What images pop up in your brain when we mention the word pregnancy? Usually, the pictures that you can associate with are the ones that you have seen around you or heard of from friends and relatives. Are these the images of women with swollen feet, nauseating, and walking like penguins?
Pregnancy is that time in a woman’s life when her body goes through incredible changes. It grows and changes with every minute and so does the fetus growing inside it. Often, a lot of these changes are not experienced by everyone. Each pregnancy is different for every woman and so are the changes that they experience. In order to provide you with a glimpse of this unique world of nascent motherhood, we have decided to share a few rarely known but extremely strange facts about pregnancy and newborns with you. Let’s read along.
1. It’s Possible To Be Pregnant For As Long As A Year
Yes, you read that right. On an average, a pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks or 280 days. But this number can even go on the higher side. Beulah Hunter, a 25-year old resident of Los Angeles is known as the medical marvel for having more than a year-long (375 days) pregnancy. Beulah delivered her daughter, Penny Diana Hunter, in 1945 after growing her in her womb for almost over a year (1). This happened because the growth of the fetus was unusually slow in her case. However, the baby turned out to be perfectly healthy.
2. Babies Swim In And Drink Their Own Waste
Umm, as stomach-churning as this fact sounds, it is true. In the second half of a pregnancy, when the kidney development of the fetus is completed, it starts to urinate frequently, and since that waste cannot go out, it remains contained in the amniotic sac, which is the residence of the fetus (2). The amniotic fluid that the fetus sometimes drinks actually contains the waste.
3. A Baby’s First Cry Might Happen In The Uterus
As magical as it is to hear the sound of the baby to mark its arrival into the world, it might not exactly be the first time that he or she has done that. Babies can cry even when they are in the womb. They develop this ability in the third trimester of the pregnancy; doctors have observed them displaying behavior associated with crying, such as opening their mouths, taking irregular breaths, etc., while being in the womb (3).
4. The Newborns Can Also Have Breasts
If you haven’t noticed, a newborn baby has tiny lumps on his chest that resemble breasts, and it happens even if the newborn is a boy. Don’t worry, this is not a defect. It happens because the babies absorb estrogen from their moms and the lumps usually disappear after some time (4).
5. The Mother’s Uterus Can Expand A Lot
An expecting mother’s uterus can increase up to 500 times its original size. The uterus operates like a balloon during a pregnancy, expanding to accommodate the stretching muscles of the abdomen. However, the good news is that it usually goes back to its original size in about 6 weeks.
6. Babies Can Taste The Food Their Mom’s Have
A baby, while still in the womb, can taste and smell food being consumed by the mother. This can even lead to the baby developing a particular fondness or dislike for particular foods. So while a lot of our attitudes regarding food are acquired, this learning begins even before we are born (5).
7. Pregnancy Can Affect Skin Complexion Too
A lot of new mothers experience a pigmentation problem while going through their pregnancy. Spots or blemishes appear on their faces, covering areas like chin, eyes, cheekbones, nose, etc. The color of these blemishes depends on the skin tone of the mother (6).
8. Your Fingerprints Are Formed Much Before You Are Born
Fingerprints which work as unique identifiers for every human are actually formed in the uterus. A baby’s fingerprints are formed between 10th and 19th weeks of pregnancy and once formed, they remain the same during his/her entire life (7).
9. Acid Reflux During Pregnancy Can Result In The Baby Having More Hair
You know the old wives’ tale that says that if a pregnant woman experiences a lot of heartburn during her pregnancy, she is more likely to give birth to a baby with a head full of hair. Well, it actually might have some truth to it. According to researchers, a higher level of estrogen and progesterone which are responsible for stimulating hair growth also relax the esophagus, which causes heartburn (8).
Aren’t these facts amazing? While we are aware that childbirth and pregnancy are miracles of nature, reading these facts make you appreciate them all the more. Do you know of any other strange facts associated with pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below.
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