Surprise! Pregnancy is going to bring you a bunch of surprises to your body and also your (foggy) brain. If you’re experiencing any of these “surprises,” you’re in luck – they’re normal. If they’re not enjoyable… at all, you’re also in luck because that baby will come soon enough. Count the days, mama.
While the experience will be completely worth it, that baby you are growing will push you to your limits. Let’s discuss how your pregnancy (and body) will throw you for a loop!
1. Inability to concentrate
Waking up in during that first trimester might leave you feeling like you’re in a fog most days. That chance of brain fog might be coupled with a 30% chance of scattered morning sickness.
Talk about a beautiful forecast for the day. We’re kidding.
Part of the inability to concentrate comes from your focus being so strongly on the baby. It’s easy to forget day-to-day things when you want to ensure your baby (and impending delivery) are perfect. That could include bills, doctor appointments, work, or even letting the dog out (woof!).
Making lists and scheduling in a calendar could help keep your mind focused on the tasks ahead and give yourself a break from remembering every detail life throws your way. You can’t do much about those foggy day forecasts, but your brain will return after birth! Maybe.
2. The arrival of your “nesting” instinct
Do you feel a powerful urge to prepare your home for the baby? Maybe it’s crib building (you better get that drill ready) or just decorating a room. It could be cleaning every square inch of the house and getting every lingering project out of the way.
As the delivery day comes closer, it’s OK to feel this way, but don’t overdo it. There will always be things that don’t get done before the baby arrives. Remember, you’re about to have a baby. All that matters is you and the baby’s well-being.
Focus on the essential things you need to accomplish. Organize them and plan accordingly. We completely understand if you’re going to want everything to be perfect, but there is only so much time in a day. That urge to want everything perfect? That’s just nesting. It’s normal, but don’t let it determine how you define your readiness.
3. Mood swings
If you hated the PMS mood swing jokes while you weren’t pregnant, you’re going to adore the ones about your mood while pregnant. Your body is growing to accommodate your new arrival, and because of that, your hormones will fluctuate. You might feel tender some days or even moody the next. Mood swings are prevalent and tend to be more prominent in the first and third trimesters.
Your pregnancy experience will be different from others in different ways. Some women experience morning sickness, and some just feel great (how wonderful for them!).
If you feel any concerns about your health or the baby’s well-being, regardless of how trivial it may seem – bring it up to your doctor. You should advocate for yourself (and your baby).
4. Your skin may experience changes
That little fetus of yours is requesting more and more from your body. As their demands grow, your body will need increased blood volume to provide extra blood flow to your uterus.
You could also develop yellowish or brownish patches of chloasma (the mask of pregnancy). Chloasma, also known as melasma, is a skin pigmentation disorder characterized by darker skin patches that primarily affect the face and other sun-exposed areas. The patches tend to fade several months after giving birth. To minimize, make sure to use sunscreen every day.
Acne is also common during pregnancy as your skin’s sebaceous glands increase in oil production. You may see moles or freckles become more prominent (and darker) during this time. Most of these skin chances are temporary (gone after giving birth), but the darkening of your areola is usually permanent.
Is that an itch? You may experience more itching during pregnancy. Your skin is stretching over the abdomen, and from that – it could cause itchiness and flaking. There are plenty of creams your doctor could recommend. Take them up on it, mama!
If itching continues or gets severe, you may have a condition called intrahepatic cholestasis. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a potentially serious liver disorder that can develop during pregnancy. In a normal pregnancy, bile acids flow from your liver to your gut to help digest food. With ICP, the bile acids don’t flow properly and builds up in your body. It’s not common, but it is important to be aware of the symptoms.
5. Stuff will come out of your body
Did you know that only one in 10 mothers’ has their water break before labor contractions? Some women may never experience it. In those cases, the amniotic sac must be ruptured at the hospital.
You’re probably wondering what the “stuff” is. A full-term baby will have about 2.1 to 5.9 cups of amniotic fluid. You may feel a sensation of needing to urinate before a gush of fluid (the water breaking) comes out. Some moms may experience a drizzle down their leg as the baby’s head acts like a stopper to prevent the fluid from leaking.
Amniotic fluid is pale (or colorless) and is sweet-smelling (in most cases). The fluid is replaced in your body every three hours, so you can expect it to continue leaking until delivery.
During labor, you may lose control of your bladder and bowels (sigh!). You may experience some light blood (which is fine) coming out. You could also experience diarrhea before or after your labor.
Read More: Why a birth plan helps on labor day.
6. Hemorrhoids, constipation, and varicose veins (Oh my!).
Hemorrhoids are such an unwelcome guest. You may already be uncomfortable sitting without a “hanger on” deciding to be present. Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectum and are common during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids can be painful, itch, sting, or even bleed during (or after) a bowel movement. Your doctor can give you creams or ointments to help shrink them if they become overwhelming.
What if you don’t have bowel movements?
Hello, constipation. Constipation can spring up at the worst times during your pregnancy. The best way to stave off constipation is to eat a fiber-rich diet, drink lots of water (and fluids), and get light exercise daily. Look for over-the-counter stool softeners (no laxatives) to help.
Is that a varicose vein? Yes, they can appear (more prominently) during pregnancy. While most will disappear or lessen after your pregnancy, you can help reduce the quantity and visibility by:
- Wearing loose clothing
- Elevate your feet when possible
- Not standing for prolonged periods
- Not sitting for prolonged periods
- Wearing support hose
7. Your joints will be super mobile and loose
During pregnancy, your body will produce a hormone known as relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone produced by your ovaries and the placenta with important effects on the female reproductive system during pregnancy. It may sound good, but it could make you more prone to injuries. Relaxin relaxes your ligaments in the pelvis – then softens and widens your cervix.
During this time, it will be easy for you to overstretch yourself – especially in your pelvis, lower back, and knees. While you should be getting in light exercise, make sure to go slow and avoid jerky movements.
8. Feet swelling and larger shoe sizes
Since you have extra fluid in your body during pregnancy, you could experience swelling in your feet from the storage of it. Don’t be surprised if you have to start wearing larger shoe sizes!
The swelling can also be in your legs, ankles, and fingers. At night – expect it to get worse and more persistent as the pregnancy progresses. The swelling will come gradually and isn’t harmful to you or the baby. It could be uncomfortable for you, so cash in on partner foot massages.
9. Your hair and nails will grow and grow (and grow)!
Extra hormones in your body are making everything go haywire. As you just learned about feet swelling, your hormones make your nails grow faster and stronger. Some women say their nails tend to split and break more easily during pregnancy. Trimming your nails can help avoid this, and avoid nail polish and nail polish remover during your pregnancy!
In your pregnancy, you can expect to experience your hair feeling thicker around 15 weeks. This isn’t your hair getting thicket but less falling out. While it may feel lush during the pregnancy — expect some hair clumps to come out after birth. This isn’t true hair loss.
Read More: Postpartum Hair Loss
10. Bra size changes
Is everything just going to keep getting bigger? Yes!
With increased levels of estrogen and progesterone (hormones) – your body will respond in interesting ways. Your breasts will become swollen and enlarged during the first trimester of your pregnancy. While you may notice the most growth in the first trimester, your breasts will continue growing during pregnancy.
Does this increase your bra size alone? Actually – no. Your bra size may be affected by your rib cage. You’re probably going to say, “Let me guess, it gets bigger?” and you’d be right. Your lung capacity increases while pregnant so that you can take in extra oxygen for yourself and the baby—this growth results in bigger chest and bra size.
Read More: Understanding your fourth trimester.
You got this! Your body is going to be different from other mama’s bodies. Don’t compare yourself and your pregnancy to others – and stay encouraged! Be a balanced mama and just worry about your baby’s needs.
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We recommend our Pink Stork Labor Prep as you prepare for the delivery of your child. If you’re more of a tea drinker, we have a delicious Labor + Postpartum Drink you can carry over drinking even after the birth. Planning on using our Total Postnatal + DHA is a great addition to your post-birth plan while you heal and prepare.
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