Category: Pregnancy

12 Unpleasant Side Effects of Pregnancy

12 Unpleasant Side Effects of Pregnancy

By | Pregnancy, Pregnancy Symptoms | No Comments
Pregnancy is considered one of the greatest miracles our body can perform. To create and shelter a human life as it transforms from only two cells to a baby, capable of surviving on its own and growing into a child and then an adult is an amazing thing for the human body to accomplish. However, some of the side effects of pregnancy can be less than miraculous. In fact, pregnancy can be downright frustrating, gross, and unappealing depending upon what side effect a mom-to-be is dealing with. Here are some of the most unpleasant pregnancy symptoms.

Morning Sickness

Perhaps considered the hallmark of pregnancy, morning sickness is a common complaint amongst pregnant women and, worst of all, it’s often not restricted to just the morning! While morning sickness is often worst in the first trimester, it can continue later into pregnancy as well. Generally, morning sickness causes nausea and vomiting anywhere from mildly irritating to truly dangerous, even requiring hospitalization – though this is uncommon. While no one knows what causes morning sickness, experts hypothesize that it may have to do with fluctuating hormones and an increased sense of smell.

In the Bathroom – Constantly.

Many pregnant moms become very familiar with bathrooms during their pregnancies due to the frequent urination which often accompanies pregnancy. It is one of the most common and persistent symptoms of pregnancy because hormonal changes increase blood flow to the kidneys making the bladder fill faster. Additionally, as the uterus grows, it puts more pressure on the bladder.

Discharge

Vaginal discharge isn’t in your imagination. It’s likely leucorrhea, which is an odorless, milk discharge. While all women have leucorrhea, the body produces much more of it during pregnancy, making one more likely to notice it a lot more often and to find it in greater amounts. The increase is caused by extra blood going to the vaginal area and increased estrogen levels.

Got Gas?

Gas and bloating is certainly a problem for pregnant moms, who may feel as if they could beat a teenage boy in a burping contest. Why does this happen? The body also has higher levels of progesterone during pregnancy. This hormone relaxes all the smooth muscles – including those in your digestive tract. Often, this relaxation leads to gas, bloating, and heartburn.

Bleeding Gums

If a pregnant mom is finding blood in the sink when brushing her teeth, this isn’t uncommon. The gums are much more likely to bleed during pregnancy because the hormones are fluctuating and making the gums more sensitive to the normal bacteria in the mouth. While the condition affects up to half of pregnant women, it goes away on its own after hormone levels return to normal.

Constipation

This is the other reason new moms may feel like they’re spending more time in the bathroom – they are. That increased level of progesterone also slows down everything in the digestive tract when those smooth muscles are more relaxed. This can be compounded by the pressure of the uterus on the rectum.

Hemorrhoids

This unpleasant condition can go hand in hand with constipation and is caused by unusually swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. Many women experience hemorrhoids for the first time during pregnancy, but if you’ve had them before, you’re likely to have them again. Hemorrhoids may be merely itchy, but they can also become downright painful.

Lots of Saliva

Many women in pregnancy notice a sensation of having excess saliva in their mouths. This is not uncommon and is made worse during periods of nausea, which can cause excess salivation. The excess saliva can even become so bad that moms will need to find somewhere to spit.

Itching

Itchy and burning skin is not uncommon during pregnancy, especially in areas where the skin is doing a lot of stretching, such as on the belly. Itching can be especially problematic for moms-to-be who had conditions which made them prone to feeling itchy even before they were pregnant like eczema or allergies. Pay attention, however, because serious itching could signal a problem.

Nosebleeds

During pregnancy, the body has an increased blood supply to help the fetus grow and attend to its needs. Because of this, blood vessels all over the body are more expanded than usual. The increased blood supply puts pressure on the more delicate vessels, such as in the nose, making them more prone to rupture.

Swollen Extremities

Swelling, medically called edema, is fairly normal in the extremities during pregnancy because the body retains more water. Likewise, body chemistry changes cause fluids to shift more into the tissues, so some swelling is normal. That said, swelling should be reported to a doctor because it can be a sign of a serious condition like preeclampsia

Yeast Infections

Those burning, itching infections are likely to bother a woman during her pregnancy. While there is always a certain amount of yeast in a woman’s vaginal area, it can grow faster during pregnancy and overwhelm the microorganisms that generally keep it under control. Estrogen produces a favorable environment for yeast, so increased growth that may cause an infection is more common during pregnancy.

 

What Does Labor Really Feel Like?

What Does Labor Really Feel Like?

By | Labor & Delivery, Pregnancy | No Comments
Many first time parents spend hours researching every conceivable aspect of the pregnancy journey: what symptoms are normal, what can be expected each month, what is the baby developing at this time, and, most especially, what is labor and delivery like. Understandably, the things society has heard and learned about birth would be enough to inspire anxiety and worry if not downright panic in any mom-or-dad-to-be’s-mind. The truth is, however, that no medical book or person can really tell you what birth will feel like because that answer varies from person to person – sometimes a great deal.

Of course, it’s likely not anxiety-resolving and instead is more of a catch-22 for new moms to learn they’ll have to experience labor to know what they are in for. So, we did the next best thing by asking nearly 1,000 moms from the popular website BabyCenter to tell us about their labor experiences. While it’s impossible to know if your labor will match any one of the numerous responses, a description from those who have been there can help you become more mentally prepared. Here is a sampling of what those thousand moms said labor was like for them.

The Good

Some moms reported that the experience was not nearly as painful or awful as they had prepared themselves for it to be. Some of the responses on the good side of the spectrum included:

• Contractions felt like muscles spasms and weren’t actually very painful.
• Labor pain is irritating, but it’s not unbearable.
• Some moms didn’t even realize how close they were until almost fully dilated, instead, feeling more like they needed to go to the bathroom.
• For many moms, the epidural might not have blocked everything, but it did make a significant difference.
• Because of pregnancy preparation, labor was really positive and not painful.

The Bad

Other moms reported less positive memories of their labor pain, though did not remember it being worse than they had expected it to be.

• Many moms describe intense spasms that move from the top of the uterus down to the pubic area, becoming much more intense over time.
• Others described it as an awful ache which began in the back and radiated into the stomach area.
• Some said the contractions waxed and waned like menstrual pains do over several days, except it was every few minutes.
• Contractions were painful enough to need an epidural, but after it was in it was better.
• Menstrual cramps on steroids would be a good descriptor.

The Ugly

According to some moms, childbirth didn’t get its reputation lightly.

• It was an all-encompassing pain that didn’t end.
• I begged my hubby to throw me out of the car on the way to the hospital, it hurt so bad.
• Excruciating.
• It was something like being run over by a train.
• Quite a few moms mention being disappointed by epidurals that didn’t help as much as expected or didn’t work at all.
• Many moms thought the cramps felt like horrible Charley horses in the stomach instead of the legs.
• One common descriptor was a sense of feeling horrible gas and bloating pains, but worse.
• Often, moms described labor as the pain of the worst stomach bug they had ever had.
• It’s like getting punched in the back and the stomach simultaneously.

Other Common Sensations.

In addition to the variety of responses the moms gave about how bad labor pain was, they also supplied many common sensations to compare labor pain too that they felt were more accurate descriptors. The comparisons to stomach bugs and menstrual cramps were common.

Another common thread was the report that labor included a lot of skin and muscle tightening sensations. These moms felt as if their skin was too tight for their body or could literally feel the uterus muscles getting tighter each time there was a contraction. One mom described it as a sensation that her stomach was tightening into a painful ball, which was actually worse than the contractions. For some, it felt like someone was pulling all the skin and holding it taut, then releasing it. It also tended to feel as if someone was squeezing all of the air from them.

Many of the moms found labor pains to be stabbing rather than dull, like a knife being shoved into the stomach on a periodic basis or like the type of kick or punch that completely knocks the wind out of you – on a repeated basis. One mom even said, “It felt like I was being impaled on a hot fireplace poker.” Apparently, she wasn’t the only one, because many of the moms interviewed reported a definite burning sensation, especially during crowning. In fact, sometimes tearing even provided relief from the burn.

Moms also described having a lot of back labor, feeling as if the pain in the back was actually, for them, far worse than any pain in their stomach. Some described a desire to escape from their own spine because of the pain, while others described a feeling more of pressure, either on the back, stomach, or both, as opposed to pain. Generally, moms described this pressure as feeling like they “needed to have a massive poop,” at least when not trying to use proper decorum. There was a lot of pressure in varying degrees on all points of the groin and rectum across the spectrum. In fact, pressure and pain weren’t localized to one area as much as many of the moms had expected. One said, “It felt as though a 400-pound man was pressing down on each hip.” Others described pain in the upper thighs as well as the hips.

While labor is no trip to the beach, the description of labor pains ebbing and peaking like waves or rolling through the lower back and body like waves was a normal description by the interviewed moms. In addition, moms often felt like their body knew what to do better than their mind, so it felt as if the body was just taking over and handling things as the contractions continued. At this point, the moms often felt calmer than they had earlier in labor and were able to work with the pain they felt, transferring it into energy to push and even feeling pain when they tried to slow down or stop pushing. And, of course, feeling as it if was the most exhausting work they had ever done was common, too. After all, they don’t call it labor for no reason.

The Bottom Line

The good news is, even though the labor pain was particularly bad for some and any new mom could find herself among those ranks when labor begins, the consensus was pretty universal that everything the moms went through was worth it once they had their babies in their arms. Some described the pain as easier to handle because they knew it was with a purpose and others said even though it hurt, it also felt natural and like it was supposed to be that way and was okay. One mom sums it up well with the conclusion “Emotionally, it was amazing. Many people say the pain disappears once your child is in your arms, and they’re right!”