If pregnancy is new territory for you, it’s good to be prepared and know what to expect. Although each pregnancy is different, here are some common experiences many women share:
The additional pounds are worth embracing right from the get go! Your body immediately begins to adjust to pregnancy with increases in blood volume, water, tissue and fat to nurture your baby’s growth. Expect to gain around 5 pounds in the first trimester and 1-2 pounds each week following.
Morning sickness often hits around the 8th week as a result of hormonal changes in the body. Not everyone experiences the nausea and with luck on your side you can expect morning sickness to mellow out by your second semester.
Pregnancy signals your breasts to prepare for milk production, which can also bring on swelling and soreness. Expect breast tenderness to decrease around month three or four and look forward to gaining a full cup size after birth!
Food cravings and aversions
Many women report that they immediately lost the taste for alcohol and sushi even before they knew they were pregnant. Expect to feel a little more hungry during your first trimester (barring the invasion of morning sickness) and be sure to get an additional 300 or more calories per day.
Shifting levels of of progesterone and estrogen can make it a little more challenging to find your center. Expect to feel the ups and downs and take the opportunity to focus on activities that bring a sense of peace and calm into your life.
During the first trimester the uterus may press on your bladder, creating more frequent urgings. Expect this to shift in the second semester as the uterus shifts upward to the abdomen, only to return in your ninth month when the baby drops into the pelvis to prepare for birth.
While your baby is pressing on your bladder, he or she may also be putting a kink in your digestive flow. It’s not necessarily babies fault, the hormone changes are also decreasing your peristalsis. Expect to eat a high fiber diet of fruits and veggies with lots of water to help clear your system.
Pregnancy brings emotional and physical demands that can leave you feeling wiped out. Listen to your body by taking a nap when you are tired and doing your best to get eight hours of rest each night. Expect to feel a little more lively in your second semester, however even though there may be lots to get done, slow down your rest essential to your well-being and peace of mind.
During pregnancy additional blood volume and extra pressure on your uterus and legs can cause blood to pool and create varicose veins. Both weight gain and hormonal changes are contributors to these raised blueish, purple veins that may spontaneously appear. Managing your weight gain, exercising and taking, raising your legs and taking Vitamin C can all help to minimize varicose veins in pregnancy. Expect that these temporary visitors may disappear after childbirth or once you have re-established your pre-baby weight.