Being pregnant is a unique and magical experience, but it also comes with a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. As a millennial mom myself, I understand firsthand just how overwhelming and confusing these symptoms can be. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was hit with a wave of new and sometimes (totally) challenging symptoms that left me feeling unsure of how to cope and what to expect next. Hopefully I can avoid some of that for you.
In this article, we will explore the most common pregnancy symptoms and some strategies you can try to better cope and alleviate them - best you can!
1. Morning Sickness
One of the most well-known and dreaded symptoms of pregnancy is morning sickness. But let me tell you, it's not just something that happens in the morning! For me (and many other Rumbly moms), it lasted ALL day long. And seriously, is there anything worse than feeling queasy or downright sick all the time?
This delightful symptom is caused by a surge of hormones and can make getting through the day pretty tough. It usually starts around the 6th week of pregnancy and can last until the 12th week. However, some women may experience it throughout their pregnancy. The symptoms of morning sickness include nausea, vomiting, and aversions to certain smells or foods.
To help ease the nausea, I found that eating small and more frequent meals throughout the day helped me keep my nausea at bay. I also made sure to always have some ginger mints on hand (which is why they are now included in both our Modern Mom-to-Be box and our 1st Trimester Box in our Monthly Subscription), which really helped settle my stomach. Drinking plenty of water (despite it being so hard) and getting enough rest can also help reduce the severity of morning sickness.
Fatigue is another common symptom that can begin as early as the first week of pregnancy and hit you like a ton of bricks. Your body is working overtime to grow a tiny human, so it's no surprise that you may feel more tired than usual. The fatigue may last throughout the first trimester and may return in the third trimester.
To combat fatigue listen closely to your body and prioritize rest as much as possible. Take naps whenever you can (the middle of the day is probably something you’re dreaming about right now), cut back on activities that drain your energy, make sure you're getting plenty of iron-rich foods like spinach and beans to help keep your energy levels up and go to bed earlier than usual (but surely you will be doing this without even trying).
3. Mood Swings
The hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy can be INTENSE and leave you feeling like you're an emotional wreck. It’s so normal to feel weepy one minute and angry the next.
In each of my pregnancies, I found that my emotions were all over the place. One minute I would be elated and the next I would be feeling anxious or overwhelmed hiding in a closet. It can be hard to cope with these ups and downs, but I found that practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing really helped me find some peace of mind. I also made sure to surround myself with supportive friends and family members who were there for me during the tough times.
Need to rant? We’re always all ears at Rumbly. We get it, have been there and know how important it is to just get it out sometimes. If this is at all how you’re feeling, send us a DM or drop us an email. We will only reply if you want us to (sometimes all you need is to just get it off your chest).
4. Back Pain
As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, putting more pressure on your back. This can cause discomfort and pain, especially in the lower back.
It's not surprising considering all the changes happening in your body! To ease back pain I found that maintaining good posture and avoiding standing or sitting for long periods of time really helped alleviate some of the discomfort. I also used kinesiology tape (now included in our Monthly Subscription Boxes - we love the Tummytape brand ), treated myself to a warm bath or used a heating pad to relax my muscles when needed.
5. Swollen Feet and Ankles
One of the more surprising symptoms I experienced was swollen feet and ankles. During pregnancy, as your baby grows, so does the amount of fluid in your body and your body retains more water than usual. This can lead to some pretty uncomfortable swelling in your feet and ankles, which is especially common in the third trimester.
I remember looking down one day and thinking, "Wow, my feet look like they belong to a different person!" But again, it's all part of the process. To reduce swelling, try to avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. I also learned that elevating my feet, staying active, and wearing comfortable shoes (goodbye to my favourite heels) really helped ease some of the discomfort. But perhaps the biggest game changer was using Magnesium Oil every night before bed - and through the day when I remembered. A favourite of mine and all Rumbly moms is definitely the So Luxury brand, included in our Month 6 Pregnancy Subscription Box.
6. Frequent Urination
Gotta Pee. All. The. Time! Seriously though, doesn’t it feel like you just went to the bathroom and now you need to go again! Blame it on the growing baby putting pressure on your bladder.
As your baby grows, the uterus can put pressure on the bladder which can cause you to feel like you need to use the bathroom more often. This can be especially frustrating at night when you're trying to get some sleep! To make things a little less annoying, try to avoid caffeine and drink plenty of water throughout the day but limiting your intake before bedtime.
Stuck on the Toilet? It's not exactly a fun topic, but it's a common issue during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can slow down digestion which can lead to constipation. This symptom can be uncomfortable but can be relieved by drinking extra amounts of water, eating lots of high-fiber foods, and staying active. A simple walk around the block can do wonders in helping to move things along. And for a little encouragement check out our fan fav Pregnancy Ankle Weights. We also include a pair of these lovelies in our Month 5 Pregnancy Subscription Box.
Oh gosh, where to begin.. If you've never experienced heartburn before, get ready - it's not fun.
Many women experience heartburn during pregnancy due to the hormone progesterone that causes the valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax, allowing stomach acid to flow back up. To help manage this symptom, try eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, avoid spicy or acidic foods, and avoid lying down after eating.
9. Shortness of Breath
Feeling short of breath? That growing baby bump can also make it harder to take a deep breath, especially when you're being active or lying down. Or more scientifically, as your uterus expands, it can push up against your diaphragm and make it harder to breathe. This can be especially noticeable when you're active or when you're lying down. It's important to take things slow and listen to your body when you're feeling short of breath. You may also find relief by sitting up straight, propping yourself up with extra pillows at night, and practicing breathing exercises.
10. Skin changes
Let's talk about one of the less glamorous parts of pregnancy: skin changes. As a mom-to-be hormones can wreak havoc on your skin during pregnancy, causing everything from acne to dark spots, you might experience all sorts of funky things happening, from breakouts to discolouration. This is all pretty common due to those fluctuating hormones.
Some women get lucky and end up with clearer, more radiant skin during pregnancy, while others have the total opposite experience. Personally, I experienced a fair amount of acne during pregnancy, which is not something I was expecting and really wish I was more prepared for.
Another thing that many women have to deal with is stretch marks. These pink, red, or purple streaks can show up on your abdomen, breasts, hips, or thighs as your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby. While they're ultimately a normal part of pregnancy, there are some great creams and oils (like the Earth Mama Belly Oil featured in our Month 5 Subscription box) that may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Before I close off this post, remember that every pregnancy is an incredibly unique experience that comes with its own set of challenges. Every person will have a different experience during pregnancy; and whether you experience one of these symptoms or all of them, know that you're not alone and that there are things you can do to help manage the discomfort.
So in the meantime, take care of YOU! - listen to your body and don't be afraid to reach out to your doctor or a supportive friend or family member for help when you think you may need it. Most importantly, enjoy this special time! Pregnancy truly is a magical thing and I promise, you will forget a lot of those harder times later on down the road.
Cheers to you, from rumbly.