What to Expect During Pregnancy: An overview of the classic signs and symptoms. Part I

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Being a birth-mother of two (step-mom to three), I wanted to write an article related to what to expect during pregnancy.  When I was pregnant, 17 years ago, I read all the books and articles that I could get my hands on yet all the clinical facts left me scratching my head.  Nothing seemed to touch on the reality of the situation that I found myself in.  It is in the hope that I can make people aware of the little tid-bits that accompany pregnancy, that I write this now.  Although I am a nurse, I will try to keep this as “clinical-free” as possible.

Nowadays, pregnancy test kits are the rage.  They were around back in ’92, when I had my daughter but I never used one.  False positives…false negatives, I wanted to know without a shadow of a doubt whether I was “with child” or not so I went to the doctor.  He performed a blood test to test for the specific hormone that is present during pregnancy and, low and behold, it was there and I was pregnant!  Although I was thrilled at the prospect to have another child, I nearly fell off the table.  Finding out that you’re going to have a baby is a definate shock to the system. *grin*

So, home I went, complete with a pamphlet about “Stages of Pregnancy” and a nifty bottle of pre-natal vitamins.

At approximately 2 months along, I started suffering from morning sickness.  As soon as I would open my eyes, the world would swim and that horribly uncomfortable feeling of nausea would hit.  Even though I knew that it was normal, I found this a terrible way to begin each day.  I phoned the doctor and was told to sleep with a pack of crackers by my bedside so, first thing in the morning, I could eat a few and I’d feel better.  He lied.  Nothing felt better and I was still sick each morning.  What I discovered was that certain smells triggered my nausea and, if these smells were absent, I felt a bit better.  With my son, the “trigger” was coffee–with my daughter, the “trigger” was hair spray.  If you are ill each morning, watch for smells that make you uncomfortable and rethink your morning routine.  Get up an hour earlier so that you can eat your crackers (if that helps you) and get your bearings.  No one wants to be driving down the road and feeling sick.

Cravings, you gotta love them!  When I was pregnant, I craved salt potatoes at 2am, pancakes at midnight, iced apple pies and Screaming Yellow Zonkers constantly!  If you want it, you want it–no amount of gentle coersions can satisfy the need. However, what you crave during the early months of your pregnancy, will directly effect your weigh gain and, ultimately, effect the amount of “baby fat” to be shed of in a few months.  We can’t pick what we crave, of course but be cognizant of what you’re shoving in your face. (Take that from the “Salt Potato Queen”!)  Not only is weight gain a bother after pregnancy, it can have direct and serious ramafications to you and your child during pregnancy.

Weight gain–excessive weight gain–can lead to diabetes and/or high blood pressure.  Both are grave risks for the monther and child.  Gestational diabetes is dangerous and, if uncontrolled, possibly deadly.  GD leads to larger babies and that could mean a C-section for the mom.  High blood pressure could lead to stroke.  Be aware of the dangers of both.  Try to stay away from salt.  Not only will that pile on the weight, it will also lead to the absorbance of water.  Water weight gain is not healthy…and your ankles and feet will bloat.  I had to wear my husband’s flip-flops for the last month of pregnancy due to my “salt potato” habit and my feet being the size of Rhode Island.  And although I write this a bit “tongue-in-cheek”, it’s vital that you monitor your weight.  The doctor will on your visits but you need to take some responsibility, too.

*Please read Part II of this blog…dealing with mood swings, mask of pregnancy, stretch marks, etc…as I’ve become long-winded.*

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