You are about to enter a new world: pregnancy. So far you’ve seen your friends or family members got through their pregnancies with some minor or huge difficulties but what you mostly remember is how cute were they while walking like a penguin with that round belly.
Well, pregnancy is much more than that. It is a long way marathon with a lot of feelings and discomforts that most of them totally new for you. Even if you get lots of help from your loved ones, you are the one who needs to reach the finish line as well as you can be. Through the way you will find yourself while saying “But nobody told me that!”.
Yes, there are lots of things nobody tells about pregnancy because they do not want to be the one always whining or they simply forget what they experienced right after they give birth. Or they told you some things already but you had no idea what would it be like. So here are some facts to help you now:
1 – Early Signs of Pregnancy: You missed a period or you feel somehow different in your body and you wonder if you are pregnant. And you want to know that immediately no matter if you are trying to conceive or you are far away from the idea being a mother! Here are some early signs of pregnancy:
– Spotting and cramping
– Tender breasts
– Headaches and back pain
– Dizziness and fainting
– Mood swings
– Frequent urination
Did you notice something? Yes they are almost the same with the signs of an upcoming period. You are confused and considering buying a home pregnancy test kit. But you have to know this before you get ready to go to a pharmacy: pregnancy tests are useless before you missed a period and even then they are not very accurate when your pregnancy is so new. So you have two options: being patient for a few days (a week is better) after you miss your period for a pregnancy test or having a test to measure “human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)” level in your blood. The most frustrating part of a missing period when you suspect that you are pregnant is; it may be simply because you are stressed too much about being pregnant. I guess this is the way of our wombs having fun with us.
2 – Feelings About Being a Mother: You saw the second line on the stick and it is official now: you are pregnant. If you were not planning to have a baby it is normal to feel confused, stressed and nervous. But what if you were trying to conceive? Shouldn’t you feel blessed? Shouldn’t you jump around and hug your partner with joy? And the other things that we used to see on the scenes of romantic comedies. The answer is: maybe. You may feel that way but most of the women feels the other way even they are waiting for a baby compassionately. After learning that you are pregnant your head most probably started to fill with lots of questions like: “Am i really ready to be a mom? Did i make a huge mistake? What am i going to do now? Am i a bad person being so stressed right now?” My advice here is being calm down. Let the questions come and go and do not feel nervous about them. You may helped your friends or family members raising children before or may not, either way your inner being knows that your life about to change dramatically. And it is ok to feel confused a bit. Who is ready to be a mother after all?
3 – Lack of Energy: First trimester may be the most difficult part of your pregnancy for your body. Of course you’ve heard of morning sicknesses and tiredness at the beginning of a pregnancy but most women have no idea what their bodies are going through at that time. Your body is changing for holding, feeding and making comfortable your little one. Due to the rising levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones, you experience nausea, fatigue, tender and heavy breasts, increased urination, food aversions and cravings, increased sense of smell and dizziness. Your body is working so hard for providing the needs of your baby immediately. All you have to do is trying to eat sufficient amount of healthy foods and getting use to live with that low battery mode for the next 2 months. You may want to cry when you have to go to work in the morning while your body is refusing to move, you may want to find the energy for killing your husband being so messy and you may find even brushing your teeth requires too much effort but believe or not at the end of the first trimester you will find peace and ease in your body again. Pure magic!
4 – Constipation and Frequent Urination: Changing hormones at the beginning and growing bump later lead to constipation and frequent urination. Visiting bathroom for half an hour intervals may drive you crazy but constipation is much more annoying than that. Especially if you were prone to constipation before your pregnancy, you may experience much harder times. Try to consume fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dried apricots and prunes and drink lots of water. If you still uncomfortable, inform your health care provider before things get worse. You may be adviced to use magnesium supplements to ease bowel movements.
5 – Mood Swings: You already know that pregnant women full of feelings through their pregnancies. They are more emotional, bad tempered, depressed, frustrated and excited than normal. But what you do not know about these mood swings is: the intensity. To explain the intensity i want to give you a equation:
Pregnancy mood swings= 10 x PMS(Pre Menstural Syndrome)
And if you think that pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks it is completely normal that pregnant women are all tired from their swinging moods. You can feel angry, happy, peaceful, nervous, optimistic, pessimistic, numb, energetic and everything at once. But do not worry, even you annoy yourself your loved ones would be very understanding about your new intense feelings and behaviour.
6- “Is it Ok?” Till the end of your pregnancy you will find yourself googling “is it ok to feel …..?” questions about your discomforts. No matter what your discomfort is you will find answers in two categories: the ones that indicates everything is normal and the scary ones that you need to see your doctor immediately! You will get confused and wonder which answers are true. Unfortunately both are can be true. A symptom can be normal for some and can be the messenger of something serious for other. Here are some situations that you should call your doctor immediately:
– Severe cramping or abdominal pain
– Severe vomiting/diarrhea
– Noticeable changes in your baby’s movements (after 28 weeks)
– Any bleeding
– Fluid leak
– Shortness of breath that is getting worse
– Blurred vision
– Fever over 100o F
Other than these it is better to stay calm and have a rest. Every pregnancy has discomforts and minor or serious problems. Almost every pregnant women around me had serious problems such as rubella during pregnancy, insufficient amniotic fluid, nuchal cord, placenta previa with bleeding. Each of them has healthy children right now. Even serious conditions can solve themselves. This is the way how nature works. It is ok to be careful and care yourself but being stressed about discomforts and problems is not good for you and your precious one inside you.
7 – Round Ligament Pain Really Hurts: The round ligaments run from the top of the uterus down into the labia. As the uterus grows, these ligaments stretch, and many women feel discomfort or pain on one or both sides of the groin area, especially at about 16 to 22 weeks. Practitioners tell you this symptom is only round ligament pain and it’s nothing to worry about. And they’re right – don’t worry. But you deserve some sympathy (you have ours) because this pain can be fairly intense.
You can probably ease round ligament pain a bit by getting off your feet or changing positions, thereby taking the pressure off the ligaments. By the way, if you’re having twins or more, the round ligament pain may begin earlier and last longer. The good news is that round ligament pain usually diminishes by about 24 weeks.
8 – Hemorrhoids Are a Royal Pain in the Butt: Your best friend may say she’s told you everything about her own pregnancy. But has she remembered her hemorrhoids? Believe us, hemorrhoids happen pretty often, and when they do, you’re in for some very noticeable pain and discomfort. Hemorrhoids are dilated veins near the rectum that become engorged because of the pressure on that part of the body or because of pushing during delivery. Some women notice hemorrhoids during pregnancy, others don’t have any problem with them until after delivery, and some very lucky women never have them at all.
If your hemorrhoids are significant, be prepared for some discomfort after vaginal delivery. Most hemorrhoids go away within a few weeks. If you’re fortunate enough not to have them, realize how lucky you are – and have sympathy for all the other new mothers who do have them.
9 – Sometimes Women Poop While Pushing: Our patients frequently ask us about having a bowel movement during labor, so although it may not be the most genteel subject to bring up, we’re going to anyway. Pooping while pushing doesn’t happen every time; however, it’s fairly common. In all likelihood, you and your partner aren’t even aware of it happening because your nurse quickly wipes away any mess and keeps you clean throughout the pushing process. If it does happen, don’t give it a thought. No one, including your doctor or your partner, is going to be grossed out.
10 – Breast Engorgement Really Sucks and Breast-feeding Can Be a Production: Of course you know your breasts fill up with milk after you deliver your baby. But what you may not have heard is how painful and cumbersome this engorgement can be if you aren’t breast-feeding, or when you decide to stop breast-feeding. Your breasts may become rock hard, tender, and warm, and they sometimes seem to grow to the size of blimps. Fortunately, the discomfort is temporary; this intense period of engorgement lasts only a couple of days.
We encourage all of our patients to breastfeed due to the benefits for the baby, but keep in mind it may be harder than you think. Needing some extra help and assistance is very natural. Fortunately, most hospitals have lactation specialists that can help you milk the process along.