Pregnancy Facts for Expectant Mothers: Because No Two Pregnancies are Alike

Just got that big, fat positive, have you? Congratulations!! This is a joyous time, and one of so much confusion. Whether it’s your first or your fifth (or beyond!), no two pregnancies are alike, and you may still have questions. There is so much information out there, and it can be super-confusing! I’m going to break it right down for you- because we all know that when you’re pregnant, you can’t keep your eyes off anything pregnancy and baby related.

First off, we’ve really got to discuss toxoplasmosis! Do you hate cleaning out the cat box? Being on your knees gardening? This is a great time to get someone else to do it because exposure to cat feces is usually what carries it. Cat poo is pretty common in garden soil and it’s obviously in the litter box. If you don’t have anyone else to take on those chores, you can reduce your risk quite greatly by wearing gloves and a mask, washing your hands and cleaning out the cat box once or twice a day. The parasite takes longer than one day to become infective. Make sure you’re careful around raw meat, too. Good hand-washing is a must. Hot water and some soap on your hands and any cutting boards should do the trick.

Now that we have that one out of the way, let’s move by trimester. In the first trimester of pregnancy, everything is changing. You might be sick, you might be so tired, you might feel like a totally different person! Or you may just feel fine- back to that “no two pregnancies…” thing. Some people say that you can’t sleep on your stomach anymore. So not true! It’s safe up until you don’t feel comfortable with it. Your body knows what’s OK and it will have no problem letting you in on it.

Some people have “spotting” in the first trimester (0-12 weeks). If it’s bright red and there’s cramping, you might want to call your doctor or midwife and let them know. If it’s brownish and you don’t feel pain, it’s probably fine. Spotting is pretty common at this time, but also very scary! There’s lots of stuff going on down there that won’t seem normal to you. Many women have a change in discharge, heavier- for the most part. Invest in some pantyiners and you’ll be good to go.

The second trimester is a favorite time for a lot of women. Your morning sickness might be receding. You’re used to some of your changes. You’re in the “safety zone”. You’ve probably even heard the heartbeat, and if you haven’t- it’s soon to come! This is the time it gets really exciting. You might even be getting a “baby belly” as opposed to a “bloated belly”. People may start to recognize that you are, in fact, expecting and they may not just wonder if you’ve put on a few pounds. Be careful, your equilibrium might be a little off. Watch it going up stairs and carrying things, be careful wearing heals! These are totally safe- anything you could do prior to pregnancy is OK to do during, as long as it’s a healthy pregnancy and you’re comfortable! No excuse not to carry that laundry- sorry ladies!

This is the energetic part of pregnancy- and that’s great because there’s a lot to do. Your risk of miscarriage has gone down significantly. The baby should start kicking soon, but if this is your first, you might not recognize it. The first movements kind of feel like an Alka-Seltzer tablet has made it’s way into your belly.

Some people experience “ligament pain”. This is when you get some slight cramping in your belly or upper legs/groin. Your body is stretching out to accommodate the rapidly growing baby!

The third trimester, in my opinion, is the most difficult. You gain weight quickly, you can’t do quite as much and you might be really tired. Some days you just want it to be over! A simple sneeze might just make you wish you’d invested in some depends. That’s right- no one really talks about it, but don’t be surprised if you have a little accident when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Heck, even if you hiccup. Good thing you got those pantyliners.

Make sure you get your fiber. Maybe pick up a nursing stool to elevate your feet when you “eliminate” to reduce your risk of hemorrhoids. Ah, the joys of pregnancy. Speaking of nursing, in the last section of pregnancy, you might notice colostrum leaking from your breast. It’s fine, they’re just preparing to feed your baby. It’s a supply and demand thing, so you’ll still have plenty after the baby is born. What if you don’t leak anything? That’s alright, too. It’ll come when it’s needed..

Put your feet up when you can, this can decrease the swelling you might be getting. Grab some comfy shoes- some women go up a whole shoe size!

Just when you think you’re as big as a house and this can’t go on any longer, it will be over- and you’ll have that beautiful baby and forget all the uncomfortable parts!