What to Expect when you’re expecting

With pregnancy come many more surprises than just the baby’s sex and eye colour. Not only will your clothing sizes change, there are so many other possibilities the next nine months holds. Even with all the information available related to pregnancy, it can still be difficult to determine what your pregnancy will mean for you or if something you are experiencing is common or unique to you.

To help ease some of your possible concerns and help you navigate through the next three trimesters, we’ve put together this guide of pregnancy experiences to help you begin to figure out what to expect when you’re expecting.

Physical Changes

Physical changes are some of the most obvious signs of pregnancy, which makes keeping your bundle of joy a secret virtually impossible. One of the first indications of pregnancy is an increase in breast size due to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone at the onset of pregnancy.

Additionally, during pregnancy, there is an increase in blood volume to provide extra blood flow to the uterus and other organs and to meet the metabolic needs of the fetus. The greater volume brings more blood to the vessels and increases oil gland secretion causing the notorious “pregnancy glow.” The glowing skin that is commonly associated with pregnancy is only one of many skin changes you may experience due to hormonal changes and the stretching of your skin to accommodate a new housing arrangement.

As a result of pregnancy hormones, many women also experience skin pigment darkening. The body may not produce this increased pigment evenly, so the darkened skin may appear as splotches of color. However, these skin changes will likely disappear after you give birth.

Changes in hair texture and growth during pregnancy are quite common, as well. Hormones secreted by your body during pregnancy may cause your hair to grow faster and become stronger. Some women even find their hair changing color. Additionally, it is possible that your hair may start to grow in unwanted places, like on your face or belly.

While some of your body’s changes during pregnancy may be welcomed (hello long, thick hair!), there are a slew of others that are much less appealing. For example, varicose veins can occur when blood pools in veins that have been enlarged by pregnancy hormones. Pregnancy also often results in hemorrhoids, which are varicose veins in the rectum. A combination of increased blood volume and pressure from your uterus on your pelvis can cause the veins in your rectum to enlarge into grape-like clusters. To help prevent hemorrhoids, eat a fiber-rich diet, drink plenty of fluids daily, and exercise regularly to help keep bowel movements regular. Stool softeners (not laxatives) may also help, and your doctor can provide you with a cream or ointment that can shrink them and make pregnancy a little easier to handle.

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Other Changes

At the beginning of your pregnancy, fatigue and morning sickness can make many women feel worn out and mentally fuzzy. Along with the main perpetrator of pregnancy woes (hormones), being preoccupied with the baby is one cause of this mental exhaustion. With the right to-do list, you can fight “pregnancy brain” and get through the next nine months in one piece.

Additionally, as your body transitions into your baby’s temporary home, you may start to experience the nesting instinct, a powerful urge to prepare for the baby by cleaning and decorating. When the due date begins to creep closer, you may find yourself regularly cleaning cupboards or washing walls out of nowhere! However, it is much easier to over-extend yourself during pregnancy, so be careful not to do too much too quickly.

After surviving varicose veins and endless fatigue for nine months, the day you give birth will probably hold the biggest surprises of all. Only 1 in 10 expectant mothers’ water breaks before labor contractions begin, which may feel like an intense urge to urinate that leads to a gush of fluid or only a mild trickling sensation. Once baby has given the all clear for labor, some women experience nausea and vomiting or have diarrhea and/or flatulence before or during labor. During the pushing phase of labor, it is also common to lose control of your bladder or bowels.

While there are too many possible pregnancy experiences to ever compile a complete list, know that, for the most part, you aren’t alone in your pregnancy experience. Although every pregnancy is unique, you can rest assured that fellow expectant moms around the world are cursing uncomfortably enlarged breasts along with you!

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Guest Post

This post was written for Fashion-Mommy by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used portable ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+.