Body & Mind Changes
Have you ever heard the phrase porridge brain? Have you seen a hugely pregnant woman waddle down the road with swollen feet and thought, Shame?
There are pregnancy related side-effects that your doctor will, no doubt, discuss with you. But here are some that your doctor, mother or best friend may have forgotten to tell you about:
You may find that you struggle to remember even the most obvious things. You’ll walk into a room, stop and then wonder why you’re there. With the surge in hormones and every increasing changes to your body, you’re likely to be exhausted and with that will come forgetfulness.
You’ll also likely to be focusing a lot of your attention on your growing baby, so things like bills and meetings will take a back seat in your mind.
It may help to keep a diary or a note book and pen handy at all times. The second you remember that you need to do something, write it down so that you don’t forget.
Some men have been known to count the days until their babies are born, so that they can have their wives back. Gone are the radiant, happy women they married. Instead they’re replaced by wives who snap at the smallest of things, cry at the drop of a hat and laugh at the silliest of jokes – all in the space of an hour.
With the surge in hormones, you are likely to suffer from mood swings and if you are prone to PMS then you’ll probably have a moody pregnancy.
The best advice is to warn your partner, friends and family about your mood swings and watch your behaviour as best you can.
As your belly begins to swell, so you’ll probably become a little clumsy. You’ll trip over your own feet, slip on things you ordinarily would walk over easily and fall off chairs. You may drop things, cut things and damage things and then wonder if you’re losing your mind.
Again, as your pregnancy progresses, you’ll become more tired and less focused on doing routine things, like walking properly. Be more aware of your body and your surroundings when you’re pregnant to minimize hurting yourself when you’re being clumsy.
Changes to your skin
One of the pro’s of being pregnant is the many compliments you’ll probably get about your glowing skin. There’ll be several changes to your skin during the 40 weeks of pregnancy; some good and others not great.
Some women will notice that they’ll get pigmentation marks on their faces. To avoid any permanent damage, apply a good sun screen every morning and try to keep out of the sun. You may also notice that your moles, freckles and areola will become darker. In most cases these will lighten once the baby has arrived.
As your tummy grows, a light brown line will form from your belly button to your groin. This isn’t permanent and will return to normal.
Acne can become a problem. Because your body is producing more hormones and oil, you may notice that you’ll get pimples on your face, neck and back. There isn’t much that you can do to prevent this, other than increasing your daily water intake.
You may also notice that you’re scratching a lot. Your body will become increasingly itchy. In most cases this isn’t something to worry about – but speak to your doctor if it becomes unbearable.
If you don’t get stretch marks during your pregnancy – lucky you! It’s a common, unfortunate side-effect of pregnancy. As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby, you’re likely to see marks on your tummy, waist, back, breasts or inner and outer thighs.
These could be pink, red, purple or brown, depending on your skin colour. The thickness and length of the stretch marks could also vary.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do to prevent this from happening. There are some products on the market, that claim to prevent stretch marks – but in most cases they’ll only keep your skin nicely oiled.
Increase in Bra and shoe size
As your body swells to accommodate your baby, so you’ll notice that your bra and shoe size increases – albeit for very different reasons.
You’ll have to buy a bigger bra. An increase in hormones will make your breasts swell, in preparation for your baby and breast feeding.
Your feet may also swell. This means you won’t be able to fit into your favourite shoe any more. Instead, opt for buying slip on shoes or slip slops during summer.
Cramping legs and joints
You may notice that your joints and muscles are aching or sore. When you’re pregnant, your body produces a hormone called relaxin which is believed to relax your pelvic joints. This is to allow your baby to pass through more easily during labour. This hormone will also loosen your ligaments, which will make it easier to hurt yourself when you exercise.
Sometimes, you may notice that you get an intense cramp in your leg or feet, which is difficult to get rid of. It usually happens at night. This is because of a change in the way your body processes calcium.
To get rid of those cramps, make sure that you have a calcium-rich diet and stretch your muscles slowly before going to bed. Some even suggest standing on cold tiles, when trying to stretch the cramp out.
Changes in your hair and nails
Pregnant women often have the loveliest hair and nails. It’s generally because of the folic acid supplement that they take. Hormones will also prevent your hair from falling out. This isn’t a permanent thing though – you may notice that your hair will fall out in clumps once your baby is born.
Those hormones will also make your nails grow stronger and longer.
As you’ll see there are many pro’s and con’s that come with pregnancy. When you’re battling morning sickness in your first trimester, your due-date will seem so far away. When you’re battling with a huge tummy, swollen feet and forgetfulness in your last trimester, you’ll thank the heavens that it’s almost over.
But when you’re finally holding your precious baby in your arms and smelling his milky skin, those 9 months of troubles, will be worth it.