Some people will be quick to tell you that pregnancy will be nine months of joy and excitement. And in many ways it is. However what only an honest Mum who has already been there will tell you is that pregnancy has more than a few downsides as well and some pregnancy symptoms are really not very pleasant at all!
While most of the unpleasant symptoms that accompany many pregnancies are not at all abnormal they are not fun to live through. That does not mean that you have to suffer in silence though. While you may not be able to combat some of the more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms altogether there are some things you can do to make them a little less severe and bothersome.
The one unpleasant pregnancy symptom that hits almost all pregnant women in the first trimester is pregnancy sickness. I call it this because for many women morning sickness just does not cover it! While some more fortunate Mums to be just feel queasy when they wake up others feel nauseous all day long and the thought of facing many of the foods and drinks they once loved is a dreadful one! Even scientists and medical researchers are still not sure just why pregnancy sickness occurs or why it hits some ladies harder than others!
One of the more embarrassing things that most pregnant women have to deal with throughout their pregnancy is the tendency to have “little accidents” . Something as simple as a cough or a sneeze can cause you to leak a little urine and the need to pee often can make something as simple as a shopping trip rather unpleasant.
The increased need to pee and those occasional accidents are quite normal. your growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder and there is simply not the “storage room” in there that there was before you became pregnant!
To help bladder control you can try practicing Kegel exercises on a regular basis. Kegels are easy and you can do them anywhere – it is simply the act of tightening the muscles in your vagina, holding the clench for a few seconds and then releasing and repeating. Not only do they help with bladder control but they tighten the pelvic floor muscles in general, something that will be helpful when it comes time to push!
Even if you do Kegels everyday little leaks are probably inevitable. To avoid having to feel damp until you can find a bathroom a simple panty liner can offer some protection. And if you are away from home always carry an extra pair of panties and a plastic bag with you, just in case.
Many Mums who have been pregnant before say that one of the first signs they noticed that gave them a big clue that they were expecting again is the feeling of just being tired all the time, even after a good night’s sleep. Fatigue is very common in the first trimester and it tends to return with a vengeance in the third as well. Given that many modern Mums still work while they are expecting and have a family and a home to run as well this never ending tiredness can be very frustrating as well as unpleasant.
The fact is though that there is very little you can do about pregnancy fatigue, other than trying to go to bed a little earlier. The real help can come from those around you though. To help you preserve whatever energy you do have ask people at home to cook their own meals (and for you too) and to chip in on the housework a bit more. Reducing your commitments helps as well. Make an effort to get out of work on time and slide out early when you can. And if you are just too tired to entertain friends and family like you used to do not be afraid to let them know – there will be plenty of time for visiting after Baby is born.
Mums to be know that they are going to gain weight as their pregnancy progresses but what they do not always expect is the way they will suddenly swell up, shrink and then swell up again all over their body, especially hands, ankles and feet. The shoes that fit one day you may not be able to get into on another and there may be days when your once slim ankles look more like tree trunks!
Some swelling like this is normal. To help reduce it stay off your feet when you can and if you are sitting elevating your legs can help reduce swelling. Make sure you stay hydrated and try to fit some gentle physical activity into every day, something as simple as quiet stroll around the park at lunchtime can help reduce swollen legs, ankles and feet considerably.
There are some times though when swelling can be the sign of a problem. If your legs, ankles and feet swell very suddenly and quite a lot, or only one of your ankles is swollen you should contact your ob gyn as this can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a serious and dangerous complication.
Another rather unpleasant – but very common – side effect of pregnancy is that raging hormones often cause mood swings that even the most rational of Mums to be can’t control or really even understand. An increase in the levels of certain hormones in an expectant Mum’s body is actually a crucial part of a healthy baby’s development. The effect it can have on her though can be hard to deal with.
For the most part Mums to be (and everyone around them) needs to “go with the flow.” Dads to be can be quite shocked when their lovely partner suddenly turns into a screeching banshee over something very trivial but it is important that they remain as calm and supportive as they can – she isn’t crazy, she’s just pregnant.
For Mums to be avoiding stress as much as possible and trying to get enough rest can be a big help in the battle against raging hormones . If you are tired and cranky at 7pm when usually you’d stay up until 11 give in and go to bed. Even if you can’t sleep for a while relax with a book, or by watching TV because just that little bit of rest and relaxation on its own can be a big help.