In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Increasing Blood Volume

Your body is one blood making machine
Increasing Blood Volume
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Friday October 11, 2019

At week 25 in your pregnancy, it is clear you are growing a human inside; your uterus is about the size of a basketball, and there is likely no way you can hide it even if you want to. If you could feel the top of the uterus, it would come somewhere between your breasts and belly button.

Increased blood volume can potentially start to cause problems. Thanks to this increased blood volume and swelling, you might begin to experience chronic congestion that conflicts with sleep and regular breathing. The increase can also cause pressure on the nerves in your wrist and may result in carpal tunnel syndrome, numb, tingly fingers, or pain. A splint or wrist brace might relieve some of the symptoms, and the symptoms usually subside after pregnancy is over. You might experience tingling in your legs, or they might feel restless and jumpy. Restless leg syndrome (RLS) could indicate an iron deficiency, so your caregiver may want to check your iron levels to rule it out. They may also decide to prescribe an iron supplement if your levels are low.

More annoying than the tingly fingers and legs can be swollen and itchy veins in your rectum thanks to your heavy uterus sitting on top of it while it is newly full of extra blood. These veins can be very painful and potentially cause rectal bleeding. This problem can worsen with constipation, a common ailment for pregnant women. To avoid hemorrhoids or other related complications, you will want to do your best to avoid becoming constipated. Simple ways to help keep things running smoothly are increasing your water intake and taking in more natural fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If things start to hurt down there, you can try cool ice packs or pads soaked in witch hazel.

On the plus side, one of the perks of pregnancy is the appearance of thick and lustrous hair. Thanks to hormonal changes, the hair that ordinarily would fall out at regular intervals won't be shedding as much as before. This lack of shedding will result in a temporary increase in hair volume and the appearance of rapid growth. This thickening will also subside after pregnancy, but until then enjoy the lovely locks and lack of shedding.

Reference Sources

  1. American Pregnancy Association - Week 25
  1. WebMD - Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 21-25
  1. Mayo Clinic - Fetal development: The 2nd trimester