Pregnancy is a time of excitement, anticipation and wonder. It's also a time of physical and emotional discomfort and turmoil. Let's face it; a woman's body goes through a lot of changes in just 9 months, not to mention doing the hard work of manufacturing a miniature human being.
The good news is, there are things you can do to mitigate your discomfort. Itchy stomach? Swollen feet? Constipated? You don't have to live with these pregnancy side effects - here are some tips on how to have a more comfortable pregnancy.
The first discomfort of pregnancy you'll likely experience is morning sickness. According to the American Pregnancy Association, over 50 percent of pregnant women will experience some degree of nausea between weeks six and 12 of their pregnancy. The best advice for those suffering from morning (or all day) sickness is don't allow too much time to pass between meals. Instead of eating three large meals a day, eat five to six smaller meals. Have some crackers near your bed so you can eat before getting out of bed in the morning. Ginger ale made with real ginger is also said to have soothing properties for upset stomachs. You may also find that you're more affected by strong smells during early pregnancy. Identify, then avoid the sources of these smells, even if it means your sweet husband can't wear his favorite cologne for a while.
As pregnancy progresses, your body will undergo more obvious physical changes. If you stand or sit in one place for most of the day, you'll likely notice some swelling in your ankles. Avoid this by changing positions frequently and propping your feet up on a stool if you're sitting for an extended period of time. Your stomach will itch as your belly grows and may develop stretch marks. There are no proven ways to prevent or remove stretch marks, but you can treat the itchiness with the frequent application of lotion. Constipation and hemorrhoids are some of the less well-known but no less common pregnancy side effects. You can decrease your risk for these symptoms by eating plenty of fiber and drinking the suggested 64 ounces of fluids every day. You can also ask your doctor for a prescription for laxatives.
You may notice that during your pregnancy, your emotions are harder to control, or you have unpredictable mood swings. Drastic hormonal changes taking place in your body is partly to blame, along with your distracted and highly anxious state of being. It's important, however, not to let stress rule your life. Not only will it make you uncomfortable, studies have shown that mother's stress can have a negative impact on the unborn baby. Do yourself and your little one a favor by taking the opportunity to pamper yourself. Time to yourself may be few, and far between in the months after the baby is born, so make the most of what you have left. Your significant other should be a source of strength and solace during this time, so don't be afraid to cry on his shoulder on occasion, or ask for a back rub. You're the one doing all the hard work, after all.
Pregnancy is a long, joyous, arduous roller coaster ride. When you're in the middle of it, it seems like your life has been like this for as long as you can remember. Gazing forward, it looks like it will never end. Just remind yourself that no woman has been pregnant forever. Besides, the best prize of all is waiting for you at the end of the ride.