The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


What physiological challenges does the pregnant woman undergo?

Pregnant women undergo massive physiological changes throughout their pregnancy. There is tremendous hormonal upheaval and an obviously dramatic shift in bodily size and shape. For some women, the bodily changes are sources of pride and excitement. For other women, however, there is fear of the weight gain and of a permanent loss of their figure. In the first trimester of pregnancy, most of the fundamental bodily and neurological structures are laid down. This entails tremendous hormonal surges, which often result in nausea and morning sickness for the mother. Although women have not gained much weight yet, there is often considerable discomfort. In the second trimester, the morning sickness generally resolves and the fetus grows to sufficient size that the mother starts to look pregnant. She starts to “show.” This is also the time of quickening, when the baby starts to kick. In the third trimester, most of the fetal bodily structures are already developed. At this point, the fetus just needs to grow. During this period, women suffer the most discomfort from the changes to their bodily size and shape. They lose a good deal of mobility and often have difficulty sleeping.


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