Pregnancy is brutal, or at the very least for most women. There are ups and downs, but not every woman can say that it is a totally stressful and tough experience. However, for some women it is that and more. From the second they see that line on the pregnancy stick, they are struggling with physical discomfort and pain, as well as psychological stress and hormones that are raging and out of control. They are not doing anything out of the ordinary prior to becoming pregnant or during those early months. They just do not get the luck of the draw to have an easy pregnancy at all.
They may find themselves dreading every day of their pregnancy and counting down to baby’s birth not just for the obvious reason they want to meet their baby, but also because they are suffering in a body that is theirs but not really theirs. It has been invaded by their baby who has taken over and pretty much dictated how things will be going henceforth.
Of course every Mom knows it is all worth it to help bring her baby into the world, but it sure makes the incredible journey of carrying a baby extraordinarily difficult when it does not need to be. It also makes it bittersweet for women who are excited at first to be growing life inside themselves, but dreading each day handling extreme ill health.
The challenge is to have people around them believe the seriousness of their condition and make sure they have medical support when they need it. In order to have that, the woman needs to share all her health information with her medical team so they know she needs extra support. On that note, here are 15 Things That ACTUALLY Define a Tough Pregnancy:
Anyone would agree that one of the worst things a woman can experience in pregnancy is hyperemesis, in other words, horrible nausea and vomiting that is pretty much continuous from the time she becomes pregnant until the end when baby pops out. Many women in this situation have IV’s inserted into them to replenish the lost fluids due to vomiting and/or diarrhea that they are losing through the morning sickness. Still, it is a miserable experience not being able to enjoy food and eating among the other discomforts women who suffer from this go through. Celebrity cases like Princess Kate have showed us all the ups and downs of the struggle of living with hyperemesis. Thankfully most babies are born healthy and Moms are no worse for wear after suffering with this in pregnancy.
Gestational Diabetes is something that happens when a woman is pregnant and her sugar glucose levels get too high. This is dangerous for her and her baby if it is not monitored and controlled. It could spark premature labor and all other sorts of birth complications as well as future health problems for mom and baby. It basically arises when the body does not produce enough insulin, and glucose remains in the blood instead of moving into cells and converting into energy. When a woman is pregnant a woman’s body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin so it can become available to her baby. For most women this is not a problem as the pancreas balances things out, but for women whose pancreas can’t keep up with this demand, they develop gestational diabetes. The good thing is that it does not last beyond pregnancy, and after baby is born things return to normal.
High blood pressure is something else that can develop for a lot of women during pregnancy, though for a lot of women they have this problem before they are pregnant, too. Though it is true that many women with high blood pressure have healthy babies who do not have serious problems, high blood pressure can be dangerous for mom and baby. They can end up developing gestational hypertension. This can affect Mom’s organs, kidney’s and lead to a low birth weight and early delivery of baby. This is something that needs to be closely monitored, and definitively can lead to a less than ideal pregnancy experience. A lot of women are extra stressed with the added worry about their physical health. However, with the proper medical attention and close monitoring by her medical team, she and her baby will be in good hands for a safe delivery.
Then there is exhaustion. Being pregnant means you will be feeling tired and need to rest more, possibly taking more cat naps. But this is not the same as extreme exhaustion where even with resting, cat naps, and mini rest breaks throughout the day, she still feels like she has not slept a wink and has to stay in bed. This is serious and this extreme exhaustion may mean pretty much bed rest for most of her pregnancy, if not all of it. It will also mean that she will not have a lot of energy and will be overwhelmed by a lot of things due to her low energy levels. She might feel a little scared by this, but unfortunately this is something that happens to some Moms. She needs to take care of herself and let her medical team know so they can decide if there is anything else they can do.
Oh yikes. There are no words to describe the difficulty of this one for an individual who isn’t pregnant. Imagine if a woman is carrying a little human around inside of her, and ahem, cannot go to the loo regularly? It makes things pretty darn uncomfortable in those nether regions that do need regular relief. So what’s a woman to do? Again, letting her medical team know is the first step. She could also do her best to exercise and move as much as she can. She could also make sure she is including a lot of fiber, fruits and vegetables in her diet. This is not foolproof, but can help a lot with digestion and passing things through. In addition to other pregnancy complications, it’s best to try and nip this one in the bud before it can even start.
This one is another difficult one to handle. Who can function by working, eating, moving and living comfortably if they are dizzy all the time or most of the time? It makes it really challenging for the Mom-to-Be and very uncomfortable. The important thing is that she lets her doctor or team know so that they can try different things to help. Dizziness is caused by rising hormones which cause a woman’s blood vessels to relax and widen. This is good as it helps increase blood flow to the baby, but it slows the return of blood to Mom-to-be. This will inevitably means her blood pressure will be lower than usual, which will result in reducing blood flow to her brain. This is what causes the temporary dizziness.
Pre-eclampsia starts around the 20th week of pregnancy. It is related to rising blood pressure and protein in the woman’s urine. This is usually do to kidney problems in the Mom-to-be. Mom's placenta, kidney, liver and brain are all affected. It can cause seizures too if it is not regulated. It can also lead to fetal complications with things like low birth weight, premature birth and stillbirth. There is no way to prevent this condition. Once it is detected a woman has to be closely monitored to make sure more complications do not develop. The only cure is to deliver the baby. Therefore, this means from the beginning the woman has to be closely monitored for any kind of complications and it makes pregnancy all that much more challenging.
Then there are the women who are pregnant and cannot sleep. This is almost as bad as sleeping too much, though at least there she is preserving some energy for herself as baby takes so much. With not sleeping, no one wins-not her or baby. This is especially challenging as it makes the hormonal issues of pregnancy harder to handle, her immunity is lowered if she is not resting, and if she is working, it makes the challenges of pregnancy that much more difficult. For this condition, she may have to go on medication to help with sleep, but again she must consult her medical care practitioner to see exactly what her best course of action can be. In the end, it has to be something that is good for herself and her baby.
Ouch! There is nothing worse than ligament pain for a Mom-to-be who already has plenty of aches and pains from her pregnancy. Her body is changing daily in its needs, and with it comes new daily challenges. A pulled muscle on the legs is one of the worst to handle, also called “Charlie horses”. She cannot walk and the pain is excruciating. There is also upper legs pain and pains in neck and arms which can do a woman in. She may love that she is carrying life, but at these moments is probably praying for it to be the nine month mark when junior would be ready to emerge and meet the world. At least, she has that consolation that she is not suffering for nothing, but it does not make the pain easier when it is happening.
Ah sciatic back pain also known as sciatica. This is not only no walk in the park, but one of the most brutal pains to suffer through at all. And if a woman is pregnant, well, it just makes the pain that much worse as she is navigating this with more weight and pressure on her other muscles. She is also limited in what kind of pain meds she can take if any. Being pregnant, she needs to be extra sure that she does not take anything dangerous for baby in the long run. There is not too much more doctors can do for her, but she will probably be told to put compresses on her back, stay off her feet as much as she can, and not carry anything heavy, (that is outside of baby.).
If she needs surgery too due to other medical issues, this is a whole other ballgame. Many women on the parenting forums have complained about the pain of having to have tumors and/or kidney stones removed when they were already pregnant. Not only does this make things more uncomfortable for them, but most likely for baby too causing some distress. Now of course this surgery had to be done otherwise it could be life or death for these ladies. However, the pain of the surgery mixed in with their pregnancy hormones and the side effects of the drugs which they unfortunately had to take, it very stressful all around. It’s enough to make many of the women become depressed and anxious which could trigger birth complications down the line, for example needing an emergency c-section.
Extreme thirst is another side effect that sometimes occurs during pregnancy. This is usually when a woman has not been able to keep food or liquid down and is vomiting most things up. It could also be that she has no appetite and cannot eat or drink regularly. This is challenging as it will prevent her from getting the nutrients she and baby will need to survive and thrive, and affect the way that baby develops, too. A doctor will right away try to find out why a woman is not drinking or eating and give her drugs to stimulate her appetite which are said to be safe for baby. Other suggestions would be having many light meals a day instead of 3 big ones .This could help with appetite too.
Other Moms in the chat groups talked about when they went into premature labor and the fact that doctors had to give them steroids to stop the premature contractions. This also would be a tough pregnancy and be a rough decision for the doctor to make, but obviously if it is too early, the dangers of baby being born at this time is worse than the potential issues with giving steroids and its side effects afterwards. Baby’s and Moms’ health has to be top priority and on everyone’s agenda so that when baby is born she is happy, healthy and a safe weight. It is also so Mom will fare well and be healthy after birth too. A baby born too far in advance has lots of health risks, such as developmental and physical delays that may be present.
Of course we have all heard of postpartum depression and mood swings affecting new Mom, but what about prenatally? Yes, there are many women who do suffer from mood swings and prenatal depression which affect the way they care for themselves, their physical health goes, along with how they interact with people. All of these things add up to a healthy Mom-to-be and how she views herself, her baby and the world around her. It is important that she take her feelings seriously and get help so she and her baby can be as healthy and happy as possible. Her medical team are there to support her, and family and friends need to rally around her and remind her about her importance and her role in being healthy for herself and her child.