CHANGES OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM DURING PREGNANCY
a. The respiratory rate rises to 18 to 20 to compensate for increased maternal
oxygen consumption, which is needed for demands of the uterus, the placenta, and the
b. Women may feel out of breath and may need to sit a moment to catch their
CHANGES OF BODY TEMPERATURE DURING PREGNANCY
a. A slight increase in body temperature in early pregnancy is noted. The
temperature returns to normal at about the 16th week of gestation.
b. The patient may feel warmer or experience "hot flashes" caused by increased
hormonal level and basal metabolic rate.
CHANGES OF THE URINARY SYSTEM DURING PREGNANCY
a. The kidneys must work extra hard excreting the mother's own waste products
plus those of the fetus. There is an increase in urinary output and a decrease in the
b. The patient may develop urine stasis and pyelonephritis in the right kidney.
This is due to pressure on the right ureter resulting from displacement of the uterus
slightly to the right by the sigmoid colon.
c. Frequent urination is a complaint during the first through third trimester. As
the uterus rises out of the pelvic cavity in early pregnancy, pressure on the bladder
decreases and frequency diminishes. When lightening occurs during the final weeks of
pregnancy, pressure on the bladder returns to cause frequency.
CHANGES OF THE SKELETAL SYSTEM DURING PREGNANCY
a. There is a realignment of the spinal curvatures during pregnancy to maintain
balance (see figure 5-3). It is due to the increase in size of the uterus and pressure on
the abdominal wall. The patient walks with head and shoulders thrust backward and
chest protruding outward to compensate. This gives the patient a "waddling" gait.
b. There is a slight relaxation and increased mobility of the pelvic joints, which
allows stretching at the time of delivery of the infant.