Pregnancy – What No One Ever Told Me
We all know about nausea, needing to pee, cravings, sleep disturbances, and, as the baby grows, back pain. While these are the most common symptoms of pregnancy, the hormone changes and growing baby can cause many other symptoms that you may not expect. If you experience any of the following pregnancy symptoms, rest assured that they are quite normal. If any become bothersome, talk to your doctor.
Everyone knows about cravings during pregnancy, but aversions are a little less well-known, though just as common. Things may taste different, smells may be more overwhelming. Sometimes smells you once enjoyed may make you ill. The aversions seem to be most common, and most strong, during the first trimester and usually go away after the end of the pregnancy. In some cases, if the aversion is really strong, it may linger for a long time. Mine was cinnamon, and it was so strong and so immediate that I found myself avoiding it a couple of years later.
Some women experienced such an heightened sense of smell that they become more aware of their own aroma. You might even wonder if others can smell them. Don’t worry, your smell hasn’t gotten stronger, just your sense of smell. No one else notices. If you are concerned, though, talk to your doctor to see if you might have a yeast infection, which is easily treated.
Hormone changes during pregnancy wreak havoc on every one of your body’s systems, including slowing your digestion. As your digestion slows, it can lead to constipation. Gentle exercise can help things move along, as can eating a diet rich in fiber. You might also find that foods rich in magnesium such as spinach, almonds, and sunflower seeds can also help keep things moving. If these don’t seem to work, or constipation becomes troublesome, talk to your doctor about a gentle laxative or stool softener. I personally have had great results from taking magnesium supplements, but ask your doctor before adding any new supplement to be sure it is safe for your growing baby.
As your digestion slows, the food has longer to ferment, which leads to excess gas. Any other time, you feel it coming before it happens, but while you’re pregnant you may find it letting loose before you even know it’s there. Totally normal, but it can be quite embarrassing. Exercise helps, as does avoiding foods that tend to cause gas, such as dairy, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, dried fruit and carbonated beverages.
All that constipation brings us to the bane of many new and expecting mothers, hemorrhoids. Any time you strain to have a bowel movement, you run the risk of developing hemorrhoids. Everything that you do to reduce constipation will reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids. Stay hydrated, get plenty of exercise, eat plenty of fiber and magnesium rich foods and use an over the counter stool softener. Talk to your doctor about a laxative if you need it. If you do develop hemorrhoids, try witch hazel or over the counter anti-inflammatory creams to reduce the discomfort.
It’s not just your bowels that you may have trouble with. Stress incontinence is a common problem during pregnancy, especially as the baby grows and places pressure on your bladder. Some women start to worry that their water has broken. If it’s a small amount and stops, there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll know your water has broken if it comes in large amounts or if it continues trickling for a long period of time. If either of these occurs, call your doctor.
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