Depending on your outlook, pregnancy can be thought of as something to be endured and suffered through, or as a beautiful stage of life to be valued and celebrated. If you’re in that first camp of thinkers, maybe you don’t know about all the awesome perks there are to pregnancy for your health and daily life, both during and after pregnancy.
This is not to say that pregnancy is not hard work. It is, without a doubt. You are growing a whole human being, and that doesn’t come without some proverbial elbow grease. But built into pregnancy, both in the natural biological functions and the societal understanding of childbearing, are a goody bag of benefits that make the work that much more enjoyable. Not to mention the fact that you are creating a life that you will love more than life itself, even if you don’t know how or why.
So if a woman is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, there is a lot to look forward to. Despite the food and alcohol limitations, and the general giantess that sometimes makes pregnancy a little annoying to muddle through, there are tons of benefits to pregnancy that will help make you feel loved and cared for, and even a little bit pampered. Maybe this is life's way of preparing you to provide all the love and caring that the baby will need once they finally arrive in this world.
15 Everyone Smiles At You
If you live in a city and are used to keeping your head down and just focusing on getting from point A to point B, this might come as a bit of a shock at first. Not only do most people love babies, they also love seeing babies-in-progress, namely you and your pregnant self. Even those who have never had kids, nor plan to, will often find it hard to suppress a smile when they see you and all your pregnant glory. While this may feel awkward or weird at first, this is a phenomenon to be embraced. You and the baby are bringing out the best in people, and you never know when you may be the only thing that makes someone smile that day. Enjoys the smiles you bring out in people, and you might just feel like smiling back.
14 Naps Are Encouraged
Imagine a world where naps are not only acceptable, they are encouraged. This world exists, and as a pregnant woman, you get to be part of it. Naps are one of the great things in life, and your reward for growing a new life inside of you. Fatigue can be a natural part of pregnancy as your body works hard to accommodate the demands the growing fetus is putting on your body. Naps of different lengths also do different things for you depending on what you need - short naps (less than 30 minutes) are better for restoring alertness and helping you recharge for your afternoon, while longer naps are better for boosting your memory and creativity. Use this perk often and well - your napping skills will come in handy when the baby comes, and you'll be grabbing some sleep when you can get your hands on it.
13 You Can Go Casual and Comfy
With online shopping and better designers, there are more options than ever to get cute and professional looking maternity clothing so that you don’t have to sacrifice style while your baby bump is growing. That said, pretty much all the clothing you’ll find is going to be stretchy in the best kind of way, so you’ll find this period of your life to be the most comfortable in terms of clothing. Your feet are no exception - swelling can make you go up a shoe size or more, so you’ll want to grab a pair of comfy, supportive shoes if your feet start to swell. With all these changes, most employers are a little more lax about your wardrobe as you go through this transition, so go as comfy as you can during this time, and relish all those elastic waistband pants.
12 The Ultimate Motivation for Eating and Exercising Well
We all want to eat well and exercise more, but there always seems to be some good excuse to grab those fries or put off that morning run. When you find yourself growing that new little life, you’ll find you have the best reason in the world to be careful about what foods go into your body, and how much better you feel when you get your steps in for the day. Motivation is a tricky beast, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, but as long as your pregnancy is healthy and uncomplicated, you have everything you need to focus on the health of you. Use this time (and excuse) to put aside what everyone else is asking of you, and focus on doing what’s best for you and the baby by eating right and getting moving.
11 Those Baby Kicks
This is one perk that is reserved for pregnant women, and pregnant women alone. The feeling of the first baby kicks will be hard to notice; they’ll come fleetingly, and you might have a hard time distinguishing them from a passing gas bubble (another, not so perky part of pregnancy). But once your baby grows stronger you’ll come to learn those kicks well, and you will relish the absurdness and comfort of those beautiful little movements. Almost like a form of communication, your baby’s kicks are one of the great pleasures of pregnancy and a great way to help bond with your partner, who will enjoy the opportunity to start bonding with the baby. Depending on your style, you may not want a bunch people feeling your belly, so just make sure to let those people know that you are clearly not interested in them molesting your tummy, and enjoy all those little kicks to yourself.
10 Intercourse During Pregnancy Can Be The Best
During your first trimester, having sex might be at the back of your mind as you get used to some of the more unpleasant parts of early pregnancy. The body is going through a whole lot of changes, so sometimes the first trimester can be a bit rough. But as your body gets used to the surging hormones, you might find yourself raring to go, and this can be an amazing time for your relationship with your partner. You might be in the mood, like a lot, and what better time to indulge than when you can’t get pregnant again! However, while am existing pregnancy prevents you from putting another bun in the oven, it won’t prevent sexually transmitted infections, so protection will still be needed if this is a concern. Just make sure to stay safe, and enjoy the ride.
9 Everybody Gives up their Seat
The days of crossing your fingers as you get on the bus or subway are over. One of the best perks of pregnancy is definitely that you will never be in need of a seat for more than a few seconds in a public place. Buses, concerts, coffee shops - anywhere someone can see you and your bump looking for a seat, you will find one offered up. Besides the benevolence of strangers and the fact that you probably are more tired than all the non-pregnant people, this tradition is actually really a safety issue when it comes to any kind of travel. With a growing belly can also come an increased loss of balance as your center of gravity shifts. This can lead to a potential fall on jerky public transit, so don’t be a hero, and take that seat when it’s offered.
8 Menstruation Vacation
Need I say more! Without that uterine lining building up and breaking down each month, you can enjoy a menstruation vacation! For the duration of your pregnancy, you can be reasonably sure that you’ll spend that nine months without dealing with Aunt Flo each month, even longer if you breastfeed. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it. Think of all the money saved on tampons and pads, as well as not having to make sure you always have something packed, just in case. It’s true, though, that some women still experience irregular period-like bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, and while this can be normal, any bleeding should be reported to your doctor asap. Most likely you’ll enjoy this glorious period-free wearing the whitest clothing you own if you feel like it, or donating your tampon stash to office bathroom.
7 The Best Excuse For Mood Swings
We all have bad days, and if you’re pregnant and donating all your energy and bodily fluids and sobriety to growing a baby, you may have more than one. All those hormones are to blame, and while your body is riding the endocrine rollercoaster, you mind find your moods swings from left to right in the span of a millisecond, and tears of joy and sorrow are not rare within the same hour. But you’re pregnant! Your emotional flexibility is natural and totally excusable, provided to don’t go too far and get really mean with your mom. Your body and brain are working hard for your baby, so people will excuse a little bit of variation in your mood, and write it off as pregnancy brain. Think of it in terms of double the emotional expression with half the long-term consequences.
6 Cravings Are Encouraged
While you should make a regular effort to maintain a healthy diet while pregnant, there is no better time in your life to have cheat days - a lot of them. Cravings are one of the great long-standing pregnancy traditions, and while many women experience normal to less-than-normal food cravings, there really isn’t a medically backed reason for these particular food urges. Some nutritionists think that it is your body’s way of asking for a nutrient it needs, so that need for chocolate may actually be your body’s way of telling you it needs more magnesium. As long as you are regularly eating balanced and varied meals and taking a good prenatal vitamin, feel free to indulge in those cravings. The best part, is that baby bump gives you immunity. Enjoy that Kit-Kat lasagna without fear of being judged, you've earned it!
5 Extra TLC
If you’re okay with an extra foot rub here and there, and yummy treats spontaneously appearing at your desk, then pregnancy might just be for you. Those who care about you are more likely to provide a little extra care and attention while you grow your baby bump, and you deserve it. And if for some reason that TLC is not offered up front, don’t be afraid to ask for it! Take yourself out for lunch (you’ll get the best seat in the place) and follow it up with a pedicure (you can’t reach your toes anyway). There's never a bad time to relax during pregnancy so why not get your toes all cute while you're at it. Self-care is so important, even more so during your pregnancy, so soak up all the extra love and devotion that is heading your way, and don't feel bad about letting friends and family pamper you.
4 Best Hair And Skin
There are a lot of changes the body goes through when adapting to grow a baby, and some of these changes can lead to the best hair and skin of your life. When pregnant, your hormones are firing off and constantly creating changes in the body. One change you'll notice is your hair. Pregnancy helps keep you from shedding most of your hair, so you may find you have a full and luscious locks by the time that baby bump reaches full ripeness. This is due to your higher estrogen levels, which makes your hair grow longer than usual.
The same goes for your fingernails, and while some women find they get stronger nails because of it, others find that they can become more brittle, so be sure to protect your hands if you are stuck with that second possibility. Either way, your increased blood volume will also help maintain that rosy pregnant glow that everyone talks about.
3 Live Long and Prosper
Not only are you growing a new life inside of you, but you may actually be prolonging your own life too! But first, a science lesson: did you know that during and after pregnancy, some of your baby's DNA stays in your body? The condition is known as microchimerism, (kind of like the mythical beast) and you will keep this foreign DNA for the rest of your life.
A 2014 Danish study found that the presence of this DNA, specifically the Y chromosomes you would get if you had a boy, was linked with a longer lifespan. Scientists aren't exactly sure why, but one theory suggests it might have to do with cells' ability to detect pathogenic cells, like cancer. So thank you pregnancy, and thank you little baby for making this one of the top perks on this list. Living a long life - what a plus!
2 Lower Cancer Risks
Speaking of the dreaded C, another little know pregnancy perk is that your risk for breast and reproductive organs drops. Essentially, pregnancy is a unique and profound biological event in a woman's body, and the all the processes that go with it such as the hormonal changes and the halting of ovarian cell division, have an impact on how the body changes over time and the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis.
Studies consistently show that women who have been pregnant at least once before they turn 30 years of age have a lower risk of breast cancer. In addition, having a baby before 30 puts less stress on the reproductive process and that can help reduce the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
1 Better Health Overall
Not only does a baby in your tummy help you take care of yourself now, but all the good habits you develop during your pregnancy, like eating well, exercising and going to regular health appointments, means that you're more likely to stay extra healthy after your baby is born. Doctors and midwives identify this practice as a cascade effect: the positive changes you make during a pregnancy are longer lasting than you might think, and lead to better overall habits and health for you in the long-term.
Think of your baby as your own, built-in life coach. They are the best motivators while you carry them around, and those good habits last long after they've popped into the world. This is especially helpful if you reduce or totally kick an unhealthy habit like excessive drinking or smoking. Let your baby help you be the best person, and mom, you can be.
Pregnancy has it's downside, but after running through these 15 perks, it seems like there's an equal upside.