Pregnancy is a life-changing event for many women. They are bringing a child into the world and expanding their family. The lives of the mother and their partner, as well as their families and friends, will be forever changed.
There are many health benefits during pregnancy. There’s typically a lower risk of breast cancer and other forms of cancer. Periods are easier and heart health has been shown to improve dramatically in certain cases. Women usually are in better moods and have a better self-image.
Conversely, there are also some serious health considerations to be taken into account during a pregnancy. Depression and anxiety often occur. Some women have difficulty conceiving or bringing pregnancies to term. If you have other health issues at the same time, talk to your doctor or physician about any possible risks that you should be aware of.
Here Are Twelve Things That You Should Expect During Pregnancy:
1. Your tastes in food will change.
As your pregnancy progresses, your tastes in certain foods will change. Certain foods that you used to love can turn into things that you hate. Some foods may make you very sick to your stomach. Others may give you heartburn or indigestion rather quickly. You may also develop cravings for other foods that you either didn’t like at first or simply didn’t know about at all. Drinking milk can help lessen the symptoms of nausea or heartburn. There are several acid blockers and antacids you can buy that can also do the trick. Just read the labels carefully to be aware of any side effects. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about any possible side effects for any products that you are thinking about taking.
2. Morning sickness will hang around for a while.
Morning sickness can last for weeks or even months during the first trimester. Nausea and an upset stomach are very common during this phase. No matter how healthy you currently are, morning sickness will usually affect most pregnant women at some point. Taking prenatal vitamins on a regular basis can reduce some of these symptoms or lessen their recurrences. Eating crackers or toast and eating small meals throughout the day can also help with these symptoms.
3. Your feet will swell.
Swollen feet during pregnancy is caused by slower body circulation, gravity, and increased water retention. Try elevating your legs and feet whenever you can. Avoid wearing tight-fitting jeans or dress pants and stay away from wearing pantyhose with tight elastic bands. All of these can cause circulation problems. Soaking your feet in a warm bath or tub with some Epsom salts can help.
Swimming is another great relief. Water can help to equalize the pressure, so it can help to reduce the pain associated with swollen feet. If you also experience swelling in your hands or feet, or if the swelling is combined with a headache or vision problems, talk to your doctor immediately. These are often signs of pre-eclampsia, which is a combination of increased blood pressure and having protein in your urine. If left untreated, pre-eclampsia can have serious repercussions for both you and your baby.
4. Back pain may occur more frequently the further you are in your pregnancy.
As the baby inside you continues to grow and gain weight, that puts additional pressure on your sciatic nerve. The result is often persistent or sharp pain along your back, legs and posterior. To reduce back pain, try to avoid lifting heavy objects whenever possible. If you must lift heavy items, lift them by bending at your knees instead of your waist. When you are sitting down, putting a pillow or a few towels rolled together can help. Just make sure that you’re not sitting or standing for extended periods of time. At bedtime, you may find more comfort by laying on your side, with pillows between your legs. Some people use yoga stretches or other stretching exercises to help relieve back pain.
5. You may experience leg cramps.
During pregnancy, the weight of the uterus can sometimes restrict blood flow to other parts of the body. This can cause leg cramps, as the nerves are compressed from not receiving regular blood flow. When you experience leg cramps, take a few minutes to gently bring your toes towards your knee. This helps to stretch the calf muscle. You can then carefully massage the calf muscle with long, repeated strokes moving from the leg towards your foot. You may want to try flexing your feet several times before going to bed or just to help reduce cramps daily. Your doctor may prescribe calcium supplements which can also help.
6. You may see stretch marks start to form.
Stretch marks usually start to form after the first trimester. They can vary in color and appearance. Stretch marks are caused by small tears in tissue layers of your skin as they are being stretched further than normal during pregnancy. For some women, stretch marks are genetic. Others experience stretch marks more often as they gain weight faster.
There are many over the counter products that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Using a moisturizer daily can also help reduce the itch and redness that is often experienced. Having a healthy diet with foods that are rich in vitamin C can also help lessen the effects of stretch marks for many women.
7. You may be constipated more often.
Because pregnancy hormones can sometimes wreak havoc with a woman’s digestive system, you may feel constipated more often. To reduce the occurrences of constipation, switch to a high fiber diet. Bread, grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables contain plenty of fiber for your day. Also, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Sometimes iron supplements can cause constipation problems. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about substitutes that may be a healthier alternative. Staying as active as possible is another good way to reduce constipation.
For some women, the opposite is true: they have more bouts of diarrhea. In these instances, make sure to drink plenty of water. Usually, these episodes disappear after a day or two. If they persist, or if you have additional stomach pain, dark urine or blood in your stool, talk to your doctor immediately. Let them know about any medications that you are currently taking that may be contributing to these issues.
8. You may feel like you’re getting hot flashes.
The body pumps more blood during pregnancy. That combined with hormones may sometimes make you feel warmer than normal. To cool down, you can invest in a portable fan for home or the office. Wear clothes that are made of lighter, breathable fabrics when you can. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can drink a little more at times to help you cool down. If all else fails, you can always go for a swim or take a relaxing bath at the end of a busy day.
9. You may notice bleeding gums when brushing your teeth.
For some women, bleeding gums are very common during their pregnancies. Not to be alarmed – this is called pregnancy gingivitis. Hormones can usually make your teeth more vulnerable to plaque and become more sensitive as well. You should get a dental checkup at least twice a year, and schedule at least one professional cleaning during your pregnancy. Brush your teeth at least two or three times a day. Avoid any sugary or highly acidic food or drinks as much as possible, as they can sometimes make the problem worse.
If you are experiencing morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water afterward. Your teeth and gums may feel softer due to the acid in your stomach. Wait about an hour or so after each bout of sickness to brush your teeth. This can make a good, thorough cleaning much more effective.
10. You feel tired more often.
This is a common complaint for many pregnant women. There are many reasons why this happens. During pregnancy, the body produces large amounts of progesterone, which can make a person feel more tired. Many women often experience low blood sugar, low blood pressure and not having enough iron in their bodies. All of these can cause women to become more fatigued and experience extreme tiredness during their pregnancy.
If you are constantly feeling weak, having shortness of breath, or have dizzy spells, talk to your doctor to get your iron levels checked. They may recommend a diet full of iron-rich foods such as beans, eggs, green vegetables, cereals and grains, and dried fruits. Vitamin C can also help replenish some of the iron in your body. Your doctor may also prescribe an iron supplement to take for the remainder of your pregnancy. Stay away from caffeinated drinks, as they can interfere with iron absorption in your body.
For most women, feeling tired is just a part of pregnancy. Taking naps or time to rest when you need to is perfectly normal. You may have to cut back on your workload a bit. Saying “no” to volunteer commitments or other activities is fine. Have family members or friends pitch in with the housework for a while. Take a day off when you need to. You can also try going to bed earlier to get deeper and more relaxing sleep every night. Prenatal vitamins and a healthy diet can also help. If you’ve been having dizzy spells, make sure that you get up very slowly after lying down or sitting. If you feel a dizzy spell coming on, you can sit down quickly as you wait for it to pass. If it continues, try lying on your side for relief. You can also counteract the effects of fatigue and tiredness by getting in a brisk walk, a few stretches or yoga poses or other forms of productive exercise when you can every day.
11. You may get more headaches.
For some, headaches are another constant part of their pregnancy. Hormones are usually to blame, but stress and anxiety can also be contributing factors. Try to rest whenever possible, and take time away from work or other responsibilities for a while. Make time to meditate, listen to some of your favorite music or read a good book. Once again, remember to stay hydrated. Practicing a few stretches, leg bends, yoga poses or other exercises can also help lessen the pain. If your headache persists or becomes increasingly painful, talk to your doctor. If you are considering taking painkillers for your headache, ask your doctor first. Unfortunately, not every type of pain medication is beneficial during pregnancy. Some can have serious side effects.
12. You may have pelvic pain.
Most pregnant women often notice some sort of pelvic pain or discomfort during their pregnancies. Also referred to as symphysis pubis dysfunction or pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, the pain levels can vary from woman to woman. Some may experience only mild discomfort, while others may feel seemingly debilitating pain. You may want to sit down when getting dressed to avoid any possible pain. Keep your knees together when you are getting out of the car. Don’t lift heavy items unless absolutely necessary. Pay close attention to your physical activities, and avoid any repetitive motion or other activities that can worsen the pain symptoms. If these pains continue or increase in severity, talk to your doctor or health care provider right away.
These are just some of the many conditions that many women experience during pregnancy. Others include swollen breasts, insomnia, acne, and increased urination. All of these and other symptoms are usually temporary, but should still be monitored carefully. You should have regular checkups with your doctor or general practitioner to monitor your progress and stay on top of any issues that you may be experiencing.
Childbirth is often referred to as a mixture of pleasure and pain. A few months of discomfort or restlessness can be worth every bit that you endure once the new life is brought into the world. You are usually the first person they will see and bond with. Taking proactive measures to ensure the optimum health conditions for you and your baby can help set them on the right track for a healthy, positive lifetime.