Sure, there’s supposed to be glowing skin and cute baby bumps, but sometimes pregnancy can be a real drag, and all you want is to feel comfortable again.
From stretch marks to swollen ankles, you might be wondering what on earth is happening to your body. Don’t fret, though. They’re all signs of your pregnancy progressing, and there are often little things you can do to take control of the situation and get some relief.
Take heart: The symptoms will ease, and eventually you’ll be cuddling your little baby, barely able to remember the worst of it.
1. Stretch marks
We all know that most women will get stretch marks, and understand them to be visually displeasing. Yet no one mentioned that they can happen on places other than the tummy and that sometimes they itch like crazy.
Quite often prevention is the key with stretch marks and the itchiness. So take the time every day to slather your body in a good, hydrating moisturizer that contains shea or cocoa butter. Even if you do have stretch marks, constant moisturizing will help the skin stretch without dryness, itchiness, tearing or weeping.
2. Shortness of breath
As that baby grows and takes up more real estate, both the baby and your moving organs will push pressure upward, causing you to feel short of breath.
The best way to help this is to keep good posture, sit and sleep with extra back support and take it slowly so that you’re breathing at a steady pace.
As your pregnancy progresses toward its end, the baby will drop, and you should start to breathe easy again.
3. Back and pelvis pain
There’s a lot going on in your lower half, so it’s no wonder that back and pelvis pain will occur. However, the irony is that standing for too long can make back pain worse, but sitting for too long can aggravate the pelvic area. So move around throughout the day, and take a rest when needed.
Kristen, now a mom to a 2-year-old daughter, said she would often get lower back pain while pregnant. “At the end of the day, I would just need to rest with a hot water bottle on the sore spots.”
Yep, hemorrhoids can be a real pain in the behind. The baby is putting a lot of pressure on your lower body, so it’s only natural that hemorrhoids can occur, and they’re actually pretty common in pregnancy — you just don’t hear many women sharing tales about this.
Applying ANUSOL® ointment can reduce the pain and help with swelling but you should talk with your doctor or pharmacist before starting treatment. This is also good to have on hand after you’ve given birth.
5. Swollen ankles
A bit of swelling is perfectly normal while pregnant, particularly if you’ve been on your feet all day. The best thing to do is elevate your feet, drink lots of water and call on your partner to give you a gentle foot rub.
When you are up and about, wear stockings or tights, and ditch the high heels for a comfy pair of flats.
6. Frequent peeing and a little incontinence
During the first trimester, hormones will make you want to pee a lot. Then later in your pregnancy, the baby will be pushing on your bladder, sending you running to the bathroom every half-hour.
There’s not much you can do to avoid this, and please don’t reduce your water intake, as you need to stay hydrated. Just try to always be near a bathroom, and wear a panty liner in case of small leaks.
7. Heartburn and indigestion
As your body loosens thanks to those surging pregnancy hormones, you might also find that you get indigestion a lot more often. To avoid heartburn (reflux), chew your food slowly, don’t lie down or slouch soon after eating a meal, and stay away from spicy or greasy foods.
8. Braxton Hicks contractions
Also known as practice contractions, Braxton Hicks contractions can take you by surprise. They usually come on around the middle of your pregnancy and last for around 30 seconds each.
While they are painful and just start out of the blue, they can be easy to get through. Just change up your activity, and work through the pain. For example, if you’ve been sitting awhile, then take a short walk.
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Everyone is probably telling you to “sleep now before the baby comes.” But thanks to pregnancy hormones, you can’t.
“I would be exhausted all day, and then when night would come, I’d end up staring at the ceiling, wanting to fall asleep,” said Elaine, mom of a 10-month-old son.
If this is you too, then try doing a few relaxing things before bedtime, like dimming the lights, reading a book or listening to soft music.
Having blemished skin can really add to any “un-sexiness” you might already be feeling. Again, we have those surging hormones to thank. Try mixing up your beauty routine by adding in a mild cleanser and oil-free moisturizer, and ditch the face cloth, as that can irritate the skin.
If all else fails, then treat yourself to a pregnancy facial. After all, you deserve it.