Once those two pink lines appear on that pregnancy test you already know that your life will never be the same. Though you probably have heard a lot of horror stories from friends and family members about pregnancy and childbirth, it is difficult to know exactly what to expect when you are pregnant. Get ready for a whole new world and learn just what you can expect during these next nine months.
Change in Appetite and Food Cravings
You may have already heard the old wives’ tale of women craving pickles and ice cream when pregnant. Though this may not be your particular craving, pregnant women indeed have strong cravings. A 2014 study done by researchers at the University of Albany found that 50 to 90 percent of women experience cravings during pregnancy. These pregnancy cravings tend to hit at the end of the first trimester and dwindle toward the end of pregnancy. Chocolate, eggs, cheese, and bacon top the list of the most popular cravings.
On the other side of things, morning sickness can cause serious food aversions and nausea that can make it difficult to keep food down. Hormonal changes can make even your most favorite foods seem undesirable. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find yourself hungry all of the time but only able to eat a small amount of food at each meal. Try to eat as healthy as possible, keep taking your prenatal vitamins and enjoy the weird cravings as they strike.
Changes in Abdominal Muscles
If you worked hard to tone your abdominal muscles before pregnancy, you may wonder what will happen to them. If you have ever asked yourself what is diastasis recti exactly, you are not alone. Diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles stretch sideways. This damages the connective tissue in the abdominal muscles and causes a protruding stomach. The condition is present in about 60 percent of women. It can lead to urinary incontinence, constipation, back pain, and uncomfortable sex.
To learn if you have the condition, lay flat on a bed and put two fingers above your belly button. Press down gently while crunching forward. If you feel a gap that is approximately an inch or wider, you may have diastasis recti. Doing exercises to strengthen your core before pregnancy is the best way to prevent or reduce the condition. If you develop diastasis recti, some exercises can help reduce the gap after you have your baby.
Hormonal changes and a heavy uterine sack pushing on the digestive tract can cause digestive issues in about 75 percent of pregnant moms. Hemorrhoids and heartburn are common issues reported by women. You may also experience constipation. Your body makes extra progesterone during pregnancy to support you and your growing baby. Unfortunately, the extra progesterone has the unwanted side effect of slowing down the digestive tract. This can cause constipation that can make life miserable. Doctors recommend drinking more water and including more fiber in the diet. If you still are uncomfortable, ask your doctor about stool softeners that are safe for pregnancy.
Kicks, Somersaults, and Hiccups
One of the very best parts of pregnancy is feeling the little kicks and flutters from your growing little one. You will likely begin feeling your baby move between 16 and 25 weeks of pregnancy. This is known as quickening. Women who have already had a baby often notice these movements earlier than first-time moms.
Toward the middle of your pregnancy, these sweet flutters will turn into strong kicks and jabs to your ribs and bladder. As your baby runs out of space you will watch in amazement as they do somersaults and your entire stomach transforms. You may notice that your baby is more active during the night as you quiet down and go to sleep. Experts think that your movement during the day may lull your baby to sleep, giving him or her plenty of time and energy to be rambunctious during the night hours.
Every pregnancy is different, and you may notice that even each of your pregnancies are very different from one another. Pregnancy has a wide range of normal symptoms, but it is normal to have concerns. Always contact your doctor if anything about your pregnancy or baby seems to be abnormal or if you have any worries.