Preparing for pregnancy and all the transformations it implies should be a joyful and exciting experience. Your body and mind will have their own way of going through maternity. It will be a deep, profound and personal experience that will shape you for the most precious time of your life: motherhood. Yet managing to balance all the transformations that are coming your way can sometimes become a challenge. You can take some of the pressure of by getting familiar with the changes you are about to face during this journey.
1. Doctor visits. Besides being mandatory for keeping track of your health and your baby’s health, they will become special encounters with your baby and will provide you with the much needed comfort of knowing how things are progressing. To avoid unnecessary stress later on try to schedule most of your visits at the beginning of your pregnancy. A useful tool can be a diary where you keep track of the appointments and where you can take notes after each visit.
2. Face. Hormonal imbalance and fluid retention will make your face actually look different during pregnancy. When people say that pregnant women are more beautiful, it might be also because the roundness of their cheeks, that makes them look younger. But of course, there is also that special sparkle in their eyes. You can only blame that on pure joy.
3. Voice. You will notice your voice changing and this can be caused by many factors, for example the rise of progesterone and estrogen levels, body fluids changes, decreased lung capacity.
4. Breathing. The diaphragm and other organs are constantly pushed upwards by the baby that is growing in your womb. This will create a decreased lung capacity and you will experience difficulties in breathing.
5. Sleep. Fatigue is common during pregnancy since your body requires a higher amount of energy to support all the changes it is going through. Yet even if you need a lot of sleep, there are some factors that might get in the way of a proper rest, like the constant need to pee, nausea and vomiting.
6. Morning sickness. Nausea and vomiting can show up during pregnancy, usually in the morning but sometimes even through the day. The good news is that this happens mostly during the first trimester.
7. Weight and clothes. You have the best excuse to go and add some new things to your wardrobe. Unfortunately they won’t be a smaller size but at least you get to choose comfortable clothes. That doesn’t have to mean you won’t look amazing, you just need to check out some tips and tricks about maternity fashion. If you look and feel confident you can wear that belly proudly.
8. Food cravings. Even if you need to eat as healthy as possible during pregnancy, you will find yourself having cravings that you might never had before. In order to keep track of the important food that your body needs you can keep a food diary. You should take notes of everything you eat and also keep track of the supplements you should take. Remember that the baby needs proper nourishment and if your food is lacking important nutrients you will begin feeling fatigued and even develop serious health issues.
9. Body image. Even if your body is gradually changing, some women experience body image disturbances. They perceive themselves either extremely fat even if they barely gained any weight or generally unattractive even if they look the same. Try to look at before and after photos, since looking at photos provides a more accurate image for the brain than what we see in the mirror.
10. Emotional imbalance. Hormonal fluctuation comes with mood swings and even emotional chaos sometimes. Learn when to rest, when to meditate and when to ask for help. Nutrition also plays a big role in this area so try to read more about the things you could eat in order to feel better.
11. Self-esteem fluctuations. The self-image women usually have during this period is also influenced by the hormone imbalance. In this area you can go from low to high and from high to low. You can see yourself as being useless, tired, fat and ugly and on other days feel proud to become a parent, fulfilled as a woman, beautiful and confident. Learn to let everything pass and not dwell too much on the negative feelings. Once you become a parent, everything will be worth it and even forgotten.
12. Friendships. Your relationships will be influenced by the changes you are going through. Your priorities will change and also your energy level. So try to include some time with your friends into your schedule also. It’s good to feel you are able to do the usual things and not to lose connection with the people that you love. You might also notice that you begin to focus more on the people in your life that have children or plan to have them.
13. Love life. Hormonal imbalance and mood swings can create some tension in your relationship. During pregnancy you might also forget about romance. You feel constantly tired and nausea kicks in from time to time so a romantic dinner might sound like a fantasy. But it might be exactly what you need. After all, spending some quality time with the one that understands all your mood swings and cravings, might be a nice treat for both of you.
14. Sexuality. Most women have sex during their pregnancy, even until the very last weeks. There are some that notice an increase or decrease in their libido. Usually since the first trimester includes nausea and vomiting and the body is under more pressure your libido might not be so high. The second trimester is a good time to catch up in the bedroom. You can have sex during your pregnancy if you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy and for extra safety you can ask your doctor or read more about what you should avoid during this period.
15. Relationship with parents. Since we understand things better while experiencing them, this is also true for maternity. During this time you can find yourself having a new level of parental appreciation. Now you can fully grasp what your mother felt during her pregnancy which can make you more empathetic towards her and improve your relationship with your parents overall.
Pregnancy is in many ways a rollercoaster undercover. The best thing you can do is have as much information as possible, be patient and treat yourself gently so you can enjoy one of the most beautiful journeys of your life.