For every woman out there who loves every single trimester of pregnancy, there’s one who loathes it. There seems to be a strong love-hate relationship amongst many mommies-to-be and their so-called delicate condition. Some want to revel in it and hope to carry a child as many times as their bodies can handle it.
Others can’t fathom giving their first child a sibling because it was just too hard to bear those nine long months.
There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to pregnancy, and some of them may not be so obvious. While a lot of ladies look forward to the experience of carrying a baby in their bellies, a lot of women are uncomfortable in their own skin the entire time. Some women even encounter progesterone allergies that literally make them develop hives and joint pain as a result of the hormone surges that every pregnant woman is fated to experience.
Others relish carrying a baby. They are beyond thrilled from the moment that test screams positive. They can barely contain themselves in the early weeks as they try to keep their status a secret from loved ones. When the news breaks, they are elated to share frequent pictures of their belly bumps with the world. These women embrace their new curves and see this journey toward motherhood as a rite of passage.
In the end, pregnancy ends as birth commences. But for many, this is another thing to fear or even hate. They don’t look forward to the birth. They are scared of what may happen. They don’t feel in control, and they worry that interventions will be needed.
On the flip side, some women are over-prepared — if that’s possible. They anticipate labor and look forward to experiencing what hundreds of thousands of women have before them. They look beyond the negative points and bathe themselves in the positives of pregnancy. Every woman should be encouraged to take this approach. It rarely ends in disappointment.
Is there anything more liberating than not having to worry about birth control when we’re getting down to business? No more pills; no more checking for that IUD string; and no more mood swings caused by those nasty synthetic hormones.
We all look forward to the day we become mothers, and those of us who have used synthetic birth controls would be lying if we said that tossing those pills and rings to the side wasn’t a part of that equation.
It’s not all about synthetics, though. Sometimes, even women who use natural forms of birth control are keen on dropping their charts and basal body thermometers for something a little freer from restriction. In other words, we women want to have sex and have no worries. We want to relish what that actually feels like. Kind of like men do! Where’s the equality?
Many women are surprised by how soon they seem to be showing during a pregnancy. They knew the bump could come out of nowhere, but everything they’re reading says that their uterus is deep within the pelvis until at least 12 weeks along. So how are they bumping out at 8 weeks? Progesterone, my friend. It’s all in the progesterone.
Among all the hormones coursing through your veins, progesterone is multiplying rapidly. You’ll make more of it during this pregnancy than you will your whole life of not being pregnant. What is progesterone known for besides maintaining a pregnancy? Making you bloat, of course!
No amount of natural diuretics or water will flush this bloat out, but we still encourage you to down plenty of H20. Meanwhile, nix the caffeine despite how well you think it might help you look a little less pregnant. Understandably, a lot of couples aren’t digging the idea of letting their secret out of the bag too soon, but it’s best to try to cover that bump rather than get rid of it.
On the flipside from all the bloating, there will be a real bump that emerges, and it will be worth the wait. After the placenta begins to produce progesterone for you around 12 to 14 weeks, that bloating will subside and the bump that forms after this stage will be the real deal that you can completely revel in.
As your belly grows, there will be plenty of time for bump selfies and admiring it as you slather on another layer of coconut oil. Well-meaning friends and family will want to touch the emerging baby bump, too.
Try to understand the urge to feel the baby kick from another person’s perspective, but don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re uncomfortable with it. Hey, you can always touch their belly in return! No, they don’t have to be pregnant. That’s the point!
Here’s the thing with gaining weight during pregnancy: it can be a real toss-up. It’s not quite as easy to control how much you gain as some of those pregnancy books let on. No mom-to-be wants to be so strict with herself while pregnant that she never once indulges. Some women will actually lose weight in the beginning of pregnancy. Others will start gaining right from the start.
Weight gain only becomes an issue when women are overweight. Whether you started that way or not doesn’t really matter. While some women are accustomed to gaining a quick 30 pounds while pregnant and dropping it right away, that doesn’t happen for every woman.
Some ladies will struggle for years after having just one baby to get back to their pre-pregnant size. Try to remember that you aren’t really eating for two. You only need about 400 extra calories per day while pregnant. Moderation is key, mommies.
Part of the perks to pregnancy come from all that extra circulation of blood flowing through your veins. One benefit to that is the vibrant hue it lends to your skin as it gets more blood flow. Normally, the top layer of skin is the furthest from the blood supply. For that reason, it can often appear dull or sallow.
Adding this boost in circulation lends more oxygen to the skin. So, skin cells die less often and skin needs exfoliated less frequently.
In addition, estrogen levels are higher during pregnancy. By default, this boosts collagen levels in the skin. That collagen plumps up the skin and makes us appear younger. It makes our skin seem firmer and more taut. This is a pretty appealing feature for most women. Enjoy it while it lasts, because those estrogen levels plummet postpartum, and the blood circulation drops once that placenta is delivered.
Of course, we must take the good with the bad when it comes to our skin and pregnancy. All those excess hormones also mean excess sebum. This is the oil that your skin produces. The more androgen hormones there are flowing through your body, the most sebum your body will produce. This leads to greasier hair and yes, acne.
A lot of pregnant women are upset to see that not only do pimples start springing up on their face, but they start popping up on the rest of their body, too. Oh, the horror! What can you do about these unsightly bumps and lumps of redness? Not much, unfortunately!
Exfoliating regularly and oil cleansing may help a lot of women. This involves cleaning the face with a moisturizing oil, like jojoba oil, and allowing the oil to dissolve the sebum in the pores. It’s a great alternative to drying agents that contain benzoyl peroxide, which is harsh on our sensitive pregnant lady skin. Salicylic acid should never be used while pregnant, either.
Every pregnant woman out there is anxiously awaiting the moment she feels the urge to nest hit her. It’s invigorating. It overwhelms them with an obnoxious amount of energy that they’ve needed for months. Not only do they want to start preparing the nursery for the new arrival, but they also might take to cleaning out closets and wiping out the shelves in the kitchen cabinets. Nesting leaves no stone unturned.
When it hits, these mommas can easily overdo it. So, it’s important to remind themselves that they need to take it easy and only take on what their body can physically handle in a realistic nature. It may seem — at the time — like they can handle a lot more, but the truth it, they are still pregnant and another person is depending on their body. Easy does it, mommies!
On the other side of that coin, energy can certainly wane during the majority of a pregnancy. The first trimester is full of a strong need to nap and women who are desperate for a little extra shuteye. For working women or those who are already mothers, it may be difficult to work more time for sleep into their already hurried schedules.
While the second trimester usually spells relief from a lot of that fatigue for most women, the third trimester often brings with it the same lethargy and sleepiness that they were itching to get away from early on. Mommies, this is the time to relax.
Soon, you will be getting even less sleep when you’re up feeding a newborn every couple of hours. Take this time now to work in an extra nap every day and let hubby do the dishes.
Even though only 300 to 500 calories more are needed in your daily diet compared to when you weren’t pregnant, eating for two has its benefits. From time to time, when you’re craving pickles and ice cream — or whatever you fancy — you can actually have them. Indulge.
No one is going to judge you. Your partner might even fight your new quirk endearing. We can’t say this would be the same case if you weren’t preggers. There’s room for a little extra in there despite your growing uterus, so feel free to grab seconds if your heart desires.
Just make sure you aren’t overdoing it too much, too often. Those calories do add up, and fast! It’s best to take things in terms of trimesters. During the first trimester, more weight gain isn’t really necessary, but some women will still gain five pounds or so. By the second trimester, moms should be looking at having gained at least ten pounds.
By the time the third trimester commences, up to 17 pounds in accumulation is normal. By the end of it all, that could double.
Ugh, no one envies this part of pregnancy. If you’re really lucky, you may escape it altogether. But by the end of pregnancy, almost all expectant moms encounter it at least a handful of times. During pregnancy, all that progesterone that the placenta is making to support the pregnancy also contributes to slowing down the digestive tract.
For this reason, not only does constipation often ensue, but women may experience indigestion and heartburn, too. The reason is that there is far less stomach bile being produced. In other words, food digests much slower.
As a result, food sits in the stomach and without enough bile to break it down, the stomach acid may sit in the belly and leach back up the throat, causing a burning sensation and discomfort. Fortunately, most of the time a shot of apple cider vinegar and papaya enzymes can help bring women back to a comfortable place.
Although over-the-counter antacids are thought of as safe for use during pregnancy, they do commonly contain artificial sweeteners. In addition, they prevent b vitamin absorption and can contribute to early calcification of the placenta. So, their use is controversial at best.
Is there anything more comfortable that pants that conform to you instead of pants that expect you to conform to them? Any woman who’s ever worn a pair of suit pants or tried to force herself into those capris from last season that aren’t quite fitting the same this season knows that there is something to envy about pregnant women.
Of course, today we live in the land of stretch pants. Every woman, pregnant or not, is boasting her favorite pair of leggings or yoga pants in public somewhere these days. Still, there is something far more comfortable about maternity clothing that just can’t be put into words.
There’s just so much room in a pair of maternity jeggings. We can’t forget about those maternity pajama pants, either. Most of us will keep wearing them well into the postpartum phase, because who’s going to check us anyway?
Stretch marks might be a mortal nemesis for some women. They just don’t compare to clear skin, okay? We are all willing to pay the price to bring our babies into the world. We just wish society was a little cooler with the look of stripes across our breasts and midsections and less keen on clear, glowing, freshly-sun-kissed model skin. Got it?
So, what can a momma do when that first stretch mark shows up seemingly overnight? Pray! There are worse things in this world, and they truly do all fade to an opaque hue with a little time and patience. Stretch marks — or tiger stripes as some mommas call them — are stripes you’ve earned trudging through nature to bring life to your child.
Some of it’s genetic. So, if your mom got stretch marks while she was pregnant, you might, too. Likewise, if she didn’t, you could skip out on them altogether. On the flipside, hydration is important. Listen up, mommies. No amount of body butter or coconut oil (which is actually pretty drying and doesn’t penetrate skin well at all) will prevent these suckers. They start deep beneath the surface of the skin. So, hydration has to start there, too. Drink up!
One of the best parts of pregnancy occurs every time you get to feel that baby move inside of you. With that first movement, you feel yourself starting to question whether or not that was just intestinal gas or something more. Come on, we all know we like to veer on the side of something more!
Those little flutters early on turn into tumbles, rolls, jabs, and somersaults faster than we know what happened. In just a few short weeks, we go from wondering if that was fetal movement to practicing our fetal kick counts.
Every time the baby gives us another jolt to the ribs, we are reminded of how amazing it is to carry our child alongside our heart. Each time they stick an elbow or foot our toward our belly button, we are inclined to grab Dad’s hand and try to catch the movement in time for him. There is nothing sweeter in this world than feeling that baby move around in side of you, perhaps, until they’re outside of you and grasping your finger.
So, while your baby is full of energy and moving so much that you can’t catch any shuteye all night long, you are feeling quite the opposite toward the end of pregnancy. As things progress, you might find yourself feeling a little bit tighter on mobility. Even though all that relaxin hormone is loosening your joints, you can’t seem to get into a comfortable position anymore.
That belly is getting in the way of everything. The seat belt disappears underneath it in the car. The items on the top shelves of the kitchen cabinets are out of reach because your belly and the countertop are clashing. You can’t even dry off your whole body post-shower at this point without engaging in serious acrobatics.
You are tired. Everything is swollen. Those comfy stretch pants are starting to get a little less comfortable. There’s not much more room for adjustment in the waistband. Twisting at the waist is a thing of the past, because, well, you no longer have a waist. Breathe, momma. No one stays pregnant forever.
Even though around 8 percent of pregnant women experience heavy bleeding during pregnancy, most are free from bleeding for nine long months, and a glorious nine long months they are. There’s no more worry that we’ll ruin the new bed sheets tonight. We don’t have to be concerned with mood swings or irritability that encroach upon us every luteal phase.
Although, admittedly, pregnancy brings trials of its own.
There’s no reason to send your hubby to the store for tampons. You only need to focus on those homemade postpartum padsicles. There will be no cramps, but you can probably expect a fair amount of backache considering the load your front side will be taking on. It’s a welcomed advantage of pregnancy that we don’t have to deal with the fertility cycle for a while.
That said, relish the experience, because your period will return at some point and often with a vengeance!
Sources: Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology