10 Pregnancy Facts That Might Surprise You
When you first become pregnant, you’re prepared for your belly to grow and your nesting instinct to kick into overdrive. But there are some other pregnancy facts that might surprise you.
Yes, your body will change throughout the various stages of maternity. In many cases, you may not even realize these changes are happening. In other cases, the changes will have a serious effect on your day-to-day life.
Regardless, pregnancy is a wonderful time to be a woman!
In this article, we’ll introduce you to pregnancy facts that are truly a marvel to behold and experience.
Surprising Pregnancy Facts
1) Your Blood Volume Increases By 40-50%
When you’re pregnant, your baby needs oxygenated blood to grow and develop just like you do.
This extra demand on your circulatory system causes your blood volume to increase by 40-50% over your non-pregnancy blood volume.
What does that mean in terms of actual numbers?
The average adult woman’s blood volume is 1.5 gallons. When you’re pregnant, you can produce up to 0.75 gallons of extra blood so that a pregnant woman’s blood volume can top out at 2.25 gallons before the baby is born!
2) Your Sense Of Smell May Change
A heightened or altered sense of smell is usually one of the first changes that indicates you’re pregnant.
Within just a few weeks after conception, you might wake up and not be able to stand the smell of your laundry detergent. On the other hand, you may suddenly find a skunk’s smell more appealing than before.
What’s the point of this transformation?
Scientists believe it develops as a way to help pregnant women avoid unsafe foods and protect the developing fetus in the womb.
You have no control over how your sense of smell may change — or even if it will — but you can be sure that this pregnancy fact will be an interesting experience!
3) Your Heart Grows
No, we’re not talking about making room in your life to love your new little one, although that happens, too. When you’re pregnant, your heart grows bigger physically as well as metaphorically!
Why the need for this increase in size?
It all goes back to your baby’s need for oxygenated blood and the extra demand that imposes on your circulatory system.
In response to the 50% increase in blood, your body causes your heart to grow in size to handle the new volume of blood and ensure that it moves to every corner of your and your baby’s body.
Without this size increase, your heart would have to beat faster and harder (like during exercise) just to keep up with the demand for blood.
Over time, that could cause problems in other parts of your body. Just imagine how you would feel if your heart beat as though you were exercising for nine months straight. You’d be exhausted!
Thank goodness your body knows what to do.
4) Pregnancy Brain Is Real
You’ve probably heard your pregnant friends talk about forgetting things they’ve known for a long time or walking into the kitchen and not remembering what they came for.
If you feel like this is happening to you, don’t panic. Pregnancy brain is real!
No one is sure why this change happens, but it could certainly be a result of the late nights, exhaustion, and stress of welcoming a new life into the world.
This pregnancy fact can have a very real effect on your day-to-day life, so be prepared for when it happens and try not to get frustrated with yourself. You are growing a baby, after all!
5) Breast Size May Change Several Times
One pregnancy fact you’re probably familiar with is that your breasts will change size during pregnancy. Your body is preparing to provide food for your newborn, so this comes as no surprise.
But did you know that your breasts may change size several times during your pregnancy?
And it won’t just be in the “getting bigger” direction. Yes, they may get bigger at first, but then they may get smaller and then bigger again over the course of several months.
This happens (even after you give birth) because your body is adapting to the new demands a growing baby imposes.
Invest in an adjustable maternity bra and a bust firming serum, and you’ll be better prepared to roll with the changes you experience during pregnancy.
6) Your Baby Tastes The Food You Eat
Certain strong flavors (think garlic and heavy spice) pass through the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord into your baby’s body. When you eat enough of those foods, your baby can actually taste the flavors!
So, if you eat a lot of strong, intense foods — like carrot juice or anchovy and garlic pizza, for example — your baby may develop a taste for those flavors after they’re born.
7) You May Lactate When You Hear A Baby Cry
One of the most surprising pregnancy facts that has become the source of both consternation and amusement is that expecting women can lactate when they hear a baby cry — even if it’s not their own!
It may seem strange but, again, it’s your body preparing to give your little one the nutrition they need when they need it.
Think about it this way. Babies cry for two reasons: they’re hungry or they’re uncomfortable.
You can usually alleviate the discomfort by changing their diaper, picking them up, or rocking them gently. But you can only satiate their hunger by feeding them.
The direct connection between crying and hunger means that your body will respond automatically when you hear the telltale sound.
8) By Age 30, You Have A 20% Chance Of Conceiving
A lot of variables affect whether or not you can get pregnant, and it certainly doesn’t happen every time you try.
You have a higher chance of getting pregnant in your twenties, but by the time you turn 30, that chance decreases to 20%.
It’s important to understand that this surprising pregnancy fact is a combination of your and your partner’s genetics — it’s not any one person’s “fault.”
From a woman’s perspective, as you age, your body is less equipped to deal with the stress and strain of having a baby. It’s really no stretch of the imagination, then, that your chances of getting pregnant go down as you age.
In fact, by the time you turn 40, your chances of conceiving decrease to just 5%!
9) Estrogen Production Increases During Pregnancy
The fuel for all of the wonderful changes you experience during pregnancy — including growing an extra organ (the placenta) — is the hormone estrogen.
We’ve all probably heard, among other pregnancy facts, that estrogen production increases during pregnancy. But do you know just how big that increase is?
At full term (meaning after about nine months), a pregnant woman will produce more estrogen in one day than a non-pregnant woman will in three years.
10) Babies Try To Cry In The Womb
The instinct to cry may develop earlier in your baby’s life span than you might think. Yes, babies cry almost immediately after birth, but did you know they try to cry in the womb, too?
In one study, scientists and doctors monitored mid-term babies with an ultrasound and watched their reaction to sounds played on the mother’s belly.
If the sounds were loud enough, the baby would “jump” as though startled and then open their mouths as if trying to make crying noises — which they can’t actually do in the womb because their vocal cords won’t vibrate due to the amniotic fluid.
Regardless, it’s an interesting pregnancy fact that illustrates the wonder of the human body!
Pregnancy Facts And Mustela
We can’t help you deal with the strange cravings or the inevitable pregnancy brain, but we can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin no matter which pregnancy facts you're facing — both during pregnancy and after.
One of the best ways to minimize the appearance of stretch marks over time (and feel like your old self despite the changes!) is to protect your skin through each maternity stage with Mustela’s full line of clinically proven skincare products.
Mustela’s Maternity collection is safe for both you and your baby and is designed to address key pregnancy skincare concerns and keep your skin moisturized, healthy, and comfortable.
With solutions like our Stretch Marks Cream, Body Firming Gel, and Nursing Comfort Balm, you’re sure to find a product to get you through any skin change that comes your way — surprise or no surprise!