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How Pregnancy Changes Your Body


What's going on: If you find yourself straining to see the movie screen, blame the fluid retention and hormonal havoc of pregnancy. Why? "The corneas of your eyes swell along with the rest of your body," says Anne Sumers, M.D., an ophthalmologist in Ridgewood, New Jersey. As your corneas thicken and curve more, the way they refract visual images into the eyes changes. "My glasses don't really work anymore," confirms Minneapolis mother-to-be Emily Boettge. "I'll be driving down the street and start waving at someone I think I know. Then I'll get closer and realize I've been waving like a lunatic at a total stranger." The good news: Eyesight should return to normal within 3 months of delivery.

Even if vision remains unchanged, nearly one in four pregnant contact wearers find that once-comfy lenses become torturous. The cause, again, is hormonal. Curvier corneas mean contacts no longer fit well, and fluctuating hormone levels dry the corneas and cut tear production.

What to do about it: Pay a visit to an eye doctor, who may temporarily adjust your prescription. If your contacts are bothering you, "switch to glasses until you have the baby," says Dr. Sumers. You can also try using lubricating drops or wearing contacts for shorter periods of time. Let your obstetrician know right away if you have severely blurred vision, tunnel vision, or spots in front of your eyes -- these can signal a potentially serious problem such as gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension.