Moms-to-be undergo a lot of different kinds of pressure when they discover they are expecting. Friends, family and just the things happening within can be challenging to digest all at once. One may find themselves questioning the type of mother they will be, what choices they will make for child care, and the inevitable, how will I get my body back? Luckily pregnancy only lasts nine months. Which, as it turns out, is just enough time to create a life and drive ourselves a bit crazy. Social media does not do much to help in that department. Studies have shown that social media can drastically alter how people, especially pregnant women, feel. Looking at other information pregnant women share and seeing how they look can influence one's own experience. So it is important to know the facts and embrace one's own personal journey.
So, whether this article serves as a walk down memory lane or a reference guide to what lies ahead, don't fret much of the pressure is normal and is manageable. We have compiled the 20 most common pressures a woman feels while carrying her unborn baby. P.S. we even threw in a few helpful tips on how to help deal with the pressure too!
20 The Social Pressure
Being pregnant in today's day and age can be a real drag. Celebrities bounce back in the blink of an eye or look perfect during their entire nine months, while the average person seems to battle hormones, crazy hair, and swollen... everything. It is common to feel as though you are supposed to do certain things during your pregnancy. Eat this, look like that, wear this, don't complain about that, society can really bring the heat during pregnancy. It's important to remember that every baby is different, and so is every mother, while many things will be the same during your pregnancy as they are for other women, how you adjust to them or feel about them can vary.
19 Abdominal Pressure
When you are pregnant the kinds of abdominal pressure you may feel seem endless. From the nausea in the first trimester pressuring you to run to the bathroom, to the pressure to run and pee toward the end of the second trimester, to the pressure of your organs shifting to accommodate your expanding uterus in the third trimester, your abdomen gets one heck of a workout. And all the while the skin on your abdomen is stretching as far as it ever has to cover your growing baby bump, putting pressure on you to keep it moisturized. The best way to beat abdominal pressure? Sleep. Sleeping during pregnancy can make nausea less intense, the weight of the baby less severe on your body, and laying down somehow can make you feel like your skin is doing less work. Get some shut-eye, mama you deserve it.
18 Mental Pressure (AKA Headaches)
Ever get that nagging ache in the center of your eyebrows? Ever notice you get it more and more frequently during pregnancy? Tension headaches are a kind of pressure many pregnant moms just can't beat during pregnancy, especially since most over-the-counter medicines are unsafe for your unborn baby. Blame it on the added pressure of being pregnant overall, or perhaps your increased blood volume to support your growing baby tension headaches are no fun and can really take some of the joy out of growing a life. Need a break? Try light exercise like walking or swimming to alleviate some of the head pressure. Just in case, Tylenol is said to be safe during pregnancy if all else fails.
17 Chest Pressure (AKA Heartburn)
The third trimester puts a lot of pressure on the body. For many new moms, one unforgettable symptom of pressure is heartburn. Heartburn can be awful and kind of gross. Some moms find themselves belching uncontrollably, while others just feel the burning sensation of whatever they just ate coming back up whenever they lie down. The real reason why heartburn happens during pregnancy is because of the increase in estrogen levels relaxing your esophagus. Need solutions? Try waiting at least an hour after eating before lying down and try your best to avoid acidic food, even if you are craving them. Sleeping on your left side at night could help as well.
16 Even The Girls Feel Pressure
For many men, the major perk of having a pregnant wife at home is her growing breasts. For her, however, these new alluring attributes can be a bit of a pain. Growing breasts can put a lot of pressure on our skin making our chests really uncomfortable. While it's normal to grow breasts in order to feed our baby once he or she is born, if we so choose to do so, the stretching pressure of milk and strange new look to them can be a bit traumatizing. For many new moms, most of the increased breast mass is taken up by areola, which for many moms to be can be very surprising. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about this new change except to buy a supportive new bra, but at least we have an excuse for new lingerie.
15 Ankle Pressure (AKA Swelling)
Remember that bit at the beginning where we talked about pregnancy often resulting swollen everything? Well, for many moms the ankles are the first part of the body to swell and start to ache. As the joint right before the foundation that supports the added weight gain required to support our growing newborn, our ankles can get really strained during pregnancy. Wearing comfortable shoes and doing ankle rotations in the morning can help keep the joints limber and decrease swelling and pressure. If we're not careful the pressure can become extreme and make it painful to walk. Bath soaks can help soothe sore ankles as well.
14 Financial Pressure
The financial pressure of having a new baby can be extremely daunting. The price of diapers, clothing, cribs and more can seem like a never ending vortex, and as most moms will tell you, it kind of is. But don't worry, there are ways to budget and bargain shop for everything your little one will come to need. Baby showers can also be a great help. Need some advice? Start your registry early, many companies and stores offer discounts on remaining items if everything on the registry does not get purchased. Registries are also great ways to create lists and stay organized.
13 Joint Pressure
Feeling like your rings are going to crack in half from the pressure your swollen hands are putting them under? Worried your wedding ring is becoming more of a tunicate than that diamond conversation starter you once loved? These are just more normal parts of pregnancy, unfortunately. Some doctors say limiting your salt intake will help reduce swelling of the hands. Removing rings early in the second trimester can really help to relieve pressure due to swelling of the hands. If you wake up to feel like your knuckles and joints in the hand are stiff carpal tunnel may be the cause. Baby Centre says carpal tunnel syndrome is also a common symptom during pregnancy, it's mostly due to a build-up of fluid that pushes on the nerve in your wrist.
12 Pelvic Pressure
In the third trimester, pelvic pain can be a real doozy. The last few months of pregnancy is when your baby's head begins to drop down into the pelvis creating a heavy pressure on the lower body. The process is known as lightening, because the rest of your abdomen will start to feel lighter and you may find it easier to breathe. Similar to the frequent sensations to urinate toward the end of the second trimester expect to revisit those feelings as your baby's head puts added pressure on the bladder several weeks before labor. As your baby's head drops further and further into the pelvis his or her head rests on the cervix to help begin labor so your body can prepare for his or her exit. This is a very exciting time, so although it may feel a bit more uncomfortable, savor this time because your little one will be here before you know it.
11 Back Pressure
Back pressure can occur at any point during pregnancy. Back pressure can feel like a painful knot that you just can't work out. With the added weight of your growing uterus and baby, your body looks to your back to help keep your body upright, but be mindful, if you are not careful this can lead to back strain. It is important to stretch and get mild exercise to strengthen back muscles. To alleviate some back pressure consider asking for massages from your significant other also help, as do hot baths and a good nights rest with many many pillows.
10 Emotional Pressure
Hormones, mother-in-laws, and general fear can make one's emotions go a bit haywire during pregnancy. Questions like, 'Do you want to be a marsupial mom or a stroller mom?' may creep in and keep you up at night. But it is important to remember that you have nine months to figure it out and you are also not the first woman to ever give birth, ever, even if you are the first one you know. Emotions can run high as you are faced with the challenge of dealing with the unknown, so the best thing to do is to read up on what you don't know and join mom groups to ask for more advice from other women in the same position as yourself. Don't let emotional pressure get you down. Get educated.
9 The Pressure To Look The Part
What happens when the adorable baby bump seems like it is carrying a bit too low, and there are stretch marks on both sides and in the center and on your breasts and your feet are swollen and your entire back is covered in acne? So much for keeping up appearances. The pressure to be a graceful, glowing pregnant woman is an image concocted by society. Though it is great to keep your personal standards high, try not to let the pressure to appear the way you imagined all beautiful expectant mothers to look ruin how you feel, because your reality may surprise you. But that is a good thing, because each woman is unique and so is her journey through to motherhood.
8 Internal Pressure
So now that you know your pregnant the next thing to do is to start picking out cribs and nursery colors and preschools and colleges for your child, right? Maybe hold off a bit. The internal pressure of being a "good" mother can be extreme, especially for first time moms. So much so that that pressure can lead to what psychologists call pregnancy anxiety. It is great to plan ahead, but sit down with your partner share your fears and create a list or flow chart of all you hope to accomplish before the baby arrives. And then come to terms that it all may not get done. Life happens, and you are growing one inside of you. Enjoy it!
7 Marital Pressure
Of all the pressures on the list, this is one that we do not have a lot of control over. Much like internal pressure, your partner may be feeling the added pressure of becoming a new parent as well. Sadly that pressure can be a make or break for a lot of relationships. Two people often have different views on parenting, ideas about what settling down truly means, or issues compromising their life before and after children. The solution? Don't let those things get in the way of a relationship you truly value. Sit down with your partner and talk it out. Communication is crucial especially now.
6 Family Pressure
If you are adding a new addition to a family that already has a soon to be older brother or sister you may feel pressure about how to balance family dynamics when the new baby arrives and worried about how that child will feel about no longer being the baby in the family. Not to worry, many mothers feel this way, but in the end, most children embrace being the older sibling and becoming mommy's helper. Some children enjoy feeling older and relieved that they are no longer the baby. If you're still feeling pressure about it try talking to a child therapist about the best way to break the news, especially if you have noticed some behavioral issues in your son or daughter.
5 Medical Pressure
The tests! One would think that peeing on a stick is as much of a test that you have to take for pregnancy. Unfortunately, the stick turning blue is only the first of many many tests on the pregnancy journey. And the pressure of getting them all done on time while balancing pre-motherhood emotions, hormones, and a job can be rough. Speak to your obstetrician about any added pressure you're feeling because the doctor's visits will just increase over time. See if your doctor can help talk you through what to expect and what tests and visits are just recommended but not required for a healthy pregnancy.
4 Pressure In The Red
One thing to really look out for during pregnancy is high blood pressure. High blood pressure can mean serious business. If not closely monitored or taken care of, high blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia which can be life threatening for both mom and baby. Elevating one's feet during the day, drinking the recommended 10 glasses of water a day, light exercise and avoiding caffeine can all help reduce blood pressure during pregnancy and decrease your risk for developing preeclampsia. If you are a potential candidate for preeclampsia, talk to your doctor about what you should do specifically to help you get through the next nine months and delivery, safely.
3 Fluid Pressure
According to the American Pregnancy Association, on average pregnant women gain four pounds of fluid during pregnancy. Fluid is used to cushion the body and help it expand as your baby grows. But that weight can add a lot of added pressure on the hands, feet, face, and abdomen. Swelling of the extremities due to fluid retention during pregnancy is called edema. And it's normal to gain some extra liquid pounds, so there's not too much one can do about it. To relieve some of the pressure it causes drink enough water, rest, get a foot massage, eat a lean protein diet and wear compression tights or socks. They can be a real lifesaver.
2 Pressure On The Eyes
As you near the end of your pregnancy many moms will feel the need to do what's called nesting. Nesting is when a mother feels an overwhelming urge to get the home ready for the new baby. Sounds great right? Except for when that urge is coupled with extreme fatigue from carrying around all the extra weight and the overwhelming thoughts of impending motherhood. Don't let the pressure of being tired interfere with your life. By the time nesting begins you should be on maternity leave, meaning you should be able to take a nap as often as you see fit. A word of advice, take a nap, you can hang that picture later. A well rested mother is great for you and your baby.
1 Pressure On The Stomach (AKA Forever Hungry)
In my own pregnancy, I remember feeling an unexplainable urge to eat everything in sight some days and the desire to lay in bed and keep myself as far away from food on others. But the pressure to eat certain foods, known as pregnancy cravings, could mean more than meets the eye. Pay attention to your body pressuring you to eat certain things because that could be your body asking for other nutrients it is lacking. For example, Web MD advises that chocolate cravings often mean your body is magnesium deficient. Salty foods could be due to a sodium deficiency or stress. Feeling pressure to eat? Pay attention to what your body is really telling you.
References: Baby Centre, Facebook, The Daily Mail, Web MD, American Pregnancy Association