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Except for few cases, pregnancy is essentially a natural process in all fit and healthy women. During the pregnancy, a woman experiences a lot of changes in her body and the body functions far differently than it normally does. It is better to have some prior knowledge so as to understand what you are going to experience once you are pregnant.
It is worth noting that each and every woman has its own individuality and will certainly behave in her own way to pregnancy. Changes occurring during pregnancy are more prominent if this is your first time. There are some that cannot be overlooked, like increasing size, whilst some changes will be so minor and slight that you cannot even aware of them.
When will I need to worry?
It is really hard draw a line between two sides, i.e. what is normal and when to be worried. There are some obvious and alarming changes like bleeding, abdominal pain or decelerated baby’s movement. Apart from these, there may be some changes that you cannot know off on your own, such as high blood pressure or increased protein level in urine. It is therefore strongly advised to pregnant women to attend ante-natal checks on regular basis.
There are no silly questions
Don’t hesitate to clear your doubts with your midwife or healthcare provider. It is the only way to minimize your stress and anxiety and to enjoy the pleasure of being pregnant. What you need to is to educate yourself and get a support from people around you. Make a list of things that you want to know and get busy in your own ante-natal health care.
All the major physical changes during early pregnancy revolve around the zygote finding its way though fallopian tubes to the uterine wall where it finally settles. At this stage, the sole priority of your body is to support and maximize its survival.
What about me?
You will notice that your body is behaving as if it is automated. Your body is a complete mechanism and is pretty much capable of handling different process on its own. Your body will now in full control to nurture your fertilized egg and aid it until it is developed completely. All your major body systems will undergo substantial change during pregnancy, such as comfort, mobility, digestion and metabolism, to support and maximizes the chances of your baby’s survival.
Don’t forget your folic acid
As soon as you come to know about your pregnancy, it is the time to take some serious steps like reconsidering your diet, your life style, your habits etc. The first thing you need to do is to avoid exposure to any sort of toxins as these can affect the neural tube of your baby. Better take some folic acid supplements of 500 mg per day as it will help the risks of neural tube defect in your baby.
Early Physical Changes
- In case you have a 28 day cycle and missed a period, then you might have ovulated somewhere around the 14th day after the first day of last period. It normally takes a couple of days after ovulation to conceive.
- If your experience mild vaginal bleed somewhere 5 to 10 days after conception, this is because of the implantation of zygote into the highly blood infused uterine lining that resulted in bleeding. However, not all the pregnant women experience this implantation bleeding, so there is nothing to worry about.
- You will notice a change in your breasts and nipples as well. They will become more sensitive as well as enlarged and darkened around areoles. Some women may feel heaviness around pelvic region.
- You will start having a metallic or odd taste in mouth.
- The feeling of being pregnant differs from one woman to another. Some find it amazing, some find it odd or some don’t even react on becoming pregnant.
- The feel to urinate every so often is also common.
- Other changes that occur in early weeks include nausea, uncomfortable sleep, tiredness and feeling of being exhaust.
- You will find more pimples and veins developing on your face and chest.
- Your eating habits will also be affected in the early weeks of pregnancy. You will overcome by an acute sense of smell and start hating some odors. You will start disliking red meat, raw chicken, fish and eggs.
Later Physical Changes
- You will begin to feel a change in your abdominal size somewhere around 12th week after you conceived. This happens when the distended uterus will begin to moving up and out of the pelvic rim.
- With the growing pregnancy, you will notice an increase in your breast size and darkening of areole along with the appearance of tiny pimples. As you will approach your 3rd trimester of pregnancy, you will experience the production of colostrums with irregular leakage.
- Weight gain is common in pregnancy. In first trimester, the weight gain is very minimal while the last trimester is associated with greatest of weight gain. According to different health practitioners, the normal and healthy weight gain during pregnancy is from 10-14 kilograms.
- In first time mothers, the movements of their baby become obvious by 16th week of pregnancy. Those early movements are commonly referred to as quickening. The women who are second or successively pregnant may able to feel these movements earlier.
- In the last few weeks, women will start experiencing breathlessness due to the growing size of uterus where the lungs and diaphragm are displaced. However, in the last couple of weeks, i.e. round about 36th week, the ‘lightening’ may occur with a baby shifted to the pelvis in preparation for labor. This is most common in first time mothers.
- During the pregnancy, many women will come across the problems like varicose veins, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, constipation and swollen feet.
- Where other changes happening in your body, your heart will also get busy as it will start pumping more blood every minute, i.e. about 40% more than normal even before the 20th week of pregnancy.
- Usually the volume of blood increases form 5 liter to 7-8 liter by the time of labor. This increase in heart and circulatory system activity is to meet the additional demands that arise because of pregnancy.
Hormones remain active throughout your pregnancy. These are extremely vital for maintaining your pregnancy and make your baby’s survival risk free. However, these hormones are also responsible for some other factors, such as mood swings and emotional instability. If you are known for some even temper, then your pregnancy might bring a new side out of you.
You often find yourself overwhelmed by depression and all other hormonal changes that are occurring in your body. However, all these mood swings, depression and other symptoms subdue with time and once your baby is born, you will begin to come back to your normal life.
Mental health issues
The women with history of mental issues like bi-polar disorder, obsessive compulsive tendencies, depression or mania should bear in mind that pregnancy can worsen your symptoms or set off a relapse. During pregnancy remaining in contact with your mental healthcare provider is of vital importance.
If you are on any mood stabilizing medication, bring it to your mental healthcare provider notice immediately so that he/she can make adjustments in your usual dose during your pregnancy.
Loss of control
Many of you may be very conscious of eating habits, size and general appearance before pregnancy. Once you are pregnant, you will find that you are losing control over you. Change in shape and size during pregnancy is inescapable, however, this doesn’t mean that you give up all your efforts in maintaining good appearance.
It is important to retain a healthy weight gain as well as focus on your grooming and good looks. You have to bring something positive out of your during pregnancy. It is of no use to feel indignant about your pregnancy as it just makes things worse for you. All you need is a positive attitude.
Anxiety is another common problem that women face during pregnancy. The anxiety of pregnant women more than often revolves around the complexities and complications of labor and childbirth. They are overwhelmed look over by same thought and concerns. In its extreme form, it can often become severe depression or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Remember, your health is associated with your baby, i.e. if you remain healthy during pregnancy, you will certainly deliver a healthy baby. Don’t hesitate to share your feelings with your midwife/healthcare provider to ensure your stable health.
Pregnancy brings a lot of things with it for you to think about that often resulted in frustration and raised practical concerns like how to deal with a reduced income, housing, budgeting, childcare and simply providing for another little person in the house. These concerns are required to be dealt in practical way. Communicate with your partner and family members to devise realistic and practical ways of rectifying such concerns.
Indecisiveness is another common factor that is seen in the pregnant women. They are overwhelmed by mixed feelings of happiness and guilt. At one hand they feel really excited of having a baby, while on the other they just behave in an indifferently. There is also an element of guilt present in them that is more obvious during the early morning times. A lot of things creep into their minds such as the baby knows if it wasn’t planned, or if his/her arrival will be sooner than you or your partner were planning for, or even if your relationship with your partner is not as secure as you’d like it to be. This ambivalent behavior, guilt, confusion, and regret are common symptoms during pregnancy.
Any sort of criticism during pregnancy makes you feel extra sensitive. It often happens that you perceive criticism when actually it was never intended. It is common during pregnancy to become sensitive and touchy.
It is advised to apologize for your rude behavior whenever you feel yourself on wrong side. This attitude will help build a strong and good relationship with people around you.
Superstitions are also very common during pregnancy. Even those women, who have never given importance to such superstitions like avoiding cats, not to walk under the ladder, putting new shoes on a table or never opening umbrellas inside house, will start taking care of them.
Isolation and loneliness
Isolation and loneliness are other pregnancy symptoms. During pregnancy, it is better to avoid them as far as possible. Certainly, it is much easier to stay at home rather than going out with young children. However, socialization is an important factor here so that you meet and communicate with other women share experiences and advices with each other.