A Precise Timeline of How Your Body Changes During Pregnancy

Amanda Montell
PHOTO:

Freddie Harrel

They say you can never really understand what it's like to be pregnant until you go through it yourself. Part of this is because of just how many bizarre changes happen to your body during pregnancy, many of which aren't discussed in everyday conversation. "I think women do speak freely about many of the bodily changes of pregnancy—showing, gaining weight, swollen feet—but there are so many others that women don't feel comfortable speaking about because they're embarrassed," says Sara Twogood, MD, an OB/GYN at the University of Southern California and founder of the postpartum care package service Après Push. "Women don't want to admit that they have so much vaginal discharge that they keep thinking they broke their water (happens all the time). They don't want to admit to urinary incontinence," she says.

"Society has often idealised a culture that embraces motherhood; however, they cannot tolerate the negative associations that come with the journey of pregnancy and postpartum stages," explains Jessica A. Shepherd, MD, an OB/GYN, Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and SweetSpot Labs Expert. When women don't feel as though they're allowed to speak openly about these issues, that leaves everyone in the dark. I know I am personally mystified by the pregnancy process (and desperate to learn more before I go through it myself).

So to get the honest truth about what bodily changes happen during pregnancy, we grilled Twogood, Shepherd, and Fahimeh Sasan, MD, OB/GYN at Mount Sinai and Consultant Medical Doctor at Progyny. "Every pregnant woman experiences different body changes," Sasan reminds us. So remember that while the following changes are common, they don't happen to everyone. Keep scrolling to learn about 16 crazy changes that can happen to your body during pregnancy!

Next up, read one editor's reviews of five different stretch mark creams.

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