I’m now in my third trimester (congrats to me!) and consider myself to be fully qualified to talk about the truly weird and wonderful things that all lucky preggies can look forward to as your pregnancy progresses. So here goes:
- Where’s the buffet?
While the first trimester can be plagued with nauseous and food cravings or aversions, by the time you reach the third trimester the desire for salt and sweet has kicked into overdrive. In fact, just the desire to eat … continuously! The idea of eating for two is hard to resist as, by the second trimester, you will need to eat an extra 300-350 calories a day. By the third trimester, increase that to 500 calories a day. Now that’s crazy stuff right there. Some sites and blogs do mention the increased urge for sweet stuff too. I can attest to that. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but right now I could easily scoff any cake, tart or chocolate in my sight. On top of that I’m eating the same proportions as my husband, so yes, I am truly living to eat and not the other way around.
- Stock up on toilet paper
I’m sorry to tell you this: but you’re not going to bypass frequent urination in pregnancy. In your first three months the need to pee regularly is caused by hormonal changes. You’ll have a slight reprieve in months 3-6, but it comes back with a vengeance in months 7-9. This time though, it’s because that growing cutie in your belly is putting pressure on your bladder. Unfortunately, it’s not fun when you have to travel and can cause that 5-hour road trip to become a 6-hour road trip. It’s also not fun to have to visit every kind of public restroom in every location you visit. My advice: unless you plan to pee in your pants (not advisable), map out the public bathrooms in malls, restaurants and on your road trip journey beforehand because you will, absolutely have to, pee. Moreover, you will wake up during the night to visit the toilet and you will, as your belly gets bigger, have to watch that sneeze which could lead to a bit of panty wetting. You’ve been warned!
- Counting sheep
Ah yes, insomnia – a lack of good ol’ fashioned quality sleep. In my first trimester I would wake up several times during the night to pee, and to eat as a way to combat my nauseous. In the second trimester, the so-called babymoon, I just couldn’t sleep properly at all. Now, as I’ve entered into my third trimester, I’m waking up during the night to pee again, and my growing belly is making it difficult to find a comfy spot. Let’s not mention that I’m a back sleeper and sleeping on my side is not my chosen position. Insomnia in pregnancy is perfectly normal and can be caused by a variety of reasons. Whether it’s hormonal changes, the need to frequently urinate, anxiety, vivid dreams or even leg cramps, make peace with the fact that getting some quality shut-eye when you fear this could be the last time you actually can before baby comes, is something that may just elude you.
- Itchy and bitchy
I’ve read all sorts of interesting articles about women developing itchy palms and soles of their feet, but nowhere did I read about itchy underarms? Each woman is of course different, so don’t quote me on the itchy underarms as a definite pregnancy symptom. An itchy belly definitely comes with the territory though. I noticed that every time my preggie belly planned to pop out a bit more, my belly would itch for days beforehand. It’s nothing that a good tissue oil or cream can’t help with, but think about it rationally: if your skin has to stretch to accommodate a growing and developing life form, then itchiness has to be expected at some time. Why my underarms started to itch I still can’t say though …
- I can’t feel my legs!
Calf cramps is yet another crazy pregnancy phenomenon. I thought it was hocus pocus to be honest. I mean, what logical and scientific reason could there be for getting calf cramps when you’re pregnant? And then, as I hit my 7 months mark, I started waking up with terrible calf cramps that caused me to leap out of bed simply to put pressure on the affected leg. According to whattoexpect.com, calf cramps usually start in the second trimester around week 19 of pregnancy and last through the third trimester. Apparently the reason why is not so clear and many theories point the finger at fatigue from carrying extra weight, compression of the blood vessels in the leg, possibly diet (an excess of phosphorus and a shortage of calcium or magnesium) and pregnancy hormones. Try stretching exercises before bed and drinking enough water during the day.
Look out for Part 2 of my blog where I’ll unpack the next 5 things you may or may not have heard about in pregnancy. Aren’t we lucky? ;)