Pregnancy is truly one of the most fascinating things. It literally changes the human body in order to bring another life into this planet. Throughout the nine months, a woman’s body adjusts to the requirements and needs of the baby that is forming within. While subtle changes are visible, there are many things happening within the body such as organs shifting around, which makes the process a truly remarkable experience. The fetus also goes through remarkable changes throughout the entire process. Here, we are listing some fascinating facts about pregnancy that you may not know.
1. An average woman’s uterus is the size of a peach but during pregnancy, it stretches to the size of a watermelon.
The uterus is a muscular organ that is held in place by strong ligaments. It is extremely elastic and is capable of stretching to about 500 times its pre-pregnancy size. Before pregnancy, it only weighs a few ounces but during pregnancy, it can weigh more than 2 pounds. Once the term is over, it is also capable of returning to its original size. (source)
2. The longest known pregnancy ever recorded lasted for a year and 10 days.
Normal pregnancy lasts around 280 days, but in 1945 an unusual case baffled doctors. When Beulah Hunter, then 25, went to the hospital to give birth to her daughter, Penny Diana, doctors realized that Beulah had been overdue by nearly 100 days. The previous record was 58 days overdue and Beulah broke the record by being pregnant for 375 days instead of the normal 280. While it sounds strange, doctors report that longer pregnancies are common and there have been many cases where women have been carrying for as long as 10 to 11 months. (source)
3. During pregnancy, your heart grows bigger.
During pregnancy, in order to assist the body with the changes, the heart has to work harder. In order to ensure that the fetus receives enough oxygen and nutrients as well to increase the blood flow by 40 to 50%, the heart has to increase its size. (source)
4. The fetus can taste certain foods in the womb.
Studies show that during pregnancy, the foods consumed by the mother are transmitted to the amniotic fluid, which is then absorbed by the fetus. Consequently, this can cause them to develop a preference to certain foods even before they are born or had their first solid food. Strong flavors, especially that of garlic, can pass through amniotic fluid, which can be absorbed by the fetus. In a 2001 study, researchers discovered that mothers who drank carrot juice on a regular basis during pregnancy, gave birth to infants who had a taste for it. (source)
5. The most amount of babies born at once is eight.
On January 26, 2009, Nadya Suleman from California became a world record holder for the most amount of babies born at once. Nadya gave birth to six boys and two girls at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower, California. Nadya, who was born in Fullerton, California, is known as the Octomom throughout the world. For giving birth to octuplets, Nadya was also given a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. (source)
6. The strange cravings during pregnancy is caused by hormonal changes that disrupt the taste and smell receptors.
If you or your partner has been pregnant, then you know that unusual desire to eat foods such as pickles. The uncontrollable desire can be spontaneous and the person’s hunger cannot be satisfied until that particular food has been consumed. Every person experiences the cravings differently as some prefer sugary foods while others may want extremely salty ones. According to Medical News Today, food cravings are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. The cravings are a result of imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, or can be due to endorphins that are released into the body after someone has eaten. (source)
7. Couvade syndrome is a situation that causes your partner to experience the same symptoms as you.
Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy is more of a psychological situation than a condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, upon observing their partners going through pregnancy, healthy men can experience some of the same symptoms, such as nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, appetite changes, respiratory problems, toothaches, leg cramps and backaches. It can also cause changes in sleeping patterns, anxiety levels, depression and cause restlessness. (source)
8. During pregnancy, a woman’s hair can become thicker and shinier; but they also get more body hair.
During pregnancy, the fluctuating hormones can cause hair to become fuller and healthier. Hair will also grow at a faster rate and hair fall will be less. However, it might be surprising to see hair appear in places like the face or back. While this might look and feel strange, the process is completely normal. (source)
9. During pregnancy, if the mother suffers organ damage, the baby in the womb sends stem cells to repair the damaged organ.
During pregnancy, if the mother’s body suffers organ or cell damage, the fetus will send stem cells to repair it. A few years ago, scientists discovered fetal cells in mothers’ brains. This discovery explains why mothers who develop heart weakness during or just after pregnancy recover at a fast rate. The fetal cells migrate from the placenta into the mother’s organs, where the repairing process takes place. (source)
10. Pregnancy can cause a woman’s feet to grow up to one shoe size due to extra fluid and water retention.
Pregnancy is a huge process during which the body produces approximately 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the requirements of the developing fetus. Swelling, while painful, is a normal process that is caused by this additional blood and fluid. It usually occurs on the hands, face, legs, ankles and feet, which is needed to soften the body so it can expand to accommodate the living being inside. (source)