First the good news. The most horrible symptoms you have been experiencing till now – nausea, fatigue, excessive moodiness and of course, morning sickness will start letting off now. As the days go by, you will feel better and better. Of course there are potentially some more troublesome ahead – but they are far away now. So, this is the perfect time to relax and enjoy your pregnancy.
Let us look at what is happening to your body at this moment.
By now on average, women gain up to five pounds. (In case of twins, it could be up to twenty pounds.) However, this is but an average. So, don’t be worried if you have gained either too little or too less. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Listen to your doctor about what amount you should gain.
Unpleasant but inevitable. Gas and flatulence will be something you will have to learn to deal with for some time.
During your pregnancy, the level of the hormone progesterone will be spiking. This relaxes the muscles of gastrointestinal tract. As a result, your digestive system slows down. What you get because of this is gas and bloating.
Consider using Tums and trying to exercise a little more by walking to keep your digestive tract moving after meals.
The villain in this is also progesterone. Because of the increase in the levels of this hormone, the lower esophageal sphincter (to put it simply the valve that connects the stomach with the esophagus) gets relaxed. This leaves the valve open and gastric acid from the stomach flows into the esophagus. It is this acid, which creates the sensation of heartburn. Usually right behind your breastbone.
If the heartburn becomes too severe, you can speak to your doctor who will prescribe medication. Taking antacids that are calcium based are a good option.
You can also take some simple precautions. Avoid spicy or fatty foods, acidic food and fizzy carbonated drinks.
It is said that more than 70% of women experience insomnia at this stage of their pregnancy. This could be compounded by various factors like frequent urination, leg cramps and sometimes even the restless leg syndrome. At this time, your belly has also started growing larger. This interferes with your regular sleeping position, further disturbing your sleep.
But do not be dismayed. There are some sleeping aids like the pregnancy pillow that can help you sleep during this difficult time. You can also try meditation, or some simple yoga positions.
You may find yourself producing more saliva than normal. Some women may even need to spit out regularly. Strange and uncomfortable as it may sound, it is actually quite normal.
One benefit of excess saliva – it may help your body to fight heartburn.
Though this is not common, it can happen and is not really a cause to worry. As your baby grows inside you, the ligaments supporting the uterus also start growing to support this. This is what causes sharp abdominal pain.
Another side of hormone change. Because of the hormonal upheavals happening inside you, the mucous membranes present in your nose can swell up. This causes the feeling of nasal congestion or stuffy nose. However, this happens without any other signs of cold or illness. You could use a sinus nasal rinse to keep the congestion down without harming the baby.
This is one symptom that will keep on coming and going as your body adjusts to the rising hormone levels.
It is those naughty hormones at work again. They change the way your gum react to bacteria. The result – gingivitis or inflammation of the gums.
Sometimes you may even have small swellings in your gums. These are called pregnancy tumors and are completely harmless and will go away on their own after you deliver.
But here’s the scary part. If you do not take care of your teeth and gums during the pregnancy, the gingivitis can then mature into a full-fledged infection called periodontitis. And this can sometimes cause premature labor.
So, keep your toothbrush, floss and mouthwash handy.
There are many reasons why you get headaches during pregnancy. The most common of course is hormonal changes. Other reasons could be fatigue, stress, increased hunger or even congestion.
Unfortunately, because you are pregnant you cannot just pop a painkiller to fight the headache. However, when you do get a headache, these are the things you can do to get some relief.
1. Spend some time in the dark: A few minutes will do. This works best on stress related headaches. If you are not at home, you can try to get a quiet place and close your eyes while putting your feet up for about twenty minutes or so.
2. Steam Inhalation: This works wonders for sinus headaches.
However, the best thing would be to prevent the headaches. For that, you can try these simple steps.
a. Get Enough Rest: Take frequent rest breaks. Try to keep your feet up. However, do not sleep too much, as that too can trigger a headache.
b. Fresh Air: Stay away from congested and stuffy places. Keep a window open.
c. Eat Regularly: As the old cliché goes – you are now eating for two. So, keep some nutritious snacks handy at all times. This will keep your blood sugar on the level and reduce the chances of headaches.
This is actually a good sign. It means that your circulatory system is growing and your blood production is not being able to match it quickly enough. As a result, sometimes there may not be enough blood flow to the brain and you feel dizzy.
Did you lock the door when leaving the house? Or did you not? Did you forget where you were supposed to have a meeting?
Well occasional memory lapses are common. The reason – hormonal changes combined with lack of sleep. So, there’s really no need to worry.
KICKS AND NUDGES
Your baby is getting bigger. So, by now you will be able to feel it quite more clearly. Nudges, kicks and other baby movements are much more clearer.
GREAT DAYS AHEAD
This is the ideal time to start preparing yourself for the future. Learn new postures to accommodate your baby, start putting on weight (you will need to put on a pound per week), and begin your conversation with your child by beginning to speak to it. You will find that reading to him/her at night is a peaceful way to end your day and very positive for the child. Or have your partner read to the baby, and the baby will learn both of your voices and find comfort in them once born.
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