Let's start with the changes I've noticed so far.
- Boobs. I had to buy new sports bras almost immediately, or I have to double up. Why is that the first noticeable change? I don't know. My current theory is it's an incentive for the baby daddy to stick around a while longer.
- GI tract. Hormones relax smooth muscle tissue, including the GI tract. This is good in that I am more efficient at absorbing nutrients from my food than general population. (Ha!) This is bad in that it can create all kinds of GI issues: gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc. I have gone mostly gluten free, which has helped. I also had to cut out raw carrots and celery - they just take too damn long to digest. Cooked veggies and most raw ones are fine, it's just raw fibrous veggies I can't handle.
- Center of gravity. I noticed a few weeks ago that my center of gravity has shifted. I notice it when picking things up and swimming the most. I'm sure eventually it will affect cycling as well.
- Tendons and ligaments. Those same hormones that relax GI muscles also relax tendons and ligaments. This is good and necessary for baby to eventually make his/her debut. This is bad in that my joints are less stable than normal. I took a funny step last weekend and I think I mildly sprained my ankle. That was pathetic. I'm also blaming loose tendons and ligaments for my feet. They're not fat, but my Hatori's just don't fit like normal and my toes are hitting the end. They've been retired for the summer.
- Shortness of breath. This one I find pretty amazing. When you're pregnant, your blood increases by 50%. 50%! That's crazy! In fact, of the weight that women put on during pregnancy, 4lb is due to blood increase (2lb due to boob increase, see above). But in the first few months, the additional blood is plasma. There is additional volume but no additional red blood cells which carry oxygen. My heart pumps harder to move more blood to get the same amount of oxygen to cells. That is why I sound like a fat person going up the stairs. My heart is increasing in size to accommodate all this additional blood and eventually red blood cell production will catch up to the plasma. Until then, don't mind my heavy breathing. Headaches, light headed, dizziness are all additional side effects. I like to think of it as 9 months of simulated high-altitude training.