Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, and something that a lot of people aspire to. However, those 9 months can be a delicate time for you and your unborn child. There are plenty of everyday things we take for granted that are not always safe for expecting mothers.
To ensure a safe journey to motherhood, here are 8 things you should watch out for when pregnant.
1. Nausea-inducing dishes
Have you ever seen scenes in movies or shows where someone is pregnant and throwing up all the time? Well, while it is not something that happens in every case, it nonetheless happens much more often than not. Expect to have at least occasional sickness, both in the morning and at other times of day as well.
If you're trying to reduce your nausea levels, the best way is to avoid certain food types, like spicy or greasy foods (as tasty as they may be). You should also be mindful of portions; instead of eating a few large meals, consider eating several small meals throughout the day. Saltine crackers are also a good way to ease nausea, as they absorb gastric acid, which helps settle your stomach.
You should also be mindful that you don't exert yourself too often. Don't get up too quickly, and be cautious that you don't do exhausting activities.
Another stereotype of pregnant women is the desire to eat strange things, but that is definitely true and understandable. The reason being that, when you're carrying an extra lifeform in you, eating your normal amount and type of food may not be adequate to feed both you and your unborn child. You then need to compensate for the loss of nutrients.
Pickles are among the most common cravings pregnant people experience, and there's a good reason for that. Pregnancy often results in low sodium levels, and as such, they need to compensate for that deficit the best they can. And there are few better ways to do that than pickles (without just pouring salt into your mouth, but I don't recommend that!).
3. Certain "substances" can really mess up a pregnancy
When you're pregnant, you absolutely should cease the consumption of certain substances at all costs. Some substances are more harmful than others, and even relatively innocuous ones can be harmful. For example, if you're a bit of a coffee head, you definitely need to cut down on those Starbucks lattes. You can still enjoy a moderate amount of caffeine in the day without creating problems, but you're recommended to limit it to no more than 200mg per day.
Of course, there are certain substances that pose serious risks. If you drink alcohol, for instance, that could cause serious birth defects, so definitely avoid doing that! Marijuana use can also impact the pregnancy, both before and during.
4. Preterm labor symptoms
Sometimes these things may just be false alarms, but it's better safe than sorry to keep an eye out for preterm labor. Such symptoms include (but are not limited to):
- Pain - moderate to severe, especially in the stomach, back, and head.
- Pressure on your pelvis
- Excessive swelling
- Fever, dizziness, severe nausea, vomiting, etc.
Now, you may experience some of these symptoms even as a normal course of the pregnancy, but they are, at the very least, things to worry about. Preterm labor can be very poor for both you and your baby, so don't mess around if you think that you may be going through that. Thinking that an issue isn't that big a deal is a common way to have serious issues occur with you or your unborn child.
5. Mood swings
Being that pregnancy is quite a challenging thing, you should expect that your mood is not always going to be as good as you want it to be. Often, this can mean treating people in ways that you regret afterward. Ultimately, you should try to prevent this by avoiding stressors where possible in order to avoid triggering a mood swing. Additionally, you should try to keep your schedule consistent - eat around the same time, try to get as much sleep as you can, and try to avoid indulging in unhealthy foods.
Now, granted, you're not going to avoid having your hormones send you off balance every single time. Thus, you should, at the very least, try to make sure that you and your partner understand that the process is not always going to be easy or fun, even if it will be worth the effort.
6. Childbirth carries risks
As with any procedure, there are things that a person may suffer from if they go through giving birth. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, especially for some people. Make sure to discuss with your doctor what complications you may face during pregnancy.
Certain ailments, for example, create a higher risk than average for a safe pregnancy. Untreated blood pressure may cause issues with your kidneys, which in turn may cause complications during childbirth, such as low birth weight. Diabetes may also create issues during pregnancy, as high blood sugar levels may lead to birth defects, even early on in the pregnancy.
An unfortunate thing that a lot of pregnant women face is discrimination. This became a lot more significant as a greater percentage of the workforce became female, as even the fact that a woman may get pregnant may lead to discriminatory behavior. This is because there are certain workplace entitlements, including breastfeeding breaks and maternity leave that could leave other people at your job feeling upset or insecure.
If you are a job applicant or an employee who believes that an employer has discriminated against you because of your pregnancy or your pregnancy-related disability, you can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Learn more about filing a charge of discrimination
8. Health Complications
Many people have safe and comfortable pregnancies. But not everyone does, there are a number of health complications you should be aware of and speak to your doctor about.
Pre eclampsia is common but something to take seriously. Be sure to speak to your doctor if you notice any swelling, head ache or vision changes.
- Swelling in your hands makes it hard to bend your fingers or wear rings.
- Swelling in your face makes it hard to open your eyes all the way—they feel and look puffy.
- Your lips and mouth feel swollen or you have a loss of feeling.
Another common pregnancy health concern is Gestational diabetes. It occurs when a woman who didn't have diabetes before pregnancy develops the condition during pregnancy.
Normally, the body digests parts of your food into a sugar called glucose. Glucose is your body's main source of energy. After digestion, the glucose moves into your blood to give your body energy.
To get the glucose out of your blood and into the cells of your body, your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. In gestational diabetes, hormonal changes from pregnancy cause the body to either not make enough insulin, or not use it normally. Instead, the glucose builds up in your blood, causing diabetes, otherwise known as high blood sugar. This is something your doctor will bring to your attention after standard tests.
While stillbirths are not terribly common, they're common enough that you should be prepared for that possibility. There are roughly 1 out of 175 stillbirths in the US. A stillbirth can occur as a result of a variety of things, including birth defects, infection, complications during pregnancy, and more. In some cases, it may not be that easy to anticipate, so working with your doctor is the best way to mitigate the risk.
Its still worth it!
While it is challenging to be pregnant there are beautiful aspects to bringing a life into this world. And the most important thing to remember is that it will end with a bundle of joy in your arms.