The joys of a positive pregnancy test and the excitement of finally becoming a mother can be quickly overshadowed with questions and concerns. How can a person stay confident when suddenly everything is out of control? The more you realize that confidence is a matter of perspective and understanding, the easier it will be to rock this pregnancy!
Your body knows what it is doing.
Pregnancy can be very complicated and difficult to understand, but it is helpful to remember that a woman’s body knows exactly what it is doing. A woman may feel powerless or think that nothing is under her control, but it is helpful to remember that the uterus does not need an instruction book to work properly. It will just do its job to the best of its ability.
To assist the uterus, and the rest of your body, the Mayo Clinic suggests prenatal yoga. With permission from your doctor, prenatal yoga exercises can help to provide centering for your mind – this a calming presence that can help to bring the out-of-control feelings into a place of comfort and rest. The breathing and stretches are also helpful to improve sleep, increase flexibility, and decrease back and joint pain. See our blog post - Five Exercises You Can Safely Do While Pregnant - for more on exercise during pregnancy.
Weight Gain is Different for Everyone.
As unique as you are, so will be your weight gain for the first pregnancy. Some women do not gain weight at all during the first trimester; others pack it on very slowly, and some women gain many pounds. PennState Hershey Medical Center recommends that women typically should gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy; however, this is just a recommendation. For women who are smaller or larger, their weight gain recommendations may differ.
The best thing to focus on is healthy eating. Your growing baby needs vitamins and minerals from quality lean proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables more than it needs calories from pizza and hamburgers.
Morning sickness may happen and it may not.
It’s true! Not all women experience morning sickness; it typically affects more than 50 percent of women, but some women are completely symptom-free. Increased hormones are thought to be the cause of morning sickness, and some doctors consider the presence of this condition as a healthy sign of pregnancy.
While no one wants to be feeling miserable, many things can be done to help alleviate the symptoms. These are:
- Don’t get too hungry. Eat 5-6 small meals a day
- Keep snacks with you
- Ginger ale and ginger candy can help relieve nausea
- Stay cool - avoid hot, stuffy rooms
- Get plenty of fresh air
- Salty and sour snacks are better than sweet ones
- Wearing a compression-band on your wrist
- Acupuncture (only from a qualified, licensed professional)
If you are unable to eat or are vomiting two or more times a day, your doctor needs to know about this. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a dangerous condition that can be very harmful to you and your baby due to the risk of dehydration and malnutrition. It is imperative to keep your doctor informed about the severity of the morning sickness.
Sleep is your new best friend.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the first trimester can make you more tired because of the increased progesterone. Progesterone initially thickens the uterine lining before pregnancy. Once the fertilized egg comes into the uterus, it keeps the mother’s immune system from attacking the baby and stops uterine contractions. As vital as this hormone is, it also relaxes the entire body. This forced relaxation can make a person very sleepy.
Getting eight hours of sleep a night may not be enough for you to feel rested. You may want to take a short nap in the afternoon to feel better. If possible, adjusting work schedules or rearranging activities to increase times of rest can help to alleviate the feelings of exhaustion. In addition to providing assurance that you are sleeping in the proper body orientation, the Pregnancy Coach® System provides detailed data on your deep, light, and restless sleep so that you can accurately monitor this important aspect of your pregnancy health.
Anxiety can be reduced with a strong support system.
Every grandmother, aunt, and friend seemingly has a horror story about pregnancy, but these anxiety-inducing stories are best to be avoided. Positive mental health is vital for fetal and maternal health. In March 2018, the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research published a study on the effects of mental health in pregnancy.
The study looked at 120 pregnant women with varying degrees of anxiety and depression. The results showed that first-time mothers (also called nulliparous) were not prepared for the anxiety and stress that pregnancy brings. However, with education and training about pregnancy and delivery, the women’s anxiety improved. It also showed that when a pregnant woman has someone else to lean on during the pregnancy, mental health improves faster.
Whether it is a spouse or a friend, having a strong support system is crucial to help overcome the emotional ups and downs that pregnancy can bring.
Pregnancy is a beautiful time full of anticipation. It is essential to focus on reducing your anxiety and remembering that your body knows what it is doing. The more you can do some gentle exercises, get some extra sleep and eat properly, the easier your pregnancy can be. So go out there and enjoy this wonderful new experience of pregnancy; you got this!