Menu

5 amazing ways baby is changing your life already: body, mind + soul

1. You’re making space for baby—literally.

5 amazing ways baby is changing your life already: body, mind + soul

From the moment baby implants in your womb (and maybe before), she’s had a place in your heart.


By now you know that you don’t have to give birth to already become a mother—pregnancy itself transforms you into the woman you need to be for your child. The science of how baby changes you is pretty mind-blowing.

Here are 5 ways your baby changes your life even before she is born.

1. You’re making space for baby.

How a woman�s internal organs move when she�s pregnant

When pregnant, your internal organs quite literally shift to make space for your baby to thrive. In this interactive tool developed by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, you can see how baby forces your stomach and intestines (not to mention your womb) to shift upwards during the nine months in which she resides inside you.

FEATURED VIDEO

You are literally transforming from within.

2. You contain multitudes.

A photo posted by Danielle (@daniellerbevens) on

One of the most amazing parts of pregnancy is knowing there are two people inside of your one body. But there’s new evidence that baby’s imprint upon your body is permanent: While pregnant, your baby’s DNA is already floating through your bloodstream—in fact, its presence is one way your doctor can find out about baby’s genetic conditions (and gender!) through bloodwork.

But baby’s pregnancy DNA in your blood is just the beginning. Recent research shows that for some women, the DNA their babies transfer to them during pregnancy can last a lifetime—altering a mother’s brain and body for decades.

One study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found 50- to 64-year-old women with the fetal DNA of previous pregnancies in their bodies. These women were much less likely to die from diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease compared to women without any fetal DNA present.

The Atlantic notes:

“Scientists don’t know for certain what biological mechanisms cause these findings, but past research suggests microchimerism [the presence of DNA from others] may boost immune surveillance—that is, the body’s ability to recognize and destroy pathogens and cells that might become cancerous—and also play a role in the repair of damaged tissue, helping form new blood vessels to heal wounds. Microchimerism is also associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. These fetal cells migrate all over a mother’s body, becoming part of the heart, the brain, and blood—and fascinating scientist and artists alike.”

See? Having babies is good for you!

3. You stretch.

A photo posted by Maritha Mae (@marithamae) on

The majority of women who get pregnant will develop stretch marks over the course of their pregnancies. (Psst—want to prevent them? Slowing down your weight gain is the main way you can avoid stretch marks, explains dermatologist Rosy Chattha, MD.)

The stretching of pregnancy is a theme you’re likely to revisit in the coming years, as baby stretches you in other ways, like teaching you to function on less sleep, getting by on less money and bringing you more joy than you ever imagined possible.

Baby is making way. Let the great stretch begin.

4. Your mind adjusts.

“Even before a woman gives birth, pregnancy tinkers with the very structure of her brain,” the Atlantic notes. Eighty percent of pregnant women experience increased forgetfulness, Dr. Claudia Aguirre, a neuroscientist and mind-body expert, explains. Whether due to a flood of hormones, a psychological shift or some other pregnancy-related factor, there’s no doubt that pregnancy brain is a condition that many women recognize. So all that fogginess and “baby brain” might just be your mind getting ready for the challenges ahead.

5. Your heart is working overtime.

You know that whole thing about motherhood meaning your heart walks around outside your chest? While not technically true, the science of how your heart adjusts to the demands of pregnancy is pretty impressive.

Here’s how the Cleveland Clinic explains it:

“During the first trimester, the amount of blood in the body increases by 40 to 50 percent and remains high. During pregnancy, the output [amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute] increases by 30 to 40 percent because of the increase in blood volume. It is normal for the heart rate to increase by 10 to 15 beats per minute during pregnancy.” 

It’s official: Baby has already changed you. For good. ❤️

Join Motherly

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

Keep reading Show less
News
Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

FEATURED VIDEO

"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

Keep reading Show less
News