When you think of pregnancy, you likely envision a glowing mom gently rubbing her growing belly. While this may be true, there are many things that no one tells you about being pregnant. Below are a few common issues many women face during pregnancy.
Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant
Your breasts will change during pregnancy. You are probably aware that your breasts will grow as they begin to fill with milk, but you may not realize that breast soreness may be one of the first signs of pregnancy. As your breast grow, itching and dryness are also very common. Next, your nipples may become larger, protrude, and even change shape. The areolas may also darken. Additionally, your breasts may begin to leak weeks or, in some cases, months before your baby is born. Nursing pads in your bra may help soak up any leakage and prevent embarrassment from leaking through your clothing.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Constipation is extremely common during pregnancy. Tips for managing constipation include: moving more, drinking water, eating small meals, and increasing fiber intake. Sometimes medication is required. This should be discussed with your physician. Another prevalent ailment is hemorrhoids. They are caused by the swelling of your veins in and around your rectum and present as a bulge at the anus. Hemorrhoids may be caused by constipation and pressure from the growing uterus. Sometimes they may cause pain, itching, or bleeding. The good news is they usually resolve after the baby is born. In the meantime, drink plenty of water, avoid prolonged sitting (especially on the toilet), and try soaking in the tub or using a sitz bath.
Leg Cramps and Restless Legs
Both are very common to experience, and the direct cause is unknown. These ailments are difficult to treat. Be sure you take your prenatal vitamins regularly, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly. If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle by raising the foot on the affected side. Walking and elevating your legs may help keep the leg cramp from recuring. A warm shower or bath, ice massage, or muscle massage also might help.
Increased Sweat and Acne
Your hormones are changing, and your metabolism is speeding up, which can cause you to feel warm and sweat more than expected. Hormone changes can also cause you to develop acne.
Avoid using medications, even topical ones, without talking to your doctor. Many have not been well studied in pregnancy. Continue a gentle facial cleansing routine, and avoid hair products that may contribute to increased oil. This too shall pass.
Swelling of Feet and Hands
Retaining fluid is very common and may cause the feet and hands to swell. Occasionally, your feet may become larger and stay this way permanently, so be prepared. You may go up a size in shoes indefinitely. Your doctor will monitor swelling at your visits. If swelling increases quickly, you should contact your clinic as this can signify a medical condition such as pre-eclampsia.
Your bladder is directly under your uterus, and as the baby grows, more pressure is on your bladder. This may cause unexpected accidents. Often this resolves after pregnancy, but if not, you may want to see a physical therapist for pelvic floor therapy following your recovery.
Preparing Yourself for Pregnancy
While pregnancy may have various effects on the body, focusing on your growing baby will help get you through. Our bodies are amazing, working so hard to bring about a new life. At the end of those 40 weeks, you get the best gift—a new baby who was worth it all!
If you do experience any abnormal symptoms during pregnancy, always be sure to consult your doctor. Not sure if what you are experiencing is abnormal? Ask anyway! Your doctor has seen it all before, and they are there to help you through your pregnancy.