Tag Archives: Pregnancy

10 weird things you didn’t know about being pregnant – Part 2

 

From the bionic fatigue, food aversions and just general “yucky” feeling in the first trimester, to the itchy, bitchy and huge feeling in the third
trimester, being pregnant is not for the faint-hearted.  I touched on five of the the strange pregnancy symptoms that you never knew to expect (Read Part 1).

Here are another five pregnancy phenomenon to look out for and make peace with.

  1. Cue the snoring orchestra

Especially in the third trimester, snoring can occur as the mucous membr
anes in your nose swell.  This is caused by the higher levels of estrogen as well as the increased amount of blood during pregnancy.  Add to that the possible excess weight you are packing thanks to a growing baba, you have extra tissue around your head and neck which doesn’t help the snoring phenomenon much either.  So the heavier you are, the more likely you are to have trouble breathing when sleeping.  Baby Centre.com gives some practical advice on how to deal with snoring during pregnancy.

  1. Where did I put my keys

“Porridge brain”, “Pregnancy Brain”, “Momnesia”, “Mommy Brain” – whatever you prefer to call it – most moms-to-be talk about being forgetful during (and after) pregnancy.  The truth is that the capacity of the brain remains unchanged as does your IQ during pregnancy.  So what’s the cause?  According to Louann Brizendine, MD, director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, “There is 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy.  These hormones affect all kinds of neurons in the brain. By the time the woman delivers, there are huge surges of oxytocin that cause the uterus to contract and the body to produce milk – and they also affect the brain circuits.”  In other words, when you’re pregnant, you have higher than normal hormone levels and a whole new set of priorities which can lead to apparent forgetfulness.  Let’s be honest, growing a little human being is one of the most important tasks you’ll ever face, so why should writing that memo at work or cleaning that bath tub seem that important?

  1. Is that a contraction?

That baby bump didn’t just come out of nowhere.  Your uterus has to grow and expand to accommodate that little life form growing inside you, so other things have to make way to help the expansion project.  The round ligaments that surround and support your uterus and connect to the groin have to stretch and thicken to allow for this change, and this you will feel as possible sharp pains in your belly or hips.  It’s not a contraction, but it may sure feel like one.  Then there’s the Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labour pains, that many women experience in pregnancy especially in the third trimester, but some as early as the second trimester.  The contractions are a tightening in your uterus that’s irregular, infrequent and unpredictable.  These contractions are not a “pre-labour” sign, just your body preparing for the real deal when baby is ready to come.

  1. My gums are bleeding doc!

You’re brushing and flossing your teeth as normal, but now your gums are bleeding. Don’t stress, it’s just another one of those interesting little pregnancy quirks.  Some experts call it pregnancy gingivitis, but all it really means is that due to those pesky surging pregnancy hormones that cause swollen nasal membranes, your gums can become more inflamed and are also more susceptible to bacteria and plaque.  Try switching to a toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth and gums and try opting for a softer toothbrush.  Don’t abandon the flossing, just be more gentle.

  1. Big and weepyIMG_0495

There are 101 things that happen to our bodies when we fall pregnant, some unexpected and undesirable, and some to be celebrated as the miracle being pregnant really is.  I’ve walked a long journey to falling pregnant, and while I’ve finally conquered infertility this time round and am trying to appreciate every little aspect of being pregnant, I can’t help still feeling like a big, unattractive pregnant mare.  Then it’s the idea of bringing a little human into this big, wide world.  Will I be able to give this child everything she needs?  Will I be able to protect her and keep her safe from harm?  Will I be a good parent?  There are so many questions …

It’s all perfectly normal I’m told.  So if you feel the same way, rest assured that you and every other new mommy are feeling the same way.  We’ll be just fine :)

10 Weird things you didn’t know about being pregnant – Part 1

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:

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  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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 …

  1. 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? ;)

“Christmas, bah humbug!”

When you’re trying to fall pregnant, waiting for your period is a bit like waiting for a last minute pardon when you’re in the executioner’s chamber, or the sound of the buzzer indicating the end of a boxing match round when you’re up against a mammoth opponent. Will the tampons and panty liners win, or will a positive sign on a pregnancy test declare victory?

For the past year we’ve been trying in earnest to conceive a baby. The timing hasn’t been perfect by a long shot, but I’m not getting any younger and nor is my husband. My life has begun to centre around my monthly ovulation timetable. There’s no romance involved, just serious baby-making business. Given the total focus, when the attempts to fall pregnant fail month on month, it’s hard not to take it personally.

This past week has been particularly taxing though. I confess: I was truly convinced I was pregnant! I knew it was too early to officially tell, yet for the first time since we’ve been trying for a baby, I just had that “feeling” that this time I really was. Throw in several early symptoms of being pregnant (complete exhaustion, some severe mood swings, tender breasts and an absurd food craving), and my hopes were cemented. And so the wait for my period was torturous; a volatile combination of excitement, eagerness, impatience and anxiety.

In a cruel dashing of hopes, I began to spot today. I sat on the loo with tears streaming down my cheeks and lamenting that I am being punished for my past sins. Motherhood has never before been so elusive. At a time when I should be celebrating Christmas with cheer and thanks giving, I am mourning the loss of a child that wasn’t even conceived. How pathetic! The worst is that I can’t even vent my feelings openly (other than writing this blog post).

I therefore apologise for being dark and gloomy in the full knowledge that you’ll understand when I say these words:
“Christmas, bah humbug!”.

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