Being pregnant is supposed to be one of the most joyous times in a woman’s life. The realization that mom has a human life within her in and of itself is remarkable. Seeing the growing bump, seeing the images of the baby on a sonogram, and actually feeling the movements of your little one are astounding experiences. Looking into the future and picturing holding that sweet little one in your arms and envisioning what the future will hold is enough to make any expectant mom cry with joy.
Yes, being pregnant is one of the most incredible experiences that any woman can have. However, while it’s amazing and life-changing, not all of the changes you experience are awesome. In fact, you’ll spend a lot of those 9 months experiencing changes that will make you uncomfortable. In fact, many of them will make it seem as if the pregnancy will be impossible to get through. The mood swings, the morning sickness, the mood swings, the aches and pains, the mood swings, the exhaustion… and did I mention the mood swings? Yes, while being pregnant is incredible, it can also be a downright pain in the rump – and lower back, boobs, feet, and pelvic region.
A lot of the discomfort you experience is unavoidable, but there are ways to make it easier to cope with. Unfortunately, modern life makes it difficult for women to slow down, relax, and seek the comfort they need during this delicate time, which can make pregnancy a whole lot harder to deal with.
If you’re expecting, here’s a look at 15 things you might be doing that will make your pregnancy harder – and 5 simple ways that you can make it easier.
20 Staying Up Past Bedtime
Every pregnant woman is inundated with advice and tips from people she knows and people she’s never met in her life. Some of that advice is unwanted and you just have to take with a grain of salt, but some of it is useful, like getting as much sleep as you can before the baby arrives (if I had a dollar for every time I heard that during both of my pregnancies, I’d be living on my own tropical island!) Yet many expectant moms don’t heed that advice. Whether it’s because they have too much on their minds, too much to do, or because they want to catch up on their favorite shows, moms-to-be often don’t get the sleep that they need.
According to Live Science, pregnant women should try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every day. Anything less can certainly make pregnancy more difficult. It compounds the exhaustion that you’re already feeling and can even lead to problems during labor and delivery.
19 Wearing Cute Shoes
OK, maybe “cute” isn’t the right word; maybe the better word would be unsupportive. Flip flops, stilettos, platforms, super-high wedges… Basically, wearing shoes that offer little to no support during pregnancy can definitely make things harder. You’re already experiencing aches and pains, and wearing unsupportive shoes will only compound the problems.
If you’re expecting, support should trump style when it comes to footwear. That’s not to say all supportive shoes are ghastly; there are tons of great options that are both cute and offer great support. The more conscious you are about your footwear, the more comfortable you’re going to be and the less taxing your pregnancy will be.
18 Trying To Do It All
I get it: as a fierce, independent women who gets things done, it’s hard to relinquish control and realize that you can’t do it all – especially when you are used to doing it all on your own; but trying to keep up with that super busy pace that you’re used to can make things harder. Your exhaustion levels have already reached maximum capacity, you’re hormonal, you’re uncomfortable, and you’re dealing with all of the changes to your body and emotions. If you keep on trying to do it all, you will end up crashing and burning big time. Plus, you could put yourself at serious risk of complications, such as dehydration, anxiety, and stress; all things that can be dangerous for you and the little bambino you’re growing.
17 Eating For Two
Now is the time that you get to indulge in all of those foods that you would normally shy away and forget about portion sizes. While you may be tempted to eat for two (as the old saying goes), in reality, you’re calorie intake should be roughly the same as it was before pregnancy. Eating more won’t provide better nourishment for the baby, as a lot of expectant moms assume; rather, you’re more likely to put on too much weight, which can lead to a host of problems, as Baby Center points out.
Eating a well-balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods is just as important when you’re pregnant as when you aren’t. Actually, it’s even more important.
16 Pushing The Limit
When you’re pregnant, your body sends you signs that it’s time to take a break and get some rest. But if you’re the go-getter type, instead of listening to those signs, you probably just ignore them. For instance, when your back starts aching while you’re in the middle of tending to your regular job duties, you might be tempted to push through the pain. You can always put your feet up and relax later, right?
While a good work ethic is definitely commendable, when you’re expecting, you really need to realize that you have limits and slow your roll a bit. If you keep on pushing yourself, you’ll only increase your discomfort, stress yourself out, and you may even put yourself at risk for serious complications.
15 Satisfying The Travel Bug
There’s nothing better than leaving your cares behind, hitting the open road (or road, rails, or sea) and seeing what adventures await you.
While traveling affords some amazing opportunities and is generally considered safe throughout pregnancy, as noted by the American Pregnancy Association, there is a chance that it could make things a bit harder for you. For example, if you’re struggling with morning sickness, traveling could make the symptom worse. There’s also a chance that you could develop blood clots while flying (something that expectant woman are more prone to). Plus, sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase swelling and just make you feel more uncomfortable. Also, if you may want to put off traveling near your due date. What happens if you go into labor while you’re away from home or en-route to your destination? Imagine giving birth while you're several thousand feet off the ground? Yikes!
14 Being A Couch Potato
Morning sickness, all-encompassing exhaustion, cankles, backaches; there are so many reasons why sitting put on the couch is more attractive than being physically active when you’re pregnant. While yes, you definitely need to take breaks and get your rest, planting yourself on the couch too much could actually make things harder for you.
It might sound counterproductive, but the more physically active you are, the less those annoying pregnancy symptoms will bother you. Why? – Because activity keeps the blood flowing, increases your oxygen intake, strengthens the muscles, and just takes your mind off of your ailments. While being dormant may sound appealing, it can actually make things a lot harder for you.
13 Feeling Sorry
Being pregnant is hard work. Your emotions are running wild, your body is changing in crazy ways, you’re uncomfortable, you can’t sleep, and you have so much on your mind. Add to all of that the fact that you can’t hang with your girlfriends the way you used to, getting around is difficult, and you have to trade in your cute pre-pregnancy clothes for maternity duds, and it’s really easy to feel sorry for yourself.
Throwing a pity party for yourself will only make you feel depressed, which makes things way worse. So keep your chin up and try to focus on all the wonderful things about being pregnant – and of course, the end result!
12 Avoiding Self-Care
Women are caregivers by nature. They tend to put their own needs on the backburner so they can tend to others, whether it’s their other half, friends, family members, or even colleagues. Not paying attention to your own needs can be damaging when you’re flying solo, but when you’re growing another being, it can be even more damaging. You’ll experience all of the effects that you would normally experience when you don’t care for yourself – fatigue, depression, anxiety, and just being burned out – but those effects will be amplified times 1,000 when you’re pregnant and can lead to complications. So mama, do yourself a favor and put YOU on the top of your list of priorities!
11 Obsessing About Looks
When you’re pregnant, your body changes in so many ways. Of course, the most obvious change is the baby bump, but there are other physical changes you’re going to experience, too. For example, you’ll put on weight (in addition to the baby), you may swell, your skin might get oily and you could be more prone to breakouts, and you may also sport what’s known as the “mask of pregnancy” (a condition known as melasma, which causes dark, blotchy patches on the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip, states What To Expect).
With all of these physical changes, you might feel like you don’t look like yourself, and you might start obsessing over your looks. But being so concerned with your appearance will only make you feel more self-conscious, and when you’re self-conscious, which will only make your pregnancy harder.
10 Only Focusing On The Pregnancy
When you’re growing another human being inside of you, it’s hard to focus on anything else other than being pregnant. And of course, it’s wise to focus on your pregnancy. After all, you need to pay attention to signs that may indicate a problem, and you just want to relish the pure joy of this incredible time in your life.
But don’t let your pregnancy consume you so much that you forget everything else in your life, like your friends, your family, and your partner. Your loved ones may start to resent you, which could cause a serious rift in your relationship and only make things harder.
9 Not Going To Pre-Natal Appointments
The importance of prenatal care cannot be stressed enough. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, regular prenatal care – which includes routine visits with an OBGYN – improves the health of mom-to-be and her baby.
Despite the importance, a lot of women slack when it comes to scheduling and actually going to prenatal appointments, which can definitely make things harder. You could be suffering from serious conditions that could put the health of your baby – and yourself – at risk, completely unbeknownst to you. Plus, you miss out on valuable tips and advice that could help make your pregnancy easier.
8 Shirking Advice From Doctors
If you do go to regular prenatal appointments, there’s no doubt that your doctor will provide you with important tips and advice, but you may shrug off that advice. Sure, you know your body better than anyone else, but your doctor is a medical professional with tons of knowledge and experience in obstetrics, so it’s safe to say that while you may know your body the best, your doctor knows pregnancy better than you do. Not taking his or her advice could lead to complications that could make your pregnancy even harder, so make sure you listen with open ears and heed the information your doctor provides.
7 Taking Opinions To Heart
While you listening to the advice your doctor gives you can definitely help to make your pregnancy easier, taking the opinions of non-medical professionals to heart could make it harder. For some reason, people have a tendency to share their opinions and unwanted advice with expectant women, no matter how offensive or ridiculous it may be. If you take those opinion to heart, you’ll probably start feeling inept and second-guess yourself. If there’s anyone you’re going to shirk advice from, let it be the non-medical professionals who think they know everything, when in fact, they know little (if anything at all). You got this, mama!
6 Being Too Hard On Yourself
Expectant moms tend to be really hard on themselves. Even if they are eating right, taking prenatal vitamins, going to all of their checkups, and following the advice that their doctors give them, they still worry that they are doing something wrong.
From the moment you find out that you’re pregnant, you want to do the very best for your child and you second-guess if what you’re doing is good enough. You don’t want to make any mistakes that could possibly mess them up, and so you stress about every decision you make and everything that you do. Being too hard on yourself will only make you stressed out and make your pregnancy even harder.
5 Know Your Limits
Trying to do it all leave you feeling exhausted, stressed, and just burnt out, things that are detrimental to your overall health and well-being at any time in your life. But when you’re pregnant, the effects of pushing your limits can lead to serious complications. Not only will you feel even more exhausted than you already do, but your aches and pains will be intensified, and your mental health could be compromised. The stress of pushing yourself can also lead to pregnancy complications, such as weight loss and pre-term labor. Make sure you know what your limits are and listen to your body. When you feel like you need a break, take one. Nobody is going to fault you for taking a break!
4 Wear Comfy Attire
It’s no secret that pregnancy can be uncomfortable. Nay, it can be downright painful. The aches and pains, the swelling, the extra weight, the baby pushing up into your ribcage and making you feel like you can’t breathe… Why make your discomfort even worse by wearing restrictive clothing? Sure, it might look cute, but what you need when you’re pregnant is clothing that moves and breathes. You don’t have to look frumpy; there’s plenty of super trendy maternity clothing that’s also super comfortable. The more comfortable your attire is, the more comfortable you’re going to be. And while you’re at it, put on some comfy and supportive shoes, too!
3 Ask For Help
Even if you’re the independent type and you never rely on anyone else for help, that’s definitely going to change once the baby arrives. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. You’re going to need help with your little one, so why not get used to asking for help while you’re pregnant. And it’s not like you can’t use the help! Trying to keep on all of the housework, running errands, getting everything prepared for the baby, and going to work all while growing and carrying a little one is a lot! Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your loved ones will be more than happy to oblige. Heck, you might even be surprised to find how helpful perfect strangers can be!
2 Treat Yourself
Despite what a lot of women think, treating yourself is not frivolous; it’s a necessity – especially when you’re pregnant. Make time to treat yourself to some much-needed TLC. Go get a pedicure or a prenatal massage, take regular soaks in warm bubble baths, take naps, or just sit down and relax! Taking care of yourself can help to ease your aches and pains, soothe your mind, and just let your body get the break that it needs. Girl, you’re growing an entire human being! Take a load of a treat yourself! If there’s anyone who deserves a little self-indulgence, it’s an expectant mom.
OK, this might seem like a difficult task, but the importance of sleep cannot be stressed enough. It's important when you're not pregnant, but when you're growing a tiny human, sleep is vital. Your body is doing a lot of work, and sleep rejuvenates not only your body but your mind, as well. In fact, lack of sleep can compound all of the pregnancy symptoms that you are experiencing and make things even harder. So, mama-to-be, do yourself a favor and invest in one of those luxurious pregnancy pillows, turn the air conditioner on full blast, hang up some blackout curtains, and get yourself some Zzz's!
References: livescience.com, babycenter.com, americanpregnancy.org, www.whattoexpect.com, www.nichd.nih.gov