Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most amazing periods of a woman’s life. Creating a new human, your own beautiful baby, will be something incomparable to anything you’ve ever done before.
Every pregnancy brings significant physical and emotional changes, and many of these can be as varied and unique as the woman experiencing them.
So what are the highs and challenges you might encounter on this miraculous 40-week journey?
Some of the best parts of pregnancy you will experience:
The realisation you are actually pregnant
Finding out that you’re actually pregnant is a moment you and your partner will remember for the rest of your lives. Take the time to express your hopes and dreams for your new life and family, but also be realistic and talk through any fears you might have.
A special secret
Many women prefer to keep the news of their pregnancy fairly quiet in the early weeks. It’s a very special period of time that’s yours alone to enjoy before it becomes public knowledge. The realisation that you have a growing, living human inside your body will bring a wider smile to your face.
No period or need for contraception
A full nine months of not having to worry about anything related to menstruation or contraception. A massive positive for any woman, and one you are sure to appreciate every single month.
The pregnancy beauty package
You will very likely enjoy thicker, shinier hair, longer, stronger nails, clearer, smoother skin and fuller breasts. The increased blood supply and hormone surge throughout your body makes everything grow quickly and luxuriously. Relish these small but lovely rewards.
The entire second trimester
This is often considered the best trimester in pregnancy. The golden 12 week period of time, when you are likely to be nausea free and your energy levels return. You can enjoy most food again, indulge in your wildest cravings, participate in gentle exercise, sleep soundly and dress easily. Most woman love this time during their pregnancy. It is your special time to glow.
You’ll get to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see several images of your baby, its position and major organs. It’s common to see your baby moving and even suckling on a hand or thumb. Such memorable moments and images you can treasure forever.
Feeling your baby move
Starting with small fluttering movements around 16 weeks and then developing into more pronounced kicks and movements as your pregnancy progresses. You may feel your baby respond to your voice, music, certain foods you eat, cold drinks or while you’re resting. Your partner will also appreciate the chance to experience another part of the pregnancy after feeling the baby kick for the first time.
Comfy clothes and slip-on shoes
As your belly expands, bending over from the waist becomes more difficult. You will want to select comfortable clothing and avoid any shoes with heels or laces. You can find beautiful maternity pieces that look good and feel great. Some of your clothes may still fit you, especially active wear.
People are kind and helpful
Your partner, family and friends will want to fuss over you. Total strangers will smile at you and offer you seats on public transport and to allow you to skip the queue in restrooms. Accept all kind offers graciously and enjoy the VIP treatment.
Keeping fit and healthy
Maintaining a good level of fitness will help throughout your pregnancy and with the birth of your baby. Mild to moderate activities such as pregnancy yoga walking and swimming are perfect activities for your growing body. Seek out qualified, specialised teachers that are experienced in prenatal and postnatal health.
The worst parts of pregnancy:
Of course, there are always those ‘unicorn pregnancies’ but most of us don’t get through the whole 9 month without a challenge or two. Some of the most common problems you may experience are:
Nausea and vomiting
With the many changes happening to your body, and increased hormonal levels, you are very likely to experience some level of nausea. For many it is limited to the morning in the first trimester. For others, it may continue throughout the day. For mild to moderate cases of nausea and vomiting, eating a small piece of toast or a dry biscuit before getting out of bed may help. This feeling is very likely to subside after the end of the first trimester. For more severe and persistent cases speak with your healthcare team.
Frequent urination and constipation
The hormonal changes and additional blood supply to your liver makes the kidneys produce up to 25% more urine, hence the increased need to urinate. After the first trimester, it should settle down before ramping up again in the third trimester as the baby grows heavier placing additional pressure of the bladder. As tempting as it is to limit fluid intake to minimise bathroom trips, it’s super important to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day to prevent dehydration.
Constipation can be uncomfortable and frustrating. Maintaining a healthy diet high in fibre, combined with gentle exercise should help, or speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
It’s really common to feel incredibly tired, especially in the first and third trimesters. Your body is making big efforts in the first trimester as the baby’s organs are being formed and the placenta starts to grow larger. Later, in the third trimester as your belly expands, getting comfortable sleeping becomes more difficult. Where possible, nap frequently and look for any additional opportunities to rest.
While it might be the last thing on your mind, gentle exercise and deep breathing will actually help to restore your energy levels.
Increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen can also play havoc with your mood. It is not unusual to feel happy, irritated or sad, sometimes all in the same day. If symptoms persist or become difficult to manage always speak to someone you trust and seek guidance or help.
Some food and drinks are off-limits
There are some foods that can be very harmful to your unborn baby and these must be avoided. Some of these include; soft cheese, pate, sushi, cold cured meats, raw eggs/meat/seafood and salad bars. Also avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Remember, it is only for a short time and well worth the sacrifice for the safety of your baby.
Foot swelling, stretch marks, varicose veins and haemorrhoids
Extra fluid and gravity may result in swelling to your legs, feet and ankles. Avoid standing on your feet too long, wear comfy shoes, and raise your feet up as much as possible.
Stretch marks usually appear on your stomach, upper thighs and breasts, or anywhere where the skin is being stretched over a period of time. They are not harmful, and after pregnancy your skin will shrink and the stretch marks will fade. Moisturise your body well throughout your pregnancy, even in those early weeks.
Varicose veins mainly develop in the legs. However, you can also get them in the vulva or rectum. Varicose veins of the rectum are also known as haemorrhoids. Definitely uncomfortable, but these too will usually subside over time and without any further treatment. If you’re participating in pregnancy yoga, it’s important to let your teacher know as she’ll want you to avoid any deep squatting.
Back and abdominal aches
Ligaments become softer and stretch to prepare you for labour and to accommodate your growing baby. The extra weight can cause aches in many areas of your body, specifically your lower back and lower abdomen. To help ease the pain, avoid heavy lifting, wear flat shoes and incorporate some gentle strengthening and stretching exercises. Strengthening of the core is an important part of pregnancy yoga, as it helps you to carry the weight of your growing baby with more ease.
Crazy baby brain
Often unnoticeable to others and usually limited to your last trimester, you may experience forgetfulness, poor concentration, brain fog or clumsiness. Try and keep a sense of humour and know that this too will pass.
Being pregnant is definitely a privilege and a time for you to celebrate your body bringing a new life into the world.
For the most part, your journey will be a wonderful one. Bear in mind, even the best pregnancy will have some challenging moments and unpleasant experiences. But most Mums will tell you that it all becomes a distant memory once you’ve held your baby in your arms.
To help you on your pregnancy journey, consider attending prenatal yoga classes with Mother Nuture Yoga, Australia’s leading pregnancy yoga experts. Classes, courses and retreats are held in our studios throughout Sydney, while our online studio is accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
A regular yoga practice will promote good health and strength throughout all trimesters of your pregnancy. Classes are suitable for all trimesters and levels of experience. You’ll also meet and share in the company of other mums-to-be from your local area – an essential way to build your support and social network both during pregnancy and for after you’ve had your baby.
Check out our timetable at mothernurtureyoga.com.au/timetable or give us a call on 02 8626 7363 to book a trial class!
Join our free Facebook Group for Pregnant Women & New Mums!