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The surprising effects of pregnancy

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Muscles and joints shift and jostle. The heart’s pounding rhythm speeds up. Blood roars through arteries and veins. Over the course of a pregnancy, every organ in the body changes. Initiated by a range of hormones, these changes begin as soon as a pregnancy begins. Explore what we know— and don’t know— about pregnancy's effects on the body and brain.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator TED-Ed
  • Science Consultant Alexandra Sacks
  • Director Charlotte Cambon, Roxane Campoy
  • Animator Charlotte Cambon, Roxane Campoy, Antoine Delebarre
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman
  • Compositor Antoine Delebarre
  • Art Director Roxane Campoy, Charlotte Cambon
  • Sound Designer Flavien Van Haezevelde
  • Music Flavien Van Haezevelde
  • Special Thanks Shameka Williams
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Over the course of a pregnancy, a woman goes through many changes externally. Internally, from conception to birth, chemicals will cause every organ in a woman’s body to change and accommodate the baby growing inside her womb. Let’s explore how hormones impact a woman’s body during fetal development.

Pregnancy is a special time in many womens’ lives. It is also a mysterious time for women, because much of the baby’s development through each stage of pregnancy is not able to be seen. Here is a month-by month overview of what happens during pregnancy. There are many nuances to the development of a baby that involve many complex processes working together in tandem to assist in fetal development. A lot of those processes also involve hormones that help direct the changes that need to occur at the different stages of pregnancy. Progesterone and estrogen are the most important hormones in pregnancy. Did you know that women produce more estrogen in pregnancy than in their entire lives not pregnant? Hormones a very important for pregnancy, but can also cause women to injure themselves. Women are more likely to injure their knees and ankles due to the ligaments being looser. Here is a great infographic on six key hormones in pregnancy.

However, on several occasions during pregnancy, expecting mothers are able to see their growing babies during an ultrasound (sonogram) which uses sound waves to form an image of the baby in the womb. This allows healthcare providers to check on the baby’s health and development. An ultrasound can show the babies hands, feet, and even if it's a boy or girl (though some parents choose to keep the gender a surprise)! Most women get an ultrasound in their second trimester, some get one in the first. The frequency of ultrasounds depends a lot on the age and health of the expecting mother. Here is an in depth health and pregnancy guide, take a look!



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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator TED-Ed
  • Science Consultant Alexandra Sacks
  • Director Charlotte Cambon, Roxane Campoy
  • Animator Charlotte Cambon, Roxane Campoy, Antoine Delebarre
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman
  • Compositor Antoine Delebarre
  • Art Director Roxane Campoy, Charlotte Cambon
  • Sound Designer Flavien Van Haezevelde
  • Music Flavien Van Haezevelde
  • Special Thanks Shameka Williams
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more