"You go up a shoe size" and 8 other surprising facts about pregnancy
The things nobody tells you about growing a bump...
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1. Your heart gets bigger

When you become a mom – and for some this is from the second they see that second line – your heart starts to feel fuller, heavier, perhaps even more whole. But did you know it’s not all in your head?

Once you have a bun in the oven your heart has to work a lot harder, and therefore your heart grows. It also beats faster due to the increased volume of blood in your body, which alone increases by 40 to 50 percent.

2. Your hair falls out after you give birth

Sorry, moms-to-be, but your hair doesn’t actually get thicker when you’re pregnant and you won’t be cast in any shampoo ads anytime soon.

What really happens is that higher levels of oestrogen actually prevent your hair from shedding at its normal rate and then, just when you think things are starting to normalise, it’ll start to fall out when your baby is about four months old (but only enough for you to notice on your pillow or in your hairbrush).

Read: Are you ashamed of your post-birth body?

3. You go up a shoe size

You might be tempted to splurge on new shoes when you’re pregnant because, “at least those will still fit”. The truth is, they probably won’t and you have the hormone relaxin to thank for this. Relaxin loosens the ligaments in your feet and, together with your newly increased body weight, flattens your arches and adds to your foot’s width and length.

4. Your partner starts going

Has your partner been a bit tired, moody and peckish lately? Perhaps even starting to show a little bulge of his own?

Jokes aside, men can experience pregnancy symptoms from the end of the first trimester right until they (oh wait, we mean you) give birth and it even has a name: couvade syndrome.

Also read: Anaemia and iron deficiency in pregnancy

5. Your sex drive soars

If you had to have sex every second day for a year to fall pregnant, but took comfort in the fact that at least you’d be off the hook for the duration of your pregnancy, you (and your partner, if he’s not feeling too headachy) could be quite pleasantly surprised.

Why? Because of the all the extra blood flow to your, erm, nether region, it’s likely your libido could increase dramatically.

6. No such thing as morning sickness

The bad news is, it’s actually all day sickness (and is often worse at night). It starts at six weeks when your pregnancy hormones kick in. Once you hit the second trimester and the placenta takes over, it usually subsides – but not always.

7. You're not actually eating for two

While it’s fine to indulge in that second helping occasionally, you shouldn’t actually eat for two. If you started your pregnancy with a healthy weight and BMI, then you should only eat an extra 1200 kilojoules a day. Not fair, now, is it?

Interesting read: Pregnancy sex 101

8. People will be so nice to you

You’ll be bumped to the front of the queue. Everyone will ask you how you are and you’ll be showered with gifts for both you and baby.

But then, after the “honeymoon” period is over, your baby will start to scream and you’ll probably start to see a lot less of everyone. Don’t take it personally – the bubble has to pop at some point and together with your newfound mommy friends, you’ll find your groove. Eventually.

9. If you suffer organ damage, your baby sends stem cells to repair the organ damage

You love your baby unconditionally and more than words could ever describe. How very special then, that the miracle growing inside of you loves you just as much, and would do anything for you too.

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