The human body never fails to amaze us, and what it does during pregnancy is no exception. One of the most interesting things about being pregnant is that our organs move during pregnancy!
We are surrounded by information on how the baby grows from week to week. We all hear of the infamous pregnancy hormones. We can see our skin stretching. We pay attention to every detail of our baby’s growth.
But we often overlook what’s going on with our own bodies. To make space for the little bun, our organs move during pregnancy and they move again after birth.
It all starts with the uterus which enlarges and pushes out of the pelvic cavity. This gets the whole process going. Eventually, the body rearranges vital organs such as the stomach, liver, and intestines.
Somewhere in the second trimester, the uterus gets close to the rib cage. Does this explain the growing discomfort? The all too familiar heartburns, indigestion, and difficulty sleeping?
Have you ever wondered how it looks when our organs move during pregnancy? The ultrasound gives us a nice picture of how our baby is developing every week but wouldn’t it be interesting to see what’s going on inside our bodies as well?
If the sound of organs shifting and rearranging has piqued your curiosity, then you should explore this really interesting interactive tool by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It gives you a week by week visual guide to how your organs move during pregnancy.
It may sound a little terrifying to think of organs shifting around but do bear in mind that this occurs gradually and over the course of nine months. So let’s have a look at what’s going on inside.
By the end of the first trimester, the uterus pushes the intestines together to make more space!
This interactive gif image shows how somewhere between the fifth to the eighth week, your bladder is already compressed to a much smaller size than at the point of conception. Depending on how your organs move during pregnancy, you might find yourself rushing to the ladies every now and then!
By the end of the first trimester, your baby bump might start showing up. You are likely to have gained anywhere between 1.5 to 5 pounds.
Your uterus is pushing your intestines together to make more room for the growing baby. This continues to happen throughout the pregnancy. This is exactly why by the end of your pregnancy, eating a full meal becomes so difficult.
Not only do your organs move during pregnancy, your heart rate and blood volume also increase. The lungs do not function as they usually do either. The constriction explains why you find yourself constantly out of breath during pregnancy.
The kidneys too are working on overdrive. From processing just the mother’s waste, they now have to handle the fetus’ waste as well.
Your uterus would have expanded until your navel by week 21!
It’s incredibly interesting how your organs move during pregnancy as shown by this creative diagram. By the time you hit the halfway mark, your uterus would have extended above your navel.
The uterus continues expanding upwards. This causes your stomach to move upward, on the same level of your intestines.
Again, does this explain the much-dreaded heartburn that almost every pregnant woman is plagued with?
By week 25, the sides of your abdomen appear bigger. All thanks to how organs move during pregnancy. Additionally, you may have hemorrhoids caused by the increased blood flow. All the changes happening inside your body can also cause constipation, indigestion, and heartburn.
Don’t forget the skin. All the stretching causes your skin to change. You may discover the appearance of stretch marks or those infamous varicose veins.
The third trimester is when things get really uncomfortable!
Third trimester, here’s where all the fun starts. Aches, pain, and discomfort hit the peak. Organs move during pregnancy, and they move the most at this stage as illustrated by this interactive diagram. By the beginning of the third trimester, your baby is pushing upward on your rib cage.
By week 30, your uterus is approximately four inches above your navel. By week 34, your uterus hardens and pushes against your lower ribs. Your rib cage feels so sore it probably ‘burns’.
The abdomen stretches and causes your navel to push out. All the pressure causes existing indigestion and heartburn to worsen. Stretching of the uterine muscle might cause you to feel pains down the sides of your abdomen, almost like stitches.
Your stomach and intestines move up a couple of inches. This causes your liver and lungs to squeeze and this explains why you are almost always out of breath!
This interactive tool also tracks the growth of your placenta. Your body creates this organ solely for the pregnancy. An interesting fact is that the placenta is bigger than your baby in the first trimester. Things settle down by the second trimester, and the placenta’s growth is highly similar to your baby’s growth.
Things start to revert after you’ve given birth.
Not only do organs move during pregnancy, but they also continue moving after you give birth. Things have to go back to normal. Gradually, organs take on their original shapes and sizes. They continue to shift to their original position. This diagram also tracks your uterus shrinking to its original size.
Although you don’t see any of it, there’s a tremendous amount of change taking place right within you. This interactive tool gives you a thorough visual guide to understanding all of these changes.
Now that you’ve seen it all, you finally get the picture, in every sense of the word. All the discomfort of pregnancy results from your growing baby and how your organs move during pregnancy to accommodate your baby. Hopefully, that makes you a little more forgiving to those vile pregnancy symptoms.
The wonders of nature never cease to amaze us, do they?
Image’s credit: The Bump
References: What To Expect, WebMD