Rosy, mum to be, 10 weeks pregnant:
I’ve just found out I’m pregnant and I’m over-the-moon. My body still looks the same, but I’m starting to feel different already. I’ve got so many questions about what I should and shouldn’t be doing and I want to understand what all the changes will mean for my baby and for me.
Your body during pregnancy
You must be aware how it’s very natural for your body to change during your pregnancy. This change is a sign on how your body is getting ready to be a mum and to support the growth of your beautiful baby. Every woman is different, but the kinds of changes you might notice are:
- soreness in your breasts during the initial months
- morning (or evening!) sickness in the early days & occasionally for longer
- fatigue especially early on
- minor aches and pains
These conditions are absolutely normal and are all a significant part of your body who is cleverly adapting to support you and your baby via pregnancy. Take plenty of rest if you can, but in case you feel extremely tired, you should talk to your health care provider.
Crying needs no justification
You may experience a variety of emotions during your pregnancy. This is a very exciting time but can also be slightly unnerving. Listen to your body, you may feel extremely happy, but normal hormonal changes may also make you feel like having a good cry from time to time. But don’t stress on trying to figure out why it’s happening! It can be a difficult time for your partner as well to understand what is happening to you and so it’s worth trying to find time to communicate with them how you feel.
Not just the bump is growing
In preparation for your baby’s arrival, glandular tissues will grow in your breasts to prepare for breastfeeding. The growing placenta stimulates the release of oestrogen and progesterone, which in turn stimulates the complex biological system that makes lactation possible. All these changes can cause your breasts to feel tender and a little sore.
For my well-being during pregnancy…
Nipples develop for their leading role
Don’t get worked up if you notice your nipples change color and the area around your nipples (areola) darkening. Some people think this is nature’s way of providing a visual guide to help newborns feed successfully — it shows them where to go! You may also see the appearance of tiny bumps around your areola, which will help protect your nipples, by producing an oily substance which helps to cleanse and lubricate to limit infection during breastfeeding. It also contains a pheromone which your baby will recognize. When it gets close to your due date, you may even notice some small stains on the inside of your bra, where some milk leakage has occurred in anticipation of the birth.
Various parts of your body are getting bigger and it’s useful to know what will be coming next. Some women find that the increase in body fluid, causes their feet or ankles to swell. Hands and fingers may also swell particularly in the heat, which can make it difficult to wear rings and jewelry. If you do experience any swelling, it’s sensible (paradoxically) to drink plenty of water as this will help your kidneys to work and reduce the swelling. Other things which might help include:
- Watching your salt intake
- Not sitting for too long in the same position
- Putting your feet up when you are sitting
Aches and pains
Aches and pains can be common during pregnancy as your body is changing shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. The increased progesterone levels in your body act to soften the muscles and this may result in back or, neck ache and sometimes headaches and sore legs. If you are worried about persistent pain, you should consult your doctor. There are some simple steps you can take to help deal with any aches and pains:
- Be sensible and don’t over strain your body either by doing too much exercise or lifting heavy weights
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed as this can limit the circulation in your legs and lead to varicose veins
Being pregnant should not stop you doing things you used to do, but a useful motto should be ‘all things in moderation’. As a rule of thumb, it’s sensible not to start new types of exercise or sports during pregnancy, and even if you do start yoga or swimming for example, make sure to inform the teacher beforehand as they will know what you should or should not do.
I’m pregnant but overindulging will not help
This change in your life is a good opportunity to take a step back and look at your lifestyle. Make sure that you eat a healthy and balanced diet. There may be times when you suddenly feel hungry and have certain cravings, but it’s wise not to over-indulge. As your bump increases in size, you will tend to eat ‘little and often’, which also helps if you suffer from heartburn and indigestion. Many women find it helpful to allow their food to digest properly before lying down, and avoid drinking lots of liquid during meals.
Stretch marks, increased loo stops and all that jazz
As your pregnancy progresses, your skin will stretch over your bump and sometimes other areas of your body too. Using a moisturizing lotion or cream may help to limit stretch marks. Pressure in the pelvic region can increase the risk of hemorrhoids. You can avoid constipation by eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber. It’s a good idea to drink water regularly, but the increased pressure on your bladder from your growing baby will mean you’ll need to go to the toilet more than normal especially at the beginning and end of your pregnancy as your baby shares the pelvic area with your bladder. For any concerns whatsoever during your pregnancy, you should always seek advice from a qualified health provider.