I feel like there are a lot of "common symptoms" of pregnancy that everyone, men, women and children all know. Those being: missed period, fatigue, sleepiness, getting a huge belly, cravings, and "morning sickness". But, I had NO idea all of the other weird symptoms that are associated with it. let me explain so that when the time comes for you to be pregnant, or, when the next pregnant lady is speaking with you. You will not be as surprised as I was when they say "oh yeah! that's TOTALLY normal". (because let me tell you, it does NOT feel normal)
"any-time-of-the-day-and-possibly-all-day" sickness: morning sickness is the stupidest term ever. i do not know who started it and why we all decide to call it that when i have heard from so many other pregnant women that it wasn't just in the morning for them either. "morning sickness" comes from your body needing so much food, yet, due to how tired your body is from working so hard making the baby, you don't really feel like eating because you are nauseous, it's a vicious cycle. generally, if you eat you feel better, but food smells weird, so you don't want to eat it. your body is too tired so you don't want to make it or even get up to walk to the fridge sometimes, so you don't eat. also, after waiting too long after realizing that you are hungry, you get nauseous, so you don't eat it. But.... if you do ignore the smell and bite into it, or gather the strength to make your favorite dish, or force yourself to eat just because you know you have to. YOU THROW IT UP. (or for me, dry heave all day long) yeah. that's really how it is. granted, this is not going to be the case for everyone. like me for example. i didn't ever actually throw up. but i dry heaved EVERY time i brushed my teeth. and often when food did not sit well with me or i caught a whiff of something rancid. the reason it is called morning sickness is because when your stomach is empty from the nights sleep, you almost always wake up with nausea. but, if you eat a light snack just before bed like toast or crackers or a glass of milk, that will help. and, the best news of it all.... morning sickness usually ends around 13 weeks (the 2nd trimester) because by that time the placenta is fully developed and doing most of the work for you so, you are not as tired, and therefore do not get as sick.
Heartburn: they should call it "heartfire" because if you usually get heartburn, you get it even worse when your pregnant, and if you have never had heartburn before (like me) then you will experience it pretty bad first hand. this, unlike morning sickness lasts all throughout your pregnancy. mostly at night when you are finally relaxing and falling asleep. the stomach acid and extra saliva you produce heads into your esophagus and decides to keep you awake for a little while longer in pain. awesome. the only solution i've read to this one is to not lay in bed until you are almost asleep. (so if you watch t.v. or read, or talk with your spouse, or do homework before bed. do it sitting up) and when you do actually lay down for sleep, make sure to keep your head elevated with lots of pillows to keep your head about 6 inches off the mattress. that way gravity will keep those lovely fluids down in your stomach where they belong.
"Anti" Cravings: for the first trimester (weeks 1-12) you rarely have cravings, those come during the second trimester (weeks 13-26). so instead of having cravings like everyone thinks you should. (because cravings are a common symptom remember) instead, for the first three months, you have what i call anti-cravings. instead of saying, hmm... pickles and ice cream would be nice. you think. i don't care what i eat as long as it isn't: onions, dark chocolate, watermelon, anything that smells like fish, casseroles, spicy, anything that comes in a noisy bag, jam unless it was made by my mom, yellow, has too many flavors, etc. notice: when you crave something, you are usually craving a food item (or non food item like: dirt). but when you anti-crave something, you dislike not just the item, but possibly how it was made, what it looks like, the packaging it comes in, or who makes it. the possibilities are endless! brands become specific. ("no! it has to be tillamook cheese!!!") the time of day in which you eat it. (i can't eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, even though that sounds good-ish) and the tiniest little things like expiration dates that you never paid attention to before. you start smelling things before you buy it like the rich snobs that you sometimes see in walmart. you buy stuff that is good to snack on, but nothing actually makes a meal, and in worst case scenarios, if you are someone that throws up your food. you think about what it would look like partially digested in the toilet before you eat it. yeah. ENJOY!
Congestion: because my brain is slowly being stolen by my child, i can never think of the word! so instead i usually end up calling it "constipation of the nose" but, seeing as constipation is actually talked about in this post, i'll refrain from writing that word twice. haha. instead, im going to talk about congestion. nasal congestion. you get this little cold every night. and blowing your nose doesn't help. it's not all gross and green like it is when your sick. it's just... bothersome. it just makes it hard to get a full breath of air, and makes you snore, and sometimes wakes you because one of your nostrils or possibly both have completely closed off. some people think that it is because lots of things are swelling when your pregnant, and so your nasal passage might be one of them. but, besides making you wake from sleep, or making it more difficult to sleep, or causing your voice to sound different on the phone, it really doesn't do much more than that. and let's face it. you've got a baby coming. you might as well get used to waking up from your sleep anyway.
Constipation: self explanatory. just know that it is actually fairly common and no. just because your pregnant every organ in your entire body isn't going to freak out. Oh wait. Yeah, it does.
Gas (and bloating): although you don't expect your pregnant belly to form until a few months into the pregnancy, you can expect some bloating right from the get go. this does not look like a cute prego belly, it just looks like fat. like you did when you were bloated while on your period. and, you guessed it. gas comes along with it. so, hopefully you and your husband have a good enough of a relationship to let one loose in front of him because you just might need to more frequently now that your pregnant. because, although some gas-x might look very appealing right now. be careful, that medicine is affecting your baby now too so talk to your doctor first, and most likely, he will suggest you just grin and bear it.
Having to sleep on your left side: doctors don't say you NEED to until your 20 weeks into the pregnancy, but, you should get started from the start just so that you can form the habit. sleeping on your left side allows the blood to flow more freely to the uterus and keep your baby healthy. sleeping on your stomach will not be possible in the last months of pregnancy, and will be painful for the months before hand (it feels like a sore muscle being ripped sometimes) and, sleeping on your back when you are farther along and your baby and uterus weight puts pressure on your organs. and, last option, sleeping on your right side instead of your left blocks blood vessels that carry nutrients to your uterus. the vessel you want to favor is the one on the right side of your body, leave that one free and clear without pressure by sleeping on your left side. you can use a body pillow to help with the transition.
Saliva overload: i haven't found any article that explains why this happens, but, it does. you are creating more spit. all the time. this doesn't help with nausea because your body creates more saliva right before you are about to vomit so... you kinda feel like your going to vomit all day long. but, just keep something to suck on like mini candies or mints (not gum) handy at all times. it really does help. especially at night.
Being a horrible wife: for the first few months or years of marriage i think all women try to make sure that their husbands come home from work or school to a meal and a clean house. well, i've noticed that a lot of pregnant women have no desire to cook or clean due to smells. i had a hard time of doing dishes with all those mixed smells, and laundry! every time i pulled out another section of clothing a waft of associated smells would come right out of the hamper with it and into my un-welcoming nose. this also fades away as the weeks tick by. but, try to force your way though it because an overwhelming load of clothing, or piles of dishes not only makes the entire room smell but... you end up having to do it anyway. plus, it's alot easier to just sleep, or try to relax (which is what your body really needs) when you don't have a list of chores to worry about.
Fatigue my eye, its EXHAUSTION!: i don't think most people -especially your spouse- understand how hard it is to make a baby. maybe this will put it into perspective. your heart is working 4 times harder just from sitting while pregnant. that's as hard as your heart was working if you were running when you weren't pregnant! all day, all night. running. no wonder you feel so tired and want to nap and sleep all day! no wonder your nauseous, i'd be throwing up if i was running that much anyway! you need to take deeper breaths to get your baby oxygen, your heart needs to work overload to get more blood circulating down to your uterus, your cells are being deprived of nutrients so that you can give them to your parasite that you love. your bowels are going constipated so that they can suck out every possible nutrient because you and your baby need all the help you can get. every organ is working as hard as it can, and using up all the tricks it knows. no one is slacking. imagine your body as the workplace and the ceo of the company from new york is coming to town to visit your branch. yeah. the ceo=baby. branch=your body. everything gets moved around, cleaned, everyone is on their best behavior, baby's bossing everyone around telling them to work harder and bring him lunch. soon though, this ceo get's it's own personal assistant called the placenta. once it is fully developed (as i mentioned before in week 13) everyone calms down, baby is happy, and you notice, a lot of those symptoms you hate and had to deal with before go away as your nausea goes away, you get your energy back and you take a much needed vacation called a "babymoon"!
NO MEDICINE!: there are very few over the counter drugs that your OBGYN will actually suggest while your pregnant. no ibuprofen, no advil, no nothing. take your vitamins! don't stop those! and if you have any prescriptions make sure you notify all your doctors and tell them that your pregnant so that they can either have you go off your medication, or change the dosage, but if your dealing with pain, cramps, headaches, fever, colds/flu, extreme nausea, or any other things that you would usually take medicine for, talk with your doctor and he can recommend something fit for both you and your baby. (it will usually be found down the children's isle ie:baby tylenol) but, if all else fails, stick with eating your fruits and veggies, drinking water, resting, and letting the sickness take it's course.
Frozen hands and feet: due to the heart working so hard as i said before, your hands and feet might swell and be cold, or possible fall asleep because the blood is focusing on flowing to the baby that your extremities sometimes take a hit, and get pushed to the side lines, a little exercise helps this it's also a perfect reason to convince your hubby into giving you a nice massage. but make sure you are wearing appropriate (flat) shoes that aren't too tight. Also, you might want to take your wedding ring off or replace with a temporary larger size now before it's too late.
other tidbits to keep in mind:
-eating for two actually does not mean 4,000 calories instead of the usual 2,000. you are only supposed to eat around 100 more calories per day than you normally would. and the average pregnancy should only gain around 25-30 pounds. and if your wondering when you'll start showing. usually that's between weeks 14 and 18 (earlier if it's not your first child)
-depending on your weight, height, genetics, and bone structure. how your belly looks, weather you get stretch marks, where you gain and weather you lose your baby weight fast or slow all is personal and fit to you. don't compare.
-listen to your body. if your tired, take a nap. if your hungry, eat some food. if you feel like somethings wrong, call your doctor or just head to the hospital. you and your motherly intuitions that are slowly forming are the best things you can listen to.
-the internet is here for a reason. if you have a question, google it!
-involve your husband,partner and family. they are just as intrigued about your body's changes as you are.
-with all these new hormones you are basically going through puberty again so you can expect acne, and mood swings to follow.
-some of those hormones are good! they produce healthier, shinier, and thicker hair and nails. embrace this while you can because as soon as pregnancy is over... your nails chip and crack, and hair falls out in handfuls (commonly.)
-your lungs are adapting and changing as well, they are growing to allow more air and deeper breaths. so, they might feel sore or tight. but just realize it's to give your baby the oxygen he/she needs. it's worth it.
-if you find that you keep forgetting things or can't finish your sentence, that's "totally normal" just start writing things down. a blog is a good idea for this, or sticky notes, or a dry erase marker list on your mirror. anything that works for you.
Happy Changing! and good luck!!!