Growing a human is no easy feat, and, unfortunately, only a few of us will manage to look like Blake Lively while doing it. Whether or not Lively suffered from swollen feet, stretch marks and bloating when she was pregnant with her daughter James, we may never know. But for the rest of the women out there -- get ready for your body to change in some surprising ways, some of them, for good.
"I'd like to preface this discussion by saying everyone is different," president and co-founder of Doula Network Australia, Christa Buckland, told The Huffington Post Australia. "Bodies are so unique, but there are a few changes that tend to be pretty common."
First of all, boobs. Before you get pregnant, you might want to take a good long look at your chest because, it might never be the same ever again.
"Everything expands a bit, but many women will experience their breasts enlarging in particular," Buckland said. "You might find that you go up a cup size, or even more. Everyone is so different and it can also depend on your breast size at the start.
"Large breasted women may experience something different to smaller breasted women. They may find their breasts don’t change much at all, or they may get significantly larger."
Whatever the changes are, you can expect them to stay that way, at least for the duration of breastfeeding.
"Even after the delivery, if the mother chooses to breastfeed, her breasts will remain at that size," Buckland said. "When breastfeeding stops, that again is variable. Some women they will stay at that size, some women will go down a bit.
"I think that is actually something a lot of women don’t realise in advance, that their breasts are going to change throughout their lifetime. And of course pregnancy is a contributing factor."
Another change women are likely to experience is the darkening of their nipples.
"Nipple pigmentation generally tends to go darker," Buckland noted. "But that's nothing to worry about. Not only is it completely natural, but they will go back to pink sometime after. It's not a permanent thing, it's okay."
In the later stages of your pregnancy, you may also find your feet are puffier than usual. Again, this is totally normal.
"There are three reasons feet tend to expand in size during pregnancy, and the first is you are carrying more weight," Buckland said. " Most women will put on -- and this is a guesstimate -- but about an average of 15 kilograms.
"Some will put on more and some women will just only put on around eight kilograms which is pretty much the baby and the placenta.
"If you think about it, if all of a sudden you gained 15 kilos, your body would be straining a little with the extra weight. Your feet might suffer as a result of this.
"Another reason is your circulation tends to be a bit more laboured, which can lead to extra blood pooling in your feet.
"Finally, fluid plays a major role. It's a case of 'my ankles have disappeared!' I hear that from pregnant women all the time. Often not until the very end, but maybe the last ten weeks you'll really start to feel it.
"The good news is your feet do go back to normal. I mean, it varies in how long it takes. It could be a week and they are feeling back to normal, because it was just fluid, or it could take a bit longer. But you're not going to retain fluid in your feet forever."
'Be Proud Of Your Body'
While boobs and feet are definitely at risk of expanding, you might notice the rest of your body is also in on the act. DO NOT PANIC.
"Often women will put on weight and some of it isn't just the baby, it’s their body actually putting on weight," Buckland said. "In actual fact, your body is storing up fat for when the baby comes, and it will be using that energy to produce milk. It does have a biological purpose.
"That's something I also hear from women all the time, particularly in the later stages. They'll say, 'I just feel like a whale! Why does my butt need to grow? I’m growing a baby, not a butt!'
"But that's why you will also hear a lot of women talk about losing weight while breastfeeding. You are actually burning all these calories just by sitting there. Your body is doing all this work, even when you are sitting down, it's like in-built exercise.
"One thing I will say, regardless of the changes your body goes through, is to be proud of what your body has done. You have nurtured a life and that is only a positive thing.
"Your stretch marks might not fully go away, but be proud of those stripes. Don't look at the images in the media -- they are airbrushed and perfect. It's all fake and it gives people an unrealistic idea of what a human body even looks like.
"Be proud of your body and what it has achieved."