During pregnancy, you can expect to experience a number of changes, including more frequent visits to your healthcare provider. You will most likely be paying a visit to a midwife, GP or obstetrician at least once a month (and eventually once a week towards the final months).
While you will have plenty of time to ask about pregnancy symptoms and the progress of bub, sometimes there are other pregnancy questions you simply forget to ask or because you’re afraid they’ll leave you red-faced and waddling out the door a little embarrassed.
Don’t fret. Sometimes it’s easier to find the answers to questions from the comfort of your home (and preferably with a bucket of ice cream resting on your belly).
Q: When will I actually start enjoying being pregnant?
A: Although you are probably over the moon that you are pregnant, it’s hard to actually enjoy it when you feel so sick. It’s pretty standard to feel exhausted, grumpy, hormonal, nauseous and hungry (pretty much like you drank your body weight in wine last night and now you’re paying for it).
So when will this nightmarish feeling end?
In simple terms – hopefully by the end of the first trimester (week 13). This is when your body starts to regulate all of those crazy pregnancy hormones. But not always. Some women experience the first trimester symptoms – including morning sickness – right throughout their pregnancy but this isn’t common.
Q: Where’s my ‘pregnancy glow’? I’m just sweaty.
A: I’m a firm believer that this so-called pregnancy glow is really just a fancy word for “I’m growing a baby and this massive task is turning me into a hot, smelly mess”. And, as it turns out, this is actually the case.
During pregnancy, you will sweat more and your body releases a stronger (more pungent) odour, all thanks to the pregnancy hormones pulsating through your body.
Sure, your skin may glow. But it also may do the opposite and be cakey and dry. Or you might enjoy excess acne and unexplained patches of darker skin. Again, it’s all thanks to the hormones.
Q: When will stop looking like I’ve just eaten 18 cheeseburgers?
A: There is no set answer for this as it depends on your body. In general, first-time mums start to experience a baby bump around 16 weeks. This is when your uterus needs to expand to make room for bub’s growth. However, for subsequent pregnancies, your bump is usually more prominent much earlier.
Q: How can I tell if the baby is moving or if I’m just gassy?
A: Early movements from your little one feel like teeny tiny flutters in your tummy. Some mums describe it as a feeling of popcorn popping or as a feeling of tumbling from within. This generally occurs around 16 to 25 weeks for first time mums, but, again, this isn’t always the case. I was able to feel my first baby move at 13 weeks (or else I was just extra gassy, which, honestly might have been the case).
By the third trimester, the movements will be extra obvious and your partner will be able to feel them too. You will also be able to see Bub’s elbow, legs, feet and arms move under your skin.
Q: Why are these mammoth-sized veins all over my legs (and other areas)?
A: They are called varicose veins. And they are not only swollen and unsightly but also painful. Plus, many women do not just experience this vein swelling (which is common during pregnancy) on their legs, but also in other areas where the blood is circulating – namely the vulva.
You can wear compression stockings to help with the leg vein pain and use a hot pack to help alleviate the pressure and swelling down below.
Q: What happens if my baby is born early? Will he live?
A: Modern advances in technology and medicine are incredible, to say the least, and babies born at just 24 weeks gestation have a 60 per cent chance of survival. However, this is not something any mother wants to experience.
If your baby does try to make an escape earlier than deemed safe, a doctor will attempt to stop the labour process. You may be given a steroid shot to help speed up your baby’s lung development and you may be placed on bed rest. But, if bub does arrive before 37 weeks (which occurs in 8.6 per cent of pregnancies), you can rest assured your baby will be in good hands.
Q: I’m leaking (and not just in my breasts)… what is going on?
A: Leaking pre-milk from your breasts is common during the third trimester and nothing to worry about at all. It’s all part of the process of pregnancy.
Leaking fluid from down below is also common. All mums are probably going to have the occasional sneeze that results in a minor wee leak (we’re being honest, right?).
But wee is just the start of the fun. You can also expect leakage when you lose your mucus plug and when you have a bloody show, both signs that labour is near. Plus, you may also experience leakage if your waters break, which can happen before contractions or any other signs of labour have occurred.
Q: What if I poo during labour?
A: This is actually one of the most common fears for first-time mums. Why? Because no mum wants to poop on her newborn. And don’t worry, you won’t. Although it is possible to have a bowel movement during the pushing process, a midwife or doctor will be there to wipe it away before you even know it.
And, once you have bub in your arms, this thought will be the last thing on your mind.
Yes, pregnancy can bring nine months of confusing changes and startling symptoms. If you are ever concerned that something isn’t right, then don’t hesitate to contact your doctor, midwife or obstetrician. They really have heard (and seen) it all!
Read next …
- Emotional Wave: Managing Mood Swings During Pregnancy
- A Guide to Surviving Food Aversions in Pregnancy
- The hardest part of first trimester has nothing to do with spew
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