I work with a lot of pregnant women and a common phrase among them is “Pregnancy ain’t glamorous like on TV”. This a very true statement. The media with the help of reality television has illustrated pregnancy and now labor into 9 months of perfection, bliss and flawless beauty. Pregnancy is a beautiful period in a woman’s life. It is laced with mental growth, maturation, and joy that surpasses all understanding. Most of us aren’t celebrities. We don’t have nutritionists, trainers, chefs, and daily stylists. We do the best we can to make ourselves look and most importantly feel fabulous. Pregnancy has its good days and its not-so-good days. A few of my clients wanted me to share some of their least favorite pregnancy memories.
Nausea and Vomiting: Speaking from personal experience this is my least favorite memory of my pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting are usually prominent in the first trimester and slowly or sometimes abruptly ends with the beginning of the second trimester. These two symptoms are caused by the influx of hormones, in particular, progesterone, that is used to create the vital parts of your baby. There is no universal remedy for nausea and vomiting. Treatments that help some women make other women feel worse. Trial and error is the name of the game. Experts, meaning women who have experienced this, recommend small, frequent meals. Call your midwife or OB if you experience severe vomiting, dark or very little urine, dizziness or blood in your vomit.
Excessive Saliva: Most moms call this the most annoying of all of the symptoms of pregnancy. Experts are unsure about what causes the excess spitting but many attribute it to an increase in hormones, of course. Excessive saliva can also cause heartburn and lead to increased nausea. Many women recommend rinsing your mouth with mouthwash multiple times a day. Avoiding starchy foods and drinking plenty of water helps as well. If your symptom worsens or your exhibit signs of dehydration, call your OB or midwife.
Acne: I’m going to be brutally honest, some women just don’t glow when they are pregnant. I was one of them. My skin was covered in pustule acne, especially on my back. As I approached my third trimester, the skin on my face and neck begin to peel. It was very reptilian and not very sexy. Once again, this is caused by a shuffling of hormones that are used to grow your baby. An increase in melanin causes the darkening of the skin which also includes existing scars. Consult your OB or midwife before starting any new facial treatments.
Vaginal Discharge: It is rarely talked about but it is common for every pregnant woman. Leukorrhea is the thin, odorless, white discharge that presents during early pregnancy. It is very common and totally normal but completely annoying. Frequent use of unscented panty liners is recommended. You should avoid douching and using tampons. If the odor, consistency and/or color of the discharge changes, you need to contact your midwife or OB. These changes could be signs of a vaginal infection.
Anxiety and Mood Swings: What, who’s moody? Do not mistake this for some undiagnosed mental health illness. Trust me, the last thing you want to call a pregnant woman is crazy. The first trimester is a mix of emotions. You may be worried about a miscarriage, weight gain, affording a baby, being a mom, or all of the above. In addition to these emotions, you have a cocktail of hormones in your body that are mixing and shaking to form your baby’s organs. You may lash out. You may cry. You may say nothing at all. Just know that these emotions are normal. If you feel like your emotions are disrupting your life where you cannot care for yourself or you have thoughts of suicide or homicide please contact your local crisis helpline or health care provider for assistance.
Congratulations on your pregnancy; now the fun begins. Yes, your breasts may swell to the size of melons. And you may periodically pee on yourself in public, but you are about to be a mom and you will rock it regardless of how you look. Sure your body may not look like those women on the covers of the magazines, but your baby will be cuter and will have a normal name.