Discover what changes to expect as your body adapts to pregnancy and what you can do to cope.
You may not feel quite like yourself as your body adjusts to pregnancy. Physical and emotional changes are to be expected, especially when you consider that a pregnant woman's hormones can soar to up to 10 times their pre-pregnancy level1. Here are some changes that you may be experiencing:
During pregnancy, your body produces a surplus of progesterone, which acts as a sedative. You are also working to increase your blood supply, with your pulse quickening by 10-15 beats per minute2. You should have more energy going into Month 4, after the baby's placenta is formed. Tip: Get as much rest as you can. Drink enough water, and choose nutritious snacks if you sleep through mealtime. Try to exercise for a little energy boost, but always check with your doctor first before beginning any exercise program.
Morning sickness affects 50- to 90% of expectant mothers and it is not limited to mornings. Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy cause this queasiness1. Tip: Keep something in your stomach at all times. Crackers, cereal, ginger tea or fruit can all help settle your stomach. Limit or avoid greasy foods, and foods with strong flavours or smells. Keep up your fluid intake, expecially if you vomit frequently. If your nausea and vomiting are severe, call your doctor.
As your uterus increases in size, it puts more pressure on your bladder, which results in a frequent need to urinate2. Tip: Limit your fluid intake in the evening, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Pregnancy hormones can slow down your intestinal tract and cause constipation2. Tip: Drink plenty of water and eat ample amounts of high-fibre foods. Exercise can help to regulate your system, but check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Do not use laxatives unless your doctor recommends it.
Pregnancy hormones can make breasts feel extremely sensitive1. Tip: Wear a supportive bra, like an athletic bra, even at night if necessary.
Headaches and Dizziness
During the first few months of your pregnancy, your increased blood supply and soaring hormone levels can cause headaches and light-headedness1. As your body gets used to the hormone levels, the headaches may subside over time. Tip: For sinus headaches, apply a warm compress to the front and sides of your face or forehead. For tension headaches, try a cold compress to the back of your neck. Try to relax, and be sure to snack throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
Healthy Hint for Your Pregnancy
Schedule your first prenatal visit. It is important to find a doctor as soon as you know that you are pregnant. The quality of care that you receive can greatly assist your pregnancy and your developing baby's development.