What is pregnancy really like? It's often described as a miracle, although medical advancements have taken a lot of the mystique away from the process. But whether you're a first-time mother or just a curious reader, you probably have a lot of questions about the process.
Plenty of weird things happen during pregnancy. You grow brand new organs, for example, and develop incredibly heightened senses. That's not to mention the cravings - who hasn't heard the stereotype about pregnant women hungering for pickles and ice cream?
This list, however, digs deeper into some of the strangest and most awe-inspiring aspects of incubating a baby. Read on to discover truths about pregnancy that you may not have considered, like the hormonal connection between hairy babies and acid reflux during pregnancy. You're likely to come away with a newfound respect for what the human body can do.
Pregnant Women Grow Mega Hearts
In order to be able to accomplish that whole "growing a human" thing, a pregnant woman’s cardiovascular system goes into hyper drive. Blood volume, blood flow, and blood composition all change as a result. The craziest part? A growing uterus pushes the heart up higher into a new position in a woman’s chest cavity, and the heart increases in size by around 12%. With her new and improved mega-heart, a pregnant woman can better support her own needs along with those of a growing baby.
Partners Can Develop Sympathetic Pregnancies
Ever heard of couvade syndrome? Maybe you’ve heard it called by its other name: sympathetic pregnancy. Couvade syndrome occurs when a non-pregnant partner experiences the symptoms of pregnancy alongside a pregnant one. If a father has couvade syndrome, he might experience increased hormone levels, morning sickness, weight gain, and even labor pains. Sometimes a partner will even experience postpartum depression. The jury is still out on whether couvade syndrome is biologically induced by hormones or a psychosomatic condition.
Pregnant Women Develop Super Senses
Many women suddenly become super tasters during pregnancy. There are a few explanations for why smell and taste become more heightened for expectant mothers. In short, it’s probably because more finely tuned senses (especially smell and taste) can help a pregnant woman avoid substances that could be potentially harmful to a fetus, like caffeine. However, increased blood flow to the brain also heightens the senses, and so does refraining from smoking and drinking - both heavily discouraged during pregnancy.
Heartburn During Pregnancy Can Mean A Hairy Baby
It's an old wives tale that heartburn during pregnancy equals a hairy baby, but there's actually something to that. Estregen and progesterone, two hormones that increase during pregnancy, are involved in both hair growth and heartburn. The scientific study that examined this connection concluded that “[contrary] to expectations, it appears that an association between heartburn severity during pregnancy and newborn hair does exist."