Pregnancy affects every aspect of the pregnant woman's body. Every body system is impacted in some way.
The most obvious of these changes is the growing uterus. As the baby grows, the uterus expands out of the pelvis and eventually, toward the end of pregnancy, reaches almost to the mother's lungs. But there are so many changes that occur which are not visually obvious, although the mother can often feel the affects of these changes.
As the maternal blood volume increases (up to 50% toward the end of pregnancy) the mother's cardiac output and heart rate increase. Her respirations also increase as both her oxygen consumption and oxygen demand increase.
The renal flow rate of the kidneys increases. In contrast, the bladder, compressed by the growing fetus, diminishes in capacity, to which almost all pregnant women can attest.
Up to 50% to 90% of pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. As this resolves, the gastrointestinal system begins to slow down, often causing constipation.
As the pregnancy continues and pregnancy hormones increase, the ligaments and tendons which hold the mother's bones in place experience a relaxation.
Her skin may change as well. Stretch marks may appear along her abdomen, thighs and lower back. She may develop an itching, painful rash that can be associated with pregnancy. She may develop a patchy brown discoloration along her nose and cheeks.These are just a few examples of changes during pregnancy. In fact, a myriad of changes occur on the cellular level during pregnancy. The pregnancy changes her from the inside out. The baby doesn't just change one part of her, it affects all of her.
Sometimes we hear Christians talk about their belief in God by saying something along the lines of, "My faith is an important part of my life." It seems we compartmentalize our walk with the Lord as we do other parts of our lives, such as work or our hobbies or our relationships.
Now, I understand what they are trying to communicate, but that would be like the pregnant woman saying , "My developing baby is an important part of my life." Yes, that is true, but it is so much more than that. That baby is with her for every step she takes. After about 10 weeks, it hears every beat of her heart, every breath she takes, every word she speaks. For 40 weeks, or close to it, they are inseparable.
When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, His Spirit comes to dwell in our spirit. The Bible refers to this magnificent union in this way:
"But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." (I Corinthians 6:17.)
Now one thing I know is that my hobbies have never dwelt within me. (I would look pretty strange if my kayak were somehow inside of me.) Our jobs never dwell within us. But our Lord does. He is with us always. He knows every beat of our hearts...in fact He is the one to maintain that heartbeat. He knows every breathe we take. In fact, He gives us that breath:
'...He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." (Acts 17:25.)
He hears every word we speak. And something that tiny baby can't do, He knows every thought we think. We are joined in away that defies explanation other than "great is the mystery of godliness." (I Timothy 3:16.)
Now I have been a pregnant woman, I have worked with many, many pregnant women and I have been a nurse to literally thousands of pregnant women. All this experience leads me to tell you that pregnant women are often totally focused on that baby inside of them, and rightly so.
How is it that as Christians we fail to be as totally focused on the God of the universe who has chosen to join Himself to our spirit? How can we ever let ourselves set our faith in the Lord apart to one tiny aspect of our lives, or something we pull out on Sundays and sit on the shelf all other days of the week? I confess I have been guilty of this myself and it breaks my heart that I have done so.
I pray I will be more like the pregnant woman, by letting my thoughts turn less and less to things that pull at my attention and distract me and turn more and more to the Lord and His marvelous grace.
"Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."