain hormones, such as the well-known natural chemical, "relaxin," that the body makes during gestation. Some women report pain or discomfort in their bones and joints because of the process - but it's much better than trying to give birth without the added bone flexibility.
5. Your hair is fuller. Many women report having the fullest, most lustrous head of hair ever while pregnant, and there is good reason for this. The body doesn't shed hair as quickly when pregnant due to an increase in estrogen levels. However, be warned - this extra hair will fall out after your baby is born!
6. You're more likely to have an orgasm. Once again, this one is due to all the extra blood circulating. Your genitals will experience increased blood flow, making the nerve endings more sensitized. This increased sensitivity along with heightened hormones sets the scene for sexual satisfaction. (It should be noted that not all pregnant women are likely to be lusty - some women report lessened libido, which is perfectly normal with the body undergoing all these changes.)
These are just a few of the many changes the female body undergoes during the gestation period. What other side effects did you encounter during your pregnancy? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section.