5 Nasty Things About Pregnancy Your Mama Won't Tell You
Expect the Unexpected!
What to Expect When You're Expecting? Expect the Unexpected, ladies! You read it right. With pregnancy, nothing is at it seems and oftentimes people do not tell you some of the down and dirty secrets associated with this joyous time of your life. While we may be excited and downright beaming to be "with child", we have to also face the facts that pregnancy is not always a merry walk through the park.
It's not going to be easy and it's not going to be what others have told you it is. Everyone's pregnancy is different, because let's face it...we are all different human beings and experience life individually. This rule includes how we experience pregnancy and what our bodies go through while bearing our children. In this article, I plan to spill some of the hush-hush...I plan to share with you some of the nasty things pregnancy may have in store for you that your mama might never have mentioned. Don't be scared...just be educated!
1. Swollen Parts
Now you might have figured out that your body is going to change and look very different, more so as you move along in your pregnancy. You probably already know that your belly will be growing larger as the baby grows within you. But did you know that other parts of your body will grow larger, too?
Because of the extra blood that your body produces during pregnancy, you will notice that certain parts of your body will begin to swell or simply appear larger than they ever have before. Your breasts will obviously grow larger as they prepare for baby to be nursing, but did you know that your lady parts might also swell and appear larger? That's right! This doesn't happen with all women, but if you look down one day and notice your bits looking bigger...don't panic. They will return to normal after baby is born...and after the swelling has subsided.
2. Extra Mucus, Blood, and Fluids...Oh My!
In addition to extra blood flow in your body during pregnancy, there will also be extra fluids created to help sustain yours and baby's health in various ways. This is definitely something your mother will not have warned you about and something that comes as a shock to first-time mothers.
This is simply put extra discharge. This occurs because of the extra blood flow to your lady parts and serves as a means to protect baby from infection. Nasty, I know...but it happens. Get yourself some panty-liners and wear them on a daily basis or you'll be changing your undies multiple times a day!
With my first child, the arrival of the mucus plug in the toilet freaked me out to say the least. A mucus plus is basically a lump of cervical mucus that plus up your cervix until it is almost time for labor to start. This plug seals your cervix in order to keep baby safe. When it nears time for labor, you will start to notice either chunks or strands of blood-tinged mucus or even just extra discharge in your underwear or in the toilet. This is also referred to as "bloody show". Do not freak out, be happy! This means the time is drawing near.
After baby is born, you would think all the extra fluids would taper off, right? Well, you're in for a treat. Bleeding after baby is born is normal and will most definitely happen to you. For the first few days post-partum it will be rather bright red, like your period but then it will begin to thin and grow lighter in color. They say normal bleeding will last only a few weeks...anything over that you'll want to let your doctor know about. Be sure to have a large supply of heavy pads available for your hospital stay and for the first few weeks after birth of baby. If you are started on birth control soon after giving birth and you are still spotting, this is also normal post-partum.
So after you've given birth and things stop swelling (other than your breasts, that is) the post-partum bleeding has slowed...but you still have extra fluid. You have leaky breasts. This is particularly for the women who have chosen to breastfeed baby. Sometimes your breasts will leak for no reason at all, while other times you might hear the sound of your baby's cry and your milk will "let down" and here comes the leakage, girls! For this reason, you will want to wear nursing pads in your bra until you know how your body will act while in your breastfeeding phase.
3. But I'm So Gassy...You Already Know!
There's nothing worse than having nausea during that first trimester, am I right girls? Well, don't forget that as pregnancy progresses you might have other gastrointestinal issues that your mama didn't warn you about. You might start experiencing extra gas...sad but true.
Excessive burping and farting will become an everyday occurrence for many pregnant women. It's embarrassing and sometimes hard to hide, but you can't keep it inside or you'll stomach will start to ache! So what can you do about that extra gas?
Try to eat things that don't produce extra gas in your body. Or avoid eating foods that will make you gassy. Those might include: beans, broccoli and cauliflower, prunes, too much dairy, corn, tomatoes, citrus, onions, garlic, and scallions, etc. Instead of drinking a lot of soda or fruit juices, try drinking more water. Water produces less gas than its sugary and carbonated substitutes.
Sometimes this extra gas will also cause a build-up of acid in your stomach, creating acid reflux or indigestion. Try taking a tums here and there, or if it gets really bad ask your doctor if he/she recommends pepcid or some other acid-reducer.
Things You'll Want for Post-Partum Care
For Your Lady Parts
Lots of Water!
4. Constipation and Hemorrhoids
The one thing that I can tell you I wasn't expecting with pregnancy was the struggle with constipation. Prior to having a bun in the oven, I had no problems moving my bowels on a regular basis. But then baby happened and bam! Constipation became my enemy.
Constipation can occur during pregnancy for several reasons:
a. because all of your intestines are being squeezed together to make extra room for growing baby
b. the extra hormones flowing through your body make your muscles relax, which includes your bowels too making them more lackadaisical about moving the matter forward
c. prenatal vitamins can also be the cause for constipation, or at least add to the problem. Many prenatal vitamins have extra iron, which your body will need during pregnancy; however, the extra iron causes constipation in most people.
So in addition to having problems pooping, you might also be straining while on the toilet which can lead to those painful, itchy little nuisances - hemorrhoids. It just keeps getting better, doesn't it?
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in your rectum that can sometimes become inflamed or even bleed because of straining or extra-hard feces being pushed through the anal canal. Disgusting but hey, it happens to nearly two-thirds of the population and many of them during pregnancy.
What can you do about those mean little buggers?
- grab yourself some tucks pads or witch hazel pads (this is a natural remedy to aid in reducing the inflammation and therefore the symptoms that hemorrhoids may produce)
- take a warm sitz bath (dip your bottom in a nice soothing warm bath with epsom salts)
- drink more water and add more fiber to your diet
5. What's All This Hair About?
The last secret you might want to be made aware of is extra hair growth during pregnancy. Not a super nasty or gross thing but something that may surprise you, nevertheless. You may notice extra hair on your body - particularly on your belly or breasts. You may notice that the hair on your legs and under your arms is growing at an incredible rate.
You may even notice that you're developing extra hair on your face or even around your nipples. This is all normal during pregnancy and much of this hair will be lost after your have the baby. The good news is that extra body and facial hair could also mean that the hair on your head will thicken and look shinier than before you were pregnant! Hopefully this cushions the hairy blow a bit.
What to do about the extra hair? Get some extra razors...go get it waxed...or simply deal with it and know that it will go away!
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© 2015 Nicole Canfield
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