Being pregnant has its perks, but it can also have some low moments as well. One thing I know for sure, is that every pregnancy and pregnant woman is different. So I am not here to tell you all of the wonderful experiences you will have being pregnant. Nor am I here to tell you that you will be throwing up everyday. I would just like to inform you on some of the side effects the pregnancy lifestyle can have.
Just like when trying to conceive, nutrition is very important. I am not a nutritionist, but I did try to eat healthy for the most part. Who am I kidding, I ate whatever I wanted when I wanted. That would explain why I gained at least 50lbs with my daughter (my doctor agreed to stop weighing me at 32 weeks of pregnancy as not to upset me). I was lucky with her as I didn’t really experience any morning sickness. However, I did experience severe heartburn with her from the beginning of the pregnancy.
Calcium carbonate antacids such as: Tums, Maalox, and Rolaids are generally safe to take during pregnancy. I needed something stronger so I took Zantac once a day because nothing else was working. I remember at one point, I had to sleep sitting up because the reflux was so bad. There is an old wives tale that having heartburn means the baby has or will have a lot of hair. I do not know if it is true, but my daughter did come out with a lot of hair. However, I didn’t have heartburn with my son and he came out with hair. Just not as much as my daughter. So take it for what it’s worth!
With my daughter I was also cursed with acne during the first trimester. Thanks to those increased hormones called androgens, I was an oily mess with acne all over my face! It wasn’t like the normal PMS breakout, it was full on high school teen breakout. I couldn’t even cover it up. Luckily, this went away by the second trimester as it normally lasts through the second trimester.
Acne treatment during pregnancy will be pretty mild because things you put on your skin are absorbed into your bloodstream and can affect your growing baby. For example, you will want to avoid acne treatments that have benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or any retinoids because they are considered to be category c drugs by the FDA meaning the risks to the fetus cannot be ruled out. Which reminds me that you will start thinking and speaking of any medications you might be taking or considering taking into categories.
FDA Pregnancy Categories
The FDA has rated prescriptions, OTC medicine, and biological drugs as Category A, B, C, D, and X. With Category A being the least amount of risk and Category X being positive for fetal risk and/or abnormalities. Since no drug or medication is risk free, your doctor will likely tell you that drugs within Categories A and B are generally okay. In some cases, if the benefits outweigh the risks, you may even be given a Category C drug. Whenever in doubt, consult your physician or the pharmacist. However, if you find yourself needing something in the middle of the night such as a cold medication or a sleep aid, you can look up medication safety at: www.safefetus.com.
Speaking of sleep, I found myself being so tired during the first trimester, my favorite pastime was sleeping. This was very different for me as I normally suffer from insomnia, but due to rising progesterone levels during pregnancy I was able to fall asleep as soon as I closed my eyes. So for me, being able to fall asleep quickly and easily was a blessing. However, towards the end of pregnancy, sleep was hard to come by due to getting uncomfortable. My doctor suggested taking a Benadryl (Category B) on certain occasions to help me sleep.
Sleeping in the third trimester became harder due to the weight in my abdomen and the sciatic nerve pain I experienced due to the pressure of pregnancy. It became harder to move and it is recommended you sleep on your left side to increase the blood flow and nutrients to the placenta. I am normally a stomach sleeper so this was just completely uncomfortable. Not to mention getting up to pee every single hour if not more!
Frequent urination occurs in early pregnancy also due hormones and the increased blood flow to the kidneys. The peeing usually settles down in the second trimester. However, as your baby grows in the third trimester, you will likely find yourself peeing all the time as the baby is putting pressure on your bladder. So breakout the Poise Pads and keep a spare pair of pants just in case you can’t make it to the bathroom in time! I remember thinking my water broke or I was leaking amniotic fluid on several occasions because I was peeing so often. Sadly, sometimes I didn’t even know I peed when I laughed. Needless to say, I made a few unnecessary trips to the L&D only to find out that I peed myself. Due to extreme thirst, my urine was always diluted so my bionic nose couldn’t detect the smell of urine.
Heightened Sense of Smell
Yes, pregnancy hormones tend to heighten your sense of smell. This can be good and bad. Things that I use to think smelled beautiful suddenly turned my stomach. Like my perfume or my husband’s body wash. This is so hard to explain, but I could even smell myself more. Not in a bad or disgusting way, but like the scent of my own body. It was pretty weird and I never smell my when I am not pregnant. I imagine it must be the scent the baby recognizes me by.
On the other hand, certain foods smelled so good that it made eating so enjoyable, but if something smelled off, I was definitely throwing up! It was so refreshing to be able to eat things that I thought might be disgusting when I wasn’t pregnant. There really wasn’t too much that I didn’t enjoy eating when I was pregnant with my daughter. However, with my son I had no appetite at all, but that didn’t stop me from gaining weight somehow!
Even though my husband doesn’t believe me, I really did enjoy being pregnant. I complained and I cried a lot, but I just thought about that beautiful baby that was to be the outcome of all of my craziness! There is just so much to being pregnant that every woman’s experience will be so different. My pregnancies were completely different from each other and I didn’t know what to expect. The best advice I can give is to be open minded and kind to yourself. Do not have expectations as to what your pregnancy should be and try not to freak out over all of the changes (easier said than done). Maybe your pregnancy will be smooth and uneventful, or maybe you will grow a full on mustache. Either way, give yourself a break because after all, you are growing a tiny human!