Pregnancy 101 – Understanding Changes that May Occur

understanding bodily changes during pregnancyPregnancy will induce a number of different changes to your body – and many new mother-to-bes often become confused or worried upon interpreting certain signals or changes. Understanding these bodily changes will ease your mind and help you remain calm. Dr. Torbati offers his valuable insight on what you should expect as a pregnant mother.

Common Pregnancy Changes to the Body

Intensified Food Cravings

This is probably the most commonly experienced bodily change any pregnant woman will face. And researchers have yet to figure out the exact reason why, but theories do exist. Keep in mind, it’s not a bad thing either – so as long as you are keeping a sustainable diet rich with vitamins and minerals.

  • Progesterone, a hormone released during pregnancy, causes both cravings and aversions.
  • Nutrient deficiency will cause women to seek out foods (often comfort/junk foods) that contain the nutrients they lack.

Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause but having either intensified food cravings OR aversions is one of the most common bodily changes pregnant women experience.

Leg Cramps

Often occurring at nighttime, leg cramps can really sour your mood and make you feel as if something horrible is going on. This is actually a common phenomenon experienced and doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact cause but there are a few theories:

  • The extra weight from carrying your child all day puts extra pressure on your legs and by nighttime your legs are fatigued.
  • Calcium and magnesium deficiencies may be a possible cause.
  • Pressure from an enlarged uterus on pelvic blood vessels may also be a cause.

I’m constantly experiencing heartburn.

During pregnancy a specific hormone is released to help relax and loosen certain muscles such as the uterus – it’s a natural response. Unfortunately, this hormone also relaxes the hiatal valve which is what keeps the gastric acid from leaving your stomach.

Constant Urination

Pregnant women have an increased blood volume to make sure the child is well nourished. The kidney must process all of the extra blood flow, which inevitably ends up in your bladder – hence why you have frequent urination. Further down the road into your pregnancy, your uterus will enlarge and this puts pressure on the bladder, causing more frequent urination. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!


Increased levels of the hormone progesterone relax smooth muscles that slow down the digestive tract. An enlarged uterus may also put extra pressure on the large intestine limiting movement. Progesterone has the tendency to affect many different parts of the body.

Numbness of Hands

Pregnant women may suffer from mild swelling of the hands and as a result, may experience a slight numbness sensation. The reason is because the swelling puts pressure on the median nerve which is what controls feeling in our hands. This is usually experienced in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.


Pregnancy is often hard on the body, but remember that it is all a normal process that is temporary. After the baby has been born, symptoms commonly subside and disappear on their own.

If you ever feel extremely worried or concerned over a symptom, then it is best to see your obstetrics doctor to make doubly sure that your pregnancy is on the right track – plus to keep your mind at ease.

Pap Smear Testing – The Who, What, When, Why, and Where

Dr. Torbati offers pap smear hpv testing for abnormal cervical cancer cellsBy now, there’s plenty of information on the subject of Pap smear testing. To help clear any confusion, I wanted to outline the 5 W’s that make it easy to digest what the Pap smear procedure is all about.

The Who

Of course we aren’t talking about the popular English band but rather, who are the people you should be seeing for a Pap smear test. Typically, any doctor with the right certifications may administer the test. But often you will find that specialists, called OB GYNs (Obstetrician and Gynecologist), are the main doctors who provide Pap smear testing.

The What

Pap smear is a procedure that women receive in order to identify and prevent cervical cancer. A small sample of cells are taken from the cervix and then sent to diagnostic labs for testing. No incisions are made, no surgery is required. A special instrument is used to brush off a sample of cells. It’s a quick and painless procedure – just slightly uncomfortable.

The When

The American Cancer Society guideline breaks it down nicely:

• Begin testing at age 21.
• 21-29 years old – every 3 years (no HPV testing required).
• 30+ – women should receive both a Pap smear and HPV testing.
• All women should NOT be screened every year for any method.
• Even if you are vaccinated from HPV, you should still receive the test.

The Why

Why are Pap smear tests performed? Why do I have to get a Pap smear? Do I even absolutely have to get one?

These questions are commonly asked and I reply with the same answer almost every single time: it’s performed as a pre-cautionary method to make sure you are safe from a condition that can be easily preventable through routine testing.

The Where

Pap smear testing can be performed in your doctor’s office. The whole procedure is generally quick and you are free to leave home the same day.

All this talk about STDs… ?

The notion that Pap smear testing is also done for STDs can be misleading. Perhaps some OB GYNs offer this service as part of a routine Pap smear, but a large majority simply test for cervical cancer or other abnormal cells present in the cervix or vagina.

You can visit my website for more detailed information on Pap smear HPV testing and other procedures.