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Powered-up Pregnancy

Powered-up Pregnancy

You don’t have to take a dip in radioactive waste to get superpowers – just make a baby! Understand the sensory changes that women undergo during pregnancy and how one should understand and cope with these changes. Also note some of the strange and unexpected facts related to pregnancy. 

Okay, so you may not be able to move around with swan-like grace or bend down to pick up a pen, but you may discover yourself developing a few enhanced abilities courtesy of your baby bump.Just ask Kelly Clarkson. Back in 2015, the original American Idol told USA TODAYthat she was able to sing better when she was expecting her first child, River Rose Blackstock. “I was just more passionate,” shared the singer. “The vocals were more intense, and I loved recording.” While there’s no scientific explanation why, Kelly personally believes her vocal abilities improved because she was more in tuned with her feelings and emotions while pregnant.

She isn’t the only mama to feel imbued with extraordinary pregnancy powers. During those nine months, a woman’s body experiences a myriad of changes.Aside from the obvious physical transformation, a 2016 study published by Nature Neurosciencerevealed that pregnancy causes a significant overhaul to the brain that lasts for two years after birth. After performing detailed anatomical brain scans on a group of women, the research revealed that their brains adapted to motherhood by increasing social awareness to make mothers more sensitive to the needs of their babies.If growing a small human inside you can trigger a redesign of the brain itself, what else can manifest because of pregnancy? Like how a person in a life-and-death situation can summon extreme strength, do we trigger a hidden reserve of superpowers the moment new life starts to flicker within us?

Sensory Overdrive

One of the hallmarks of pregnancy is the wacky rollercoaster of hormonal changes. The rise and fall of various hormones doesn’t just affect your mood, it also alters your senses. Food cravings or aversions,as well as nausea, are familiar ways super senses affect you during pregnancy and is caused by a keener sense of smell and turbo-charged taste buds.

Through a casual survey, we found that super smell was the most common sensory abnormality mamas experienced, especially during the early stages of pregnancy. At 20 weeks, first-time mum Constance Lim swears her newly acquired super sniffer can detect rain way before storm clouds start to gather. According to a joint studyby San Diego State University and Umeå University, it would seem that most pregnant women share these sensory changes. Their research found that 76 percent of expectant mothers reported having abnormal smell or taste perception, and in some cases experienced both.

Science is undecided on whether heightened pregnancy senses serve any benefit to mothers and their unborn children. Some researchers believe that sensitivity to odours and tastes helps expectant mums to identify any chemicals that may be harmful to the foetus. This explains why some pregnant women gag at the smell or taste of stuff like coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol. In fact, there was astudyout of Stanford University that suggested that there is evidence that women who experience nausea were less likely to miscarry.

Your nose and tongue aren’t the only ones that get an upgrade during pregnancy. Many pregnant women have reported having bat-like hearing, which is believed to be another side effect of hormonal changes. This can cause you to hear little annoying details you usually miss, like the background static on the radio or the amplified sounds of someone breathing. Though it isn’t clear why, scientists at the Max Planck Institute discoveredthat expectant mamas were more sensitiveto music, so much so that it affected their blood pressure more significantly compared to non-pregnant women. The results have led them to theorise that growing foetuses are conditioned to music perception while still in the womb through the intense physiological music responses of theirs mothers. The research backs up this theory by noting that music can cause change in heartbeat and movement patterns of the foetus during the third trimester. Guess you’re never too young to be a music lover.

Weirdly Wonderful

Pregnant women may have to battle morning sickness, back pains, and the constant need to pee – but it is wiser not to underestimate them. The last thing you want to do is get caught lying to a mummy-to-be. Women are naturally intuitive creatures and having a bun in the oven can amplify their emotional sensitivity, transforming them into human lie-detectors. A studypublished back in 2009, suggested that the raging hormones that cause mood swings also make them hyper-vigilant to facial expressions during late pregnancy, giving them emotion-reading powers to rival the Mentalist. This enhanced emotional sensitivity may be an evolutionary adaption, the research adds, meant to prepare women for the demands of nurturing and protecting a little one.

A striking number of mamas claims that pregnancy turns their brain to mush and cause them to make poor decisions and become absent-minded.Just a myth or something more? A recentstudyfrom Deakin University found that expectant mothers didn’t do as well as non-pregnant women on tasks measuring attention, decision-making, planning, and memory. However, you may need to take these results with a pinch of salt. Some studies have refuted the idea of pregnancy brain and suggested that the influx of hormones can improve brain communication. New mama Karina Ng for one, shares that she felt more focused and became more productive during those nine months. Other than making a small human being inside her, Karina picked up piano again, learned how to swim, and managed to summon the discipline to cook more regularly.

And then there are the powers that science cannot explain. Mother-of-three Alice Lee claims that her pregnancy opened her up to supernatural experiences, including one foreboding dream in which her husband’s old friend visited her in her sleep and hinted at a favour to retrieve something of his. The oddest part, she says, was that she barely knew him well.

Of course, it is possible not to experience any of these “superpowers”. After all, no two pregnancies are alike. Mama Shirley Teo tells us the only thing she remembers is constantly feeling exhausted. “I napped so much,” she says. “You’ll be surprised how going to the bathroom every few minutes can really tire you out.”

Stephanie Ang, mother-of-two, shares Shirley’s sentiments, but isn’t too bothered about missing out. “I already feel super knowing I’m creating life inside me,” she says.“Especially when I can feel my baby moving inside me, that never fails to amaze.”


The Strange and Unexpected Facts of Expectancy

  1. The uterus expands more than 500 times its normal size.
  2. At the end of your pregnancy, the placenta produces more oestrogen a day than you usually do in three years.
  3. Pregnant and new mums can lactate automatically at the sound of a crying baby that’s not even their own.
  4. During pregnancy, 90 percent of women will experience a change in their skintone.
  5. Feet aren’t the only ones that grow when you’re expecting, the size of a mother’s heart increasesas more blood is needed to sustain the pregnancy. 

Find more articles offering practical pregnancy, maternity and parenthood tips on our site. Here are some for ready reference: 

  1. Benefits of Natural Family Planning for Birth Control – understand natural family planning and how it can benefit you
  2. Speed bumps for a second pregnancy – Tips on how to plan and prepare for a second baby
  3. Unusual pregnancy complaints – know some of the strange but expected changes you are likely to experience during pregnancy

As you contemplate pregnancy or prepare to become parents, it is a good time to also think of the long-term health of your baby and other close family members. Find out how umbilical cord blood banking can benefit your baby and your family in the long term. Understand the process of cord blood collection and storage; the benefits of cord stem cells in treatment of 80+ diseases; and the cost of cord blood banking in Singapore with Cryoviva, a well-known and trusted family cord blood bank serving families in Singapore and the ASEAN region. E-mail enquiry@cryoviva.com.sg or call: +65-8339 8482 to for in-depth information on storing your baby’s precious cord blood for the future. 


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