Mercy OB/GYN Dr. Robert Atlas Discusses Body Changes That Can Occur During Pregnancy

August 4, 2014
Mercy Bunting Center

When women become pregnant their body goes through many changes.

Some symptoms are familiar to women, like weight gain, nausea and vomiting, but there are other changes that can happen during pregnancy that women may not expect.

Just a few days old, baby T.J. is the pride and joy of his parents. Although her pregnancy went well, Jewel said some changes during those nine months did surprise her.

"Everything that I thought I was going to be I was not. Everything I thought I was going to look like I was not. Everything that I thought I was going to deal with I did not," Allen said.

"Most of the changes we see are related to hormonal changes related to pregnancy itself," noted Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Family Childbirth and Children’s Center at Mercy.  

One of those changes is a dark vertical line called linea nigra, "which is a line between the belly button and the pubic bone, and it's commonly seen in many women. Some go away, some don't go away and I think a lot of women are sort of frightened by it, concerned about it, but it really is a natural process,” Dr. Atlas said.

"I did have a line and I did have a lot of that indigestion and heartburn," Allen said. "I would eat anything and I would still have indigestion and heartburn."

"That's related to progesterone causing relaxation of what we call the lower esophageal sphincter and you get regurgitation and that's very unpleasant for women," Dr. Atlas explained.

"I did have some nosebleeds. Early in the mornings, I would experience nosebleeds or through the night," Allen said.

"We see a lot of women who complain of bloody noses, and part of the bloody noses is related to increased vascularity; there's much more blood flow coming,” Dr. Atlas added. "So no, these are actually things that are commonly seen, that many of them will go away and they're not problems at all."

"It's so worth it in the end. This moment now that he's here really, really, really puts in perspective like everything that I've been through," Allen said. 

View Dr. Atlas’ interview regarding body changes during pregnancy.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

News and Events