Pregnancy is an important and truly amazing part of a species. The human pregnancy is no different in its ability to mesmerize us with the development of an infant, and the more we learn about it, the more we can understand why it is so important that society supports women and their partners during the growth of a fetus.
In this article, we will take a look at mesmerizing facts about pregnancy. Let's see how many of these crazy pregnancy facts you already knew!
1. Getting Pregnant While Pregnant
In some very rare cases, a woman can get pregnant while she is already pregnant. This is a very rare condition known as 'superfetation'. It happens when the uterus releases another egg even though a pregnancy already exists. In this case, the second fetus is considered a twin of the first one, and they continue to develop together.
Superfetation is likely to happen in the early weeks of an already existing pregnancy. Both babies will be born on the same day, although one baby will be a few weeks younger than the first one.
2. The Fetus Can Help Repair Mother's Damaged Organ
The bond between a mother and her baby is exceptionally strong. But did you know that the fetus could actually save a mother's life? Research has shown that if a mother were to suffer damage to one of her vital organs, for example, the fetus would help to repair it.
This means that if a mother were to have a heart attack or a kidney failure during her pregnancy, the fetus would actually send stem cells to help heal the problem. This is an amazing ability for such a small being in the mother's belly.
3. Breastfeeding Helps Shrink the Uterus
Breastfeeding after birth is very important for the development of the baby. However, breastfeeding also does a lot to help the mother's body recover from both the pregnancy and the process of giving birth. Specifically, it is the hormones in the breast milk that do this amazing work to help the mother.
After childbirth, the body works to return to normal as soon as possible. The uterus must also shrink down to its normal size. The hormones found inside breast milk are the ones that help guide the uterus back to its original size prior to the pregnancy.
4. Fake Pregnancy
There have been cases reported where a woman does not know that she is pregnant until it is time to give birth. However, there is also a reversed condition called Pseudocyesis. If this happens, the body exhibits symptoms of a pregnancy even though the woman is not actually pregnant.
This includes a growing stomach, sickness, cravings, and hormonal changes. This is often the result of the body trying to fight a different problem whose symptoms are similar to a pregnancy. Luckily, doctors are able to treat these so-called 'phantom pregnancies'.
5. A Woman Could Get Fired for Being Pregnant
Even today, there are some places and businesses that have no problem firing a woman just because she is pregnant. The excuse is often that her time spent away from work will negatively influence the company, and so she is better off being fired and then looking for another job after the baby comes.
In fact, prior to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, it was completely legal to fire a pregnant woman. Luckily, times are changing, but there is still a lot that we can do to improve the work life of both partners during and after a pregnancy.
6. The Amount of Blood Doubles
Almost as soon as a pregnancy starts, the body begins to produce more blood and plasma than it normally would. This is a crucial process, which helps the body prepare for the pregnancy and any possible negative effects or illnesses that might occur in the middle of it.
More blood also means more blood flow, which helps the heart pump enough oxygen both for the mother and for the child. An increased amount of blood in the body is crucial for ensuring that the fetus is healthy and continues to grow.
7. Pregnant Women Have Super Shiny Hair
Although there are a number of uncomfortable things that happen during pregnancy, there are also many great things that happen. One of the most loved things that happen to a woman's hair is that it becomes shinier.
Many women have reported that they experience shiny and thick hair during their pregnancy, which is no surprise because their new hormone levels are what makes the hair look and feel great.
8. Pregnancy Memory Impairment
During pregnancy, a strange thing happens that many women report on. Slight memory impairment is very frequent at different stages of the pregnancy. Although the loss of memory is not about serious things, it can be quite annoying. For example, forgetting to take things with you, forgetting what you were going to do, or forgetting that you said something.
Interestingly, researchers have not yet discovered why this happens or how to fix it. It's as mysterious as you can imagine. But luckily, the problem goes away as the woman reaches the end of her pregnancy.
9. Increased Sex Drive
Not many women talk about this but it's a very common side effect of being pregnant. Many women feel sexually charged due to increased libido during pregnancy. This may happen during the first and second trimester. This is a beautiful change and every woman should embrace it. So, talk to your partner about your feelings and make the most of this special moment.
10. Feet May Grow, and Stay that Way!
During pregnancy, the body releases a hormone known as 'relaxin'. Its purpose is to relax and spread the joints all over the body, including the feet. This is to help the woman feel more comfortable as the stomach grows and to experience less pain in the joints.
However, the downside of this hormone is that women are likely to go up a shoe size as a result. Also, once the foot grows, it may not shrink back to its normal size. This is not a problem for later in life, but it does mean that there will likely be a shoe shopping spree after the pregnancy.
11. Eating For Two!
The amount of food that a pregnant woman should eat isn't always reported accurately. Often, women are told that they should be eating for two people. However, this is not the case. Eating too much will make the mother gain unnecessary weight and make the pregnancy even more difficult on her body.
But, it is true that a pregnant woman should eat a little more than usual. This often means that just 300 extra calories are enough to cover the nutritional needs of the pregnancy.
12. Stretch Marks May Occur Around The Breasts Too
Everyone knows that stretch marks occur on the stomach area during pregnancy but not many people know that the same is likely to happen to the breasts as well.
Due to hormonal changes and an increase in blood flow, pregnant women tend to have bigger breasts starting in the second month of pregnancy, and the size of the breasts keeps increasing throughout the pregnancy.
13. The Placenta Can Be Taken Home
The placenta is a temporary organ that forms during a pregnancy and comes out during childbirth. It has a very important function during the pregnancy, because it allows the baby to receive final nutrients to help it grow and it also releases toxins. However, some women actually decide to take their own placenta home.
Some women decide to dehydrate the placenta and turn it into pills, which they then take because it supposedly improves lactation. This is a celebrity fad that has really grown in popularity. However, it is important to note that there is really no scientific research to support this.
14. A Baby in the Womb Can See, Hear, and Feel
A baby is a lot more active in the belly than we realize. The baby doesn't just sleep and sometimes move around. In fact, it is able to see, hear, and feel while in the womb, making it a very excited and curious being.
This is why it is so important for mothers to actually talk to their child and to help the baby become more familiar with the mother's voice. This process helps ease the baby's ability to adapt to the world when it arrives.
15. A Uterus the Size of a Watermelon
The uterus has a lot of work to do when it comes to pregnancy. Especially in terms of its expansion. Prior to pregnancy, the uterus is usually the size of an apple.
However, during the highest point of a pregnancy, the uterus will expand to the size of a watermelon. What's even more amazing is that, after the baby is born, the uterus will then slowly shrink back to its original size. This is where breastfeeding comes in to really help in the process.
16. Babies Can Taste Food in the Womb
One very cute but somewhat surprising fact about pregnancies is that babies can actually taste the food that their mothers are eating!
This is why mothers always try to eat the best food possible during their pregnancy. In fact, some research has shown that babies can develop a like and dislike for certain foods during this period, as well as even a sugar addiction if the mother eats too much-refined sugar during pregnancy.
17. A Woman's Vital Organs Can Move During Pregnancy
It's no surprise that a baby takes up a lot of room in a woman's body. The more the baby grows, the more everything else in the body needs to move around in order to make room for the fetus to grow properly and with as much room around it as possible.
Almost every organ in the mother's body will have to shift from its usual position in order to produce more space. This includes the bladder, the intestines, the stomach, etc. This is why some mothers have to pee often, or why others are frequently out of breath.
18. A Baby Can Be Born with a Tooth
Usually, babies are born without any teeth. This is completely normal and the teeth will start to grow as the baby grows. However, in some cases, a baby can be born with a tooth, which is adorable!
There is nothing wrong if this happens, it just so happened that the tooth was able to develop inside the womb. If this does happen, parents are advised to seek advice from their pediatrician to ensure that the natal tooth will not cause any problems for the baby or the mother.
19. Central Africa Has the Most Twins
Twin babies are born all over the world, but the country with the most twins is Benin in Central Africa. Their twin rate is 27.9 twins per 1,000 births, which is more than anywhere else in the world. Researchers are working to understand the cause of so many twin babies.
20. A Baby Can Cry in the Womb
You wouldn't know it, but a baby is very active with its emotions while still in the womb. In fact, it is able to cry in the womb if it finds something displeasing or if it feels any discomfort. As is the case when they are born, babies are not yet able to properly express their feelings at such a young age.
As the fetus develops and it becomes conscious of its ability to feel, it will be able to feel occasional discomfort and even a sense of tightness when it reaches the period when the mother is about to give birth. The baby will cry in these moments to help deal with the issue.
21. Father Of The Unborn Can Feel Pregnant Too
Couples experience pregnancies in different ways, but most try to ensure that they do everything right and that they are both involved throughout the entire process of pregnancy and even birth. However, one of the most unique syndromes that can occur during pregnancy is Couvade Syndrome.
Also known as a sympathetic pregnancy, this occurs when the partner of the pregnant woman experiences many of the same symptoms during her pregnancy. This includes cravings, weight gain, and even morning sickness.
22. A Lot of Hair Falls Out After Birth
One of the great things that women love about their pregnancy is that their hair becomes thicker. They notice a serious increase in the volume of their hair, which is always a good thing. Unfortunately, a few months after childbirth the hair starts to fall out in fairly large amounts, causing shock.
The reason why hair is thicker during pregnancy is because of the growth of estrogen. The hormone increases the growth length of hair follicles, so hair doesn't fall out as often as it normally would. When the hormone levels go back to normal, so does hair growth. Nothing to worry about, but definitely a shock if you're not expecting it.
23. Kindeys Become Bigger
Because the kidneys are filters for toxins and waste products, with a baby inside and more blood flow pumping through the body, they need to increase in size in order to be able to handle the extra work. Their volume will increase by about 30%, and decrease back to normal after the baby is born.
24. The Uterus Practices for Birth
Although women often attend classes to help them with their pregnancy and of course with child birth, the body has its own way to practice and prepare for the event. Even if the mother were to do nothing, when the date of birth begins to approach, the uterus begins to practice.
It does this with the help of Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are meant to strengthen the uterus for child birth, and also to prepare the cervix. They are also good practice for the mother, so that she can get used to the feeling of contractions before the real ones start.
25. Milk Isn't the First Thing to Come Out When Breastfeeding
Technically, pure breast milk is not what the body will produce for the first few days after child birth. Instead, the mother will feed the baby with what is known as 'colustrum'. The body is very careful to produce this for the first few days because it is very important for the baby.
This milk is very high in carbohydrates, antibodies, and proteins. It will greatly help the baby grow, develop an immune system, and have enough energy to explore the world. It also helps to develop the baby's brain and eyes.
26. A Random Baby Crying Can Trigger Lactation
The body prepares for breast milk long before the baby is even born. This is because it needs to be ready for the baby's arrival, and to prepare for enough milk to help feed the baby crucial nutrients from the very start. However, it is not just your own baby that your body will respond to.
When a pregnant woman or a woman who is breastfeeding hears a baby cry, she begins to lactate. The sound of a baby crying automatically causes a feeling of wanting to help the baby and feed it.
27. Moles Can Become Bigger
We've already established that quite a few things get bigger during pregnancy. But this is all part of the process. In this case, moles are likely to increase in size and darken in color during pregnancy. This is, once again, the result of hormones at work. But don't worry, everything goes back to normal after childbirth.
28. The Nose Can Grow In Size Too
Here's another thing that grows during pregnancy, the nose! This may not happen to all women, but if it does, it is often the culprit that causes difficulties in breathing during pregnancy.
This may happen due to the increase of estrogen hormone, making the nose look and feel bigger. In some cases, the woman may experience nose bleeding every now and then. The growth of the nose happens both on the inside and on the outside. But once again, it will all go back to normal once the baby is out.
29. The Pigment of the Skin Changes
Hormones really are out of control during pregnancy. They affect almost every single aspect of a woman's body and make changes that no one asked for. However, this is all because the body is focusing on the fetus and its health, and not so much on how the mother looks during this period.
Hormones can also affect the melanin cells, causing them to change their usual pigment. The most frequent change is one where parts of the body look darker than they used to be. Freckles, stains, and patches may occur that were not present before. It goes back to normal after birth, luckily.
30. Strange Cravings!
Pregnant women are known for having strange cravings during their pregnancy. These cravings usually have to do with ice cream, pickles, specific foods, or specific flavors. However, in some cases, pregnant women develop a craving for very strange items.
This is the rare condition known as "Pica". With this disorder, women are known to crave items that are not actually food. This includes things like ice, hair, metal, and paper. The name comes from the Latin name for the bird Magpie, which is known to eat anything.
31. The First Woman to Survive a C-Section
The first recorded woman to survive a C-section was in the 16th-century in Switzerland. Reportedly, the women's husband performed the surgery who happened to be a pig castrator.
32. Contractions Are A Massive Force
Did you know just how powerful contractions actually are? The uterus undergoes a lot of pressure during birth in order to push the baby out of the mother's body and into the real world and contractions actually help prepare her for the actual birth. In fact, per square foot, the uterus experiences 397 pounds of pressure with every contraction.
33. Women Glow From The Inside
Pregnant women are often told that they have a certain glow about them when they are pregnant. Although it may seem like people are saying nice things to make the woman feel better, there is no need to lie to the woman because pregnant women do GLOW from the inside!
There is a physiological basis for this new beauty glow that all expecting mothers have. The face and skin become dewy, brighter and clearer, and more hydrated than it used to be before. Once again, hormones have a lot to do with this.
34. Pregnancy Denial
The change in hormone levels during pregnancy is so extreme that some women react very differently to being pregnant than others. In fact, in some rare cases women will actually deny that they are pregnant, a condition which is known as 'pregnancy denial'.
In most cases, the would-be mom comes to terms with the reality of the situation however, there are cases wherein the denial continues all the way to delivery.
35. Postpartum Depression is a Real Thing
Not enough is being said about the seriousness of postpartum depression. Wrongly, it is often thought as something that the woman can control, and some women are even blamed for making everything up. But like any other depression, postpartum depression is serious and damaging for the woman's health.
In the US, about 20% of women who give birth suffer from postpartum depression, and these are only numbers for women who give birth. It doesn't include cases of miscarriages and stillborn babies.
36. Hospital Birth VS Home Birth
Where a baby is born is now a decision that can be made by the parents. Most women still choose to give birth in a hospital because of safety reasons. Understandably, if something goes wrong, it will be much easier to deal with an emergency if the woman is already in a hospital.
But the number of women who make these choices is very different across the world. For example, only 1% of women in America choose to have their babies at home. On the contrary, about 30% of Dutch women choose to have their babies at home.
37. Babies Aren't Always Born on the Exact Due Date
As much as our current science and medicine are able to tell us a lot about a woman's pregnancy and her due date, it seems that babies have their own time when they want to come into the world. It's very unlikely that the baby will be born on the exact predicted due date suggested by the doctors. Less than 10% of babies are born on their exact due date, and about 90% are born within two weeks of their due date.
38. A Heightened Sense of Smell
Pregnant women often experience heightened senses while pregnant. This is probably an evolutionary development to help women be mindful of potential danger that they may face while pregnant.
In particular, women have a heightened sense of smell while they are pregnant. Experts believe that this is a way for women to protect themselves from food that may be harmful for the baby. This heightened sense of smell makes them stay away from any foods which would cause problems to their fetus.
39. Cravings Have A Purpose
Pregnant women are often teased for their cravings, which often have to do with pickles and ice cream. However, this isn't just women wanting food that is not currently available in the kitchen. In fact, there is actually a purpose for their cravings.
Cravings are a body's way of seeking essential nutrients, and in some cases even serotonin. Through cravings, the body looks for ways to make the pregnancy as healthy and comfortable as possible for the mother.
40. Scary Dreams Are Common During Pregnancy
Many researchers have found that dreams during pregnancy can change drastically for many women. Their dreams can become more scary and vivid. Many women reported dreaming of fearful scenarios involving labor, or their future baby. This is again, caused by the change in hormones.
41. Morning Sickness Helps Clear Toxins
Morning sickness is one of the worst parts of pregnancy, and many women have said that it truly makes their day-to-day lives much more difficult. However, it turns out that there is a positive aspect of this difficult pregnancy period.
"Flaxman, a Cornell biology graduate student, says the analysis of hundreds of studies covering tens of thousands of pregnancies suggests that morning sickness and the aversion to potentially harmful foods is the body's way of preserving wellness of the mother at a time when her immune system is naturally suppressed."
42. 4% of Women Are Always Pregnant in the USA
The number of women pregnant in any given country is different from one location to another and also depends on many different variables. It isn't always possible to know the exact number of pregnant women because not every woman reports her pregnancy. However, the number for the USA is more or less accurate.
In the USA, it is reported that about 4% of women are pregnant at any given time. There are about 320 million people in America, of which about half are female. This means that at any given moment, there are about 6.4 million pregnant women.
43. The Pill Reduced Abortion Rates in St. Louis by 75%
Although pregnancy is a wonderful thing for people who want to experience it, not everyone is of the same opinion. Some pregnancies are not planned, occur at a very young age, or are a result of assault. In these cases, women sometimes choose abortion as a way out of pregnancy.
The abortion topic is a sensitive one, but the St. Louis area offered help through free contraception pills. Between 2007 and 2011, more women chose the pill as a method of contraception, which resulted in a drastic decrease in abortion rates by 75%.
44. The First Recorded Pregnancy Test Was In Ancient Egypt
Although it is not entirely clear when the true first pregnancy test was conducted, many reports state that it dates back to Ancient Egypt. Like many of today's pregnancy tests, this one also involved a woman having to pee on something in order for the test to work.
They asked women to pee on a field which contained wheat and barley. If nothing sprouted, the woman was not pregnant. However, if a barley plant appeared, the child would be a boy. Likewise, if a wheat plant appeared, it would be a girl.
45. Hair Everywhere!
We talked about hair getting shinier and thicker during pregnancy, sadly that's the case with hair in every part of the body during this time. Many women even experience growth of hair in unusual places, which may include places they've never had hair before. This may include a little bit of facial hair too. But don't worry, everything goes back to normal once the baby is born.