8 Pregnancy Obstacles You Can Overcome

Let’s be honest—although you know you’re the luckiest girl in the world because you’ve got a beautiful baby on the way—pregnancy sure can have its drawbacks.

Ah, yes, you sigh---it seems only yesterday when you could go out and get pleasantly pickled with your friends, carelessly drinking cocktail after cocktail, following an evening chewing down plate after plate of seafood at your favorite restaurant—maybe later on you and your honey would take a dip in a beautifully steaming hot tub, while enjoying a nightcap together.

Cocktails? Seafood? Hot tubs? Nightcaps? Not these days!!

In pregnancy all those awesomely care free activities and foods that we loved are suddenly stripped off the menu. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling a little down here and there for suddenly feeling like “the odd one out.” It’s quite a sudden change we have to make, and these little differences can make a pregnant Mama feel a little out of sorts. 

Luckily most of us seem to adapt pretty quickly. Our instincts kick in to protect our new beautiful babies—and having to give up some stuff we normally enjoy is the first step in learning to make sacrifices for them.

It’s one thing to get used to giving up the one or two glasses of red on a Friday night and the kickboxing class we used to love--

But what happens when you face obstacles in pregnancy you didn’t expect??

Here are 8 obstacles many pregnant women will experience, and a few words on how to deal with them:

8 Loss of Sexual Interest

Maybe you’d been trying forever to get pregnant

and it’s finally happened—or maybe it was a little surprise. Either way, now that you’re pregnant, you and your man are in this together-- and you’re over the moon awaiting the arrival of the baby you’ve made together! But for some of you, the big event that got you that way to begin with is suddenly—kind of falling flat—which can be trying on a relationship. 

Research has shown that many women will experience some kind of sexual intimacy problem at some point in their pregnancy (d-uh!). So why does sex kind of take a back seat once you’re with child?:

  • -Fear: This is extremely common in the beginning of pregnancy, and no small wonder. A lot of women (and even their guys) say they’re actually too scared to be intimate –especially in that delicate first trimester-- for fear of harming the pregnancy.
  • -Lack of desire: With all those new hormones bouncing around, a girl sure can get exhausted, not to mention nauseous as hell! The fatigue and nausea that accompany the first trimester –and maybe beyond--can often lead to a lack of desire. (Not surprising!)
  • Solutions: If it’s fear that’s stopping you from getting it on with your honey, stop worrying, hon!'
  • -Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, research has shown that in a normal pregnancy, there is absolutely no evidence to link sexual activity with failed pregnancies, at either the beginning of pregnancy or later.

Your baby is protected by the super strong muscles of your uterine wall—your uterus is like a steel vault, Mama! In addition to this, the thick mucus plug that’s sealing your cervix is protecting your baby from any….ahem….close calls with your man! Choosing different lovemaking positions and gentle lovemaking can hopefully help with any anxiety you both have about harming your growing baby.

What does that mean? Get it on, ladies! That is, if you feel like it. If you’re still too uncomfortable with it, then tell your fella to be patient. You’ll get your love thing back when it feels right for both of you. Until then, try to maintain your intimacy in other ways, like maybe some massage (it better be him giving you one!) and plenty of cuddling.

-If it’s the lack of desire that’s holding you back, try not to worry about it. This is just a phase that many pregnant women will experience due to hormonal fluctuations. Your seemingly “long lost libido” should safely return sometime after the birth of your baby, if not before. While it lasts, hopefully your honey is understanding (if he’s not, then he might need a clobbering!). Once again, lots of cuddles and words of reassurance will carry you through.

The good news is that in the awesome second trimester, many women often enjoy a phase of restored libido—some reporting their appetite for sex being higher than normal! In other words, you might suddenly become horny as hell, and won’t be able to keep your mitts off your man! So tell the bugger to be patient.

7 Extreme Nausea

Before you even got preggers, you will have heard all the horror stories about morning sickness. In the movies,it seems to be the calling card script writers use to make us realize that a character is knocked up:

- Girl suddenly clutches hand to her mouth, eyes widened with confusion at the sudden onset of this sickly feeling—proceeds to barf into waste paper basket beside her desk at work--or she flees to the nearest toilet she can find.

Now that you’re pregnant, you may be able to relate to these movie scenes. Of course, some of you may have already learned the misnomer of “morning” in the sickness. Most typical in the first trimester of pregnancy, morning sickness can in fact strike at any time of day, and can range in severity.

You probably already know this is completely normal for some women and nothing to worry about. Your body feels sick because of hormonal fluctuations going on while growing your little baby. Your body’s kind of freaking out with all the changes and new workload, so it’s no wonder it feels sick here and there!

  • Extreme Nausea: But what if you feel so ill that you can’t eat?

For some women this period of nausea leaps out of the bounds of normalcy. For these women, no food is appealing. Not only that, but even the foods that go down won’t stay down. These women tend to vomit more than the average.

  • -- what’s more, this extreme nausea can sometimes last for the poor woman’s entire pregnancy.

This type of severe morning sickness is not only awful for the expectant mother to endure, but can actually be harmful to Mom and baby. This is because all of that throwing up can lead to dehydration. In pregnancy, women are supposed to increase fluid intake in order to keep up with the body working overtime. At the same time, vomiting or not eating enough prevents the expectant mother from meeting her nutritional needs, both for herself and her unborn baby. Research has shown that in extreme cases, this can lead to organ failure in the expectant mother or the premature birth of her baby.

  • Solution:

If you’re so sick that you don’t feel like eating, or you keep throwing up, you must visit your doctor immediately, who might need to prescribe a safe anti-nausea medication to help you through this phase.

Don’t try to soldier through your nausea alone, thinking it must “just be morning sickness.” Play it safe by letting a doc determine what’s going on.

6 Depression and Anxiety

Most of us have heard about post-partum depression. But depression in pregnancy? We think it seems so unlikely!

Unfortunately, it is very real (research has shown that 1 in 10 women suffer from bouts of depression in pregnancy)--and it could be happening to you.

Does this sound like you? --You know you’re supposed to be happy that you’ve got a baby growing inside you, but you’re really just feeling—indifferent—maybe even kind of bummed out about being pregnant.

You feel bad about this, but you’re not sure who to talk to about it. After all, the other pregnant ladies you know are positively glowing, and skipping around looking for baby clothes and dreaming up ways to do up the baby’s room, seemingly with every breath they take. You can’t be bothered to think about any of that—it’s all just too overwhelming. What will everyone think of you if they know you’re not excited about becoming a Mom?

  • Moodiness in pregnancy is completely normal, so if you’re having a down day here and there, it’s usually nothing to worry about.

However, if this period of sadness or anxiety seems prolonged to you, then it’s time to make sure you speak to someone you trust—your Mom, your sister, your best friend, or your doctor—as you might need a little help to get you through this.

  • Anxiety in pregnancy might be characterized by feeling really nervous all the time about the safety of the baby, the birth, or becoming a mother.Again, it’s normal to feel like this some of the time-- but if it’s affecting you so much that you’re feeling panicky, or having trouble sleeping, concentrating, or enjoying the things you normally do, then you might need some help.

Depression and anxiety in pregnancy shouldn’t be ignored or taken lightly, as research has linked these mood disorders to health complications in pregnancy and even pre-term labor.

  • Solution:

Don’t try to handle this one alone. If you’re feeling even slightly depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor straight away to ease your mind, and to make sure you’re not experiencing something more serious than just normal pregnancy mood swings. Even if you are, no need to stress further-- there is lots of help to be had to get you through it. You are not alone.

5 Trying to Avoid Lurking Bugs

Toxoplasmosis. Listeria. Fifth’s disease. Are we in an episode of “The X-Files?” Nope. It’s just a list of some of the bugs you have to worry about now that you’re pregnant. All these seemingly lurking bugs sure can get a Mom-to-Be all shook up! Let’s look at these more closely:

  • -Toxoplasmosis: Cat poop is known to contain a nasty parasite (toxoplasma)that can cause an infection in humans called toxoplasmosis. Odds are you’ve probably had this at some point in your lives, and are therefore immune and there is nothing to worry about (a blood test can confirm this). But if you haven’t been exposed to toxoplasma, and suddenly get it while you’re pregnant, it can be harmful to your baby.
  • Listeria: This is a bacteria that can be found in unpasteurized milk and milk products, such as soft cheeses, and sometimes even in cold cuts and seafood. It can cause a nasty illness in humans called listeriosis—and this can be harmful to your unborn baby.
  • Fifth’s Disease: Sounds like one of Beethoven’s symphonies if you ask me! But in reality, this is a generally mild illness caused by the parvovirus B19, and is most commonly found in pre-school and school age children. Adults can get it too, however, and if you’re pregnant it can (rarely) pass onto your baby. The trouble here is that parvovirus interferes with the regular production of red blood cells. In some adults, and certainly in some unborn children, this can have harmful consequences.

So should you put your cat up for adoption, and lock yourself up in your house with hand-sanitizer until your waters break?

Absolutely not!

  • Solutions:

-You can easily protect yourself from toxoplasma exposure; just be vigilant aboutkeeping your hands clean, avoid changing kitty litter (wear disposable gloves if you have no choice)—and remember to cover up sandboxes, and wear gardening gloves if you must garden to avoid coming into contact with any kitty pooh in the outdoors!

  • -Listeria can be chopped off your worry list quite easily as well. Just avoid eating soft cheeses (think brie, camembert) and anything unpasteurized, and try to avoid eating seafood and cold cuts.

    If you didn’t realize you had to avoid all this stuff, don’t panic. The odds are you’ve safely gotten away with it. But for Pete's sake, now that you’ve read this, try to follow these guidelines for the best chance of keeping you and your baby safe throughout the rest of your pregnancy! As always, check with your doc if you have any further questions or concerns.

  • -As for dealing with Fifth’s Disease--if you work with kids (or come into contact with a lot of young children), you should be on alert for any notifications of children coming down with the illness (also known as “Slapped Cheek Disease” because of the extremely red cheeks that often appear with the illness.) Schools and daycares often have a protocol to make a public posting to inform parents that an employee is pregnant
  • –this same notice tells parents that they should immediately report to the school if their child comes down with the illness. This way you can leave the school for a designated time period until it is deemed “Fifth’s Disease” free, and you can speak with your doctor about any further concerns. The good news is that as many as 30-50% of women will already have been exposed to the parvovirus at some point in their life, and as such are much less likely to get infected or pass the illness onto baby. If you’d like to know if you’ve already had the virus, you can usually ask your doc for a test. That could be one less thing to worry about on your list!

4 Nosy Outsiders

Friends. Sisters. Moms. Mothers-in-Law. Co-workers. They’re all driving you nuts! Why? Because they all seem to have a little piece of advice for you about your pregnancy—sometimes even if they’ve never been pregnant themselves!

You’ve heard their annoying input.

“You know, I heard you really shouldn’t drink coffee,” says your smarmy co-worker, as you’re enjoying your first and only cup of the day (which your doc said you could!).

“I can’t believe you’re still exercising! A woman in your state should be sitting with her feet up,” says your mother-in-law.

“Are you sure you really need that ice cream?” says your hubby, in your final month of pregnancy. OH NO, HE DIDN’T. Seriously, if he does say this, he’s going to need a good smacking. Your partner needs to be an ally, and not “one of them”--because all of those interfering nellies are a giant pain in your expanding pregnant butt!

It’s hard enough for us to try to navigate our way through our first pregnancy without having every Tom, Dick, and Harry poking in…hell, that’s what got you preggers in the first place! (kidding)…. My point is, it’s hard to get through our pregnancy with every person giving their own advice on how to do this, how to do that, what to eat, what to wear, how to sit, how to walk, what kind of labor to have, what name to give the baby, and so on, and so on!!!

Not only can it be confusing hearing all of the varied input, it can be downright disheartening—like a child constantly being told what to do.

  • Solution:

Do your own research, and do what you and your partner have agreed is the best for your baby, while following the professional advice from your doctor. Just like raising your own child, which comes next, handling your pregnancy in your own personal way is your right—and will surely lead you on the right path, no matter what those nosey nellies say!

And if your pushy co-workers still won’t butt out--don’t be shy to tell them to stick their advice where the sun don’t shine!

3 Constipation and Indigestion

Your belly’s about to burst and it’s not from the baby growing in there…it’s from your poor bowel expanding with that nasty poop that seems to have decided to keep your baby company for the duration of your pregnancy!

On top of this, you’re sipping a bottle of Gaviscon out of a paper bag like a two-bit drunk because your stomach feels like it’s raging with lava and you’re burping up a storm after everything you eat! Lady, you’ve got a nasty case of digestive issues that unfortunately affect a number of women in pregnancy.

Most commonly complained of in the second and third trimesters, indigestion is usually caused by that growing baby literally squashing into your plumbing. The pipes just aren’t as wide as they should be, causing acid to back up and eventually come up—right into your throat!

And that constipation so many women complain of, as early as the first trimester—is caused by sluggish muscle contractions that usually help “get things moving” down there. This is due to higher levels of the hormone progesterone floating around your pregnant body. The extra iron you’re getting from your prenatal pill can make you even more backed-up, not to mention gassy as hell.

  • Solutions:

For the indigestion,keep sipping on the Gaviscont or some other form of antacid. Discuss safety and dose recommendations with your doctor to make sure it‘s ok for you, but the good news is that many pregnant women can get effective relief from acid reflux and heartburn by sipping away at this stuff. But do stay moderate--if we find bottles of the stuff all around your house, we may just have to stage an intervention!

For the constipation, the solution is as simple as increasing your fluids and fiber intake, and staying physically active which can help to keep you regular. In short—drink plenty of water, eat foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and take little brisk walks. If you do this consistently, you should notice a big positive change in your pooping habits!

2 Sleeplessness

You’re growing a life inside your body and it’s taking everything out of you -- mentally, physically, and emotionally. So you’d think it would be easy to drift off to sleep at the end of a long day. Unfortunately, for many women sleep becomes as elusive as the sight of her own feet as pregnancy progresses. It’s no small wonder. There are various reasons women have trouble sleeping in pregnancy:

  • -anxiety about the baby’s health and the birth, and about becoming a new Mom
  • -difficulties breathing, as the lungs become more compressed by the growing baby
  • -difficulties finding a comfy position to sleep in, for fear of hurting baby and later on in pregnancy, because of baby’s size impeding comfortable position
  • -baby moving around in there like an acrobat (later in pregnancy)and/or kicking—seemingly as soon as you lie down!
  • Solutions:

    The good news is that there’s lots of stuff you can do to help with these common pregnancy sleep issues:

  • -relaxation therapy/breathing methods can be used to calm the mind and induce sleepiness.

    • -sleep in different positions that help to maximize breathing room/prevent baby from crushing you—try an upright position for a change and see how you get on with it
    • -try a body length sleep pillow—sleeping on your left side while straddling the pillow with the upper arm and leg is considered to be one of the best sleeping positions in pregnancy for optimal circulation as well as comfort!
    • -make love! (sometimes the rhythmic movement of this act can help put baby to sleep so he/she will stop kicking! Furthermore, the feel good hormones that are released during intimacy can get you nice and sleepy.)

    1 Overdue Baby

    You circled that due date way back when…like, wasn’t it nine months ago? The days, weeks, and months have passed by, and they’ve been wonderful and challenging all at once. But like a long-distance runner, you’ve endured all of the pain and suffering, mixed with the moments of shear excitement and euphoria, with one thing in mind- the finish line! In pregnancy, that would be your due date.

    When that date finally arrives and your baby decides to take another long nap in utero, you really feel pretty defeated. After all, you’ve known that it’s possible to have your baby as of week 37. You’ve maybe watched ladies in your baby group delivering at weeks 38…then 39…then slowly, painfully, your due date arrives….it’s your turn, already!!!

    We know babies can be overdue, but now that we’re right at the end of our pregnancy—we still somehow never expect it to happen to us.

    Some women enjoy this extra time, and focus on enjoying the last days of peace and quiet to prepare themselves all the more for their baby’s arrival.

    But if you’re like I was when my due date came and went (this happened with all 3 of my kids!), you may be an emotional wreck, practically ready to tear your hair out just waiting for the first signs of labor.

    • Solutions:

    Try to remain calm—one way or another, that baby’s coming out soon enough! It’s a good idea to keep busy now to keep yourself from going nuts just waiting—doing a little retail therapy can be pleasantly distracting, maybe buying some last little something for yourself or your baby. (It’s probably best at this point if someone drives you, though, and don’t stray too far--in case things start happening suddenly!) Other nice distractions might include:

    • -Lunching with friends(go to town on eating now! You’re at the finish line! And make it spicy—some women have insisted that a spicy meal finally triggered their labour!))
    • - Doing a nice time consuming jigsaw puzzle
    • - Or maybe ---just doing a jig(!) Light physical activity can be distracting, but perhaps even better, can help move things long. Taking little brisk walks, for example, can help push the baby down into the pelvis to possibly spark labor (just don’t push yourself too much and again--don’t stray too far!).
    • -Putting those last little finishing touches on the baby nursery.
    • -Keeping busy with a soothing activity like knitting or a cross-stitch, if you’re crafty.
    • - Otherwise, you might just have to settle for watching a “Vampire Diaries” marathon—whatever keeps you happy and relaxed!

    In the meantime, there are ways you can try to move things along. Here are just a few popular natural methods women have tried:

    • Have sex! (Wow! Is it just me, or has this whole sex in pregnancy thing become a repeated theme? There must be something to it! )I know it might seem about as appealing as riding a bucking bronco just now, but hormones released during orgasm (oxytocin) can trigger contractions. At the same time, semen contains a high level of prostaglandins--chemicals that can help to soften the cervix, thus preparing it for labor. As long as your waters haven’t broken, (which makes you susceptible to infection), this is a tried and tested method. So why not try it out? Your hubby won’t believe his luck, and it might just get things cooking—in more ways than one!
    • Acupuncture Sticking those crazy needles into pressure points on the body are thought to have the ability to stimulate contractions. Just be warned—they might ask to poke their needles in your very pregnant belly. In theory this is perfectly safe—the needles do not go beyond the shallow level of your skin. But if you’re not comfortable with this, don’t be afraid to tell them to stick those needles where the sun don’t shine like I did! They can always find other points of stimulation. Some women swear by this method to get labor cracking. See what your doc thinks before trying it.
    • Castor oil This one is debatable. Many overdue women swear by consuming the stuff to get labor going. Others say it can at best lead to nasty stomach cramps, diarrhea, and possibly even a puke session. Used primarily as a laxative, the idea is that castor oil will get your bowels going, which can in turn cause your uterine muscles to contract—and trigger labor-- if the timing is right. You should never try castor oil unless you are 40 weeks pregnant plus. And timing really is key here, as your cervix should be softened and dilated for this to be effective. In short, you really will want your doc’s opinion on this one-- unless of course you want to risk ending up with a horrible case of the poops and still no baby in sight!
    • Evening primrose oil This stuff is supposed to help soften your cervix to get labor moving along all the sooner when the time comes. That’s because the oil found in these little capsules contains substances that the body turns into prostaglandins—chemicals which help to prep your cervix for labor. By taking these capsules from about 36 weeks onwards, you will be helping your body make more prostaglandins in the last stage of pregnancy—and in theory, this should help labor come on all the easier! As with all the natural methods discussed above, just make sure to consult with your doc first.

    So there you have it, ladies! I sure hope some of the solutions we just discussed will help you if you do experience any of the above hurdles in your own pregnancy.

    Remember that when you’re carrying a child, you will almost certainly encounter obstacles you hadn’t expected somewhere along the way. This is perfectly normal.

    The key is ---never try to handle any obstacle on your own. Together with your baby’s Dad, your Mom, your friends, or your doctor---you and your baby can safely get through anything together. Remember there is always help to be had, no matter what the situation. I wish you a safe and smooth pregnancy--- as obstacle free as can be!

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