Body, Beauty, and Baby
6. Your complexion may improve.
While some pregnant women battle acne, many others, like me, reap benefits: "Moms-to-be who have better skin can thank an increase in hormones for their smoother complexion," says Ranella Hirsch, MD, vice president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery. And what about the radiance I experienced? "The rosy glow you can get is caused by an increase in blood volume in your body while you're pregnant, which means the skin gets more oxygen and circulation."
7. Your breasts get bigger.
For those of us born with A and B cups, pregnancy is a chance to see how the other half lives. "I loved my bigger chest," says Jeanine Boiko, a mother from Levittown, New York. "I'm not naturally well endowed, so it was nice to have some cleavage during and shortly after giving birth to my son." This extra volume is caused by an increase in total body water and extra pounds, and by your breast tissue growing as it prepares to hold milk once your little one arrives.
8. Good hair (and nail) days abound.
"When you're pregnant, everything in your body is growing more quickly due to increased hormone levels, and that includes your nails and hair," says Dr. Hirsch. Plus you lose fewer hairs each day when you're expecting, which makes your tresses appear thicker and fuller. What's more, formerly thin or brittle nails may actually get stronger. That's what happened to Mara Stern. "My nails never looked better than during my second pregnancy," says this mother of two from Boca Raton, Florida. "I didn't even need to wear polish or get manicures."
9. Sex can be better.
Though sexual desire during pregnancy varies for each woman, 31 percent of women report a libido lift, according to an americanbaby.com poll. One reason is the increased blood flow to the pelvic area (also called engorgement) that some women say boosts their sexual response and makes sex more satisfying. This is especially true during the second trimester. A bonus: This heightened sensitivity ups the chance of having an orgasm. Pregnancy also causes an increase in vaginal secretions, and this boost in lubrication may make intercourse more comfortable.
10. You've got a secret.
There's nothing quite as exciting as walking around, not yet looking pregnant but knowing that you've got a little person growing inside of you. "When I was pregnant with my first child, I could be standing in line at the grocery store, grabbing a smoothie, or talking with the UPS delivery person, and a wave of happiness would wash over me and make me smile," says Vicki Stern-Brown, a mother of two from Atlanta. "No one else knew why I was smiling, but it was an exciting, happy, giddy kind of secret that's really like nothing else."
Freelance writer Michele Bender lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, February 2007.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.