Pregnancy is heralded as a time of joy and celebration, but it comes with its own tricky complications. Pam and Patrick had just welcomed the news of an addition to their family and were overjoyed. However, three months into the pregnancy, they realized that they hadn’t really thought about the side effects of pregnancy.
Theirs was a love marriage and they were a happy couple, fully committed to building a family. Patrick was excited by this new change in their lives but also worried as he watched his bride of one year facing pregnancy-related challenges all by herself, while he could only stand by and offer compassion and full support.
The common belief is that there is only that much a father can do. After all, they don’t have to go through the process of carrying a child, birthing them, and breastfeeding them. But with a little understanding and humor, a couple can face the side effects of pregnancy as a team, and emerge wiser and closer to each other.
Let’s face it, every pregnancy comes with some hurdles and anxieties to be dealt with. No one is quite prepared for pregnancy, no matter how many books they have read, and most couples learn as they go through the pregnancy.
In Pam and Patrick’s case, there were some anxieties about high blood pressure, the baby’s heartbeat slowing down, and the never-ending morning sickness that Pam endured, which is one of the most common side effects of early pregnancy.
But the couple came out all the wiser from the experience and eager to share their knowledge about the side effects of pregnancy, right from morning sickness to the delivery.
Side Effects Of Pregnancy – A List of FAQs
Even as Pam and Patrick were fully aware, being pregnant could be the happiest feeling in the world and you could be over the moon waiting for the baby, but there is no denying that the side effects of pregnancy leave you anxious, unsure, and with a lot of questions in your mind.
We asked Pam and Patrick about these side effects of pregnancy, and they decided to clear all your doubts. Here are some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ about pregnancy.
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1. Do the stretch marks go away?
This is a tough one, and it is different for each woman. It is important that you don’t give in to the urge of scratching the areas that have stretched. Massage the areas with Vitamin E enriched oil. A lot of good products are available in the market that reduce stretch marks. They will also help keep the nipples soft and pliable, enabling early suckling for your baby.
This helps in your well being, lactation after the baby arrives and a quick recovery for you. Yes, you need to get back in shape after delivery. But the truth is for some women the stretch marks disappear, for some they don’t. This is one of the side effects of pregnancy that is difficult to get rid of.
2. How soon can we have sex again?
One of the most commonly asked questions about pregnancy is whether or not it’s safe to have sex. We get it – no sex for 9 months sounds terrible! However, while the first trimester is a time to be careful, sex during pregnancy is generally considered safe as long as mother and child are in good health. If you’re unsure, check with your doctor. Avoid the ambitious acrobatics, though, and opt for sex positions that are especially comfortable during pregnancy. You can also try alternatives to intercourse. Remember, intimacy comes in many forms.
3. Do women lose their libido during pregnancy?
Loss of libido is one of the side effects of pregnancy that many women have to deal with. However, this, too, varies from woman to woman – some women actually crave sex during their pregnancy. Usually, after the delivery, till their vaginas heal, the breasts become less sensitive and the hormones stabilize, women experience reduced libido.
Men, this is when you need to be especially understanding. In most cases, women get their urges back soon enough. But in case your libidos remain mismatched, go ahead and see a counselor and fix the issue before it gets out of hand.
Related Reading: My wife has lost her libido during pregnancy
4. Is there any special diet I must follow?
A well-balanced diet, with a dash of your favorite meat or fish should be fine. Nuts, lentils, green leafy vegetables and fruits are all good. A lot of water is a must. A reasonable exercise regime – walking is sufficient. That way you will get your quota of sunlight. Pam ate a lot of papaya during her pregnancy, though papaya has unfortunately been maligned by several doctors.
Sometimes you could be asked to control sugar in your diet if you have the tendency to develop gestational diabetes or you could be asked to avoid certain foods if you have high blood pressure.
One side effect of pregnancy for Pam was trying to eat healthy despite having the weirdest cravings. A good idea, she says, is to take a diet chart from a nutritionist and follow it diligently.
5. Does having gestational diabetes mean the baby will also get it?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about pregnancy, and understandably so. You wouldn’t want your baby’s health to be impacted in any way. The good news is that gestational diabetes is not passed on to the baby. In fact, your blood sugar levels too will normalize soon after childbirth. But it is vital that you keep a good diet regimen and exercise routine and get back in shape, gently. Try yoga.
6. How do I make the delivery easier?
There are many ways to bring your baby into this world. There are natural methods, water delivery and so on. You can learn more about it on Birthing Village – a website that encourages natural methods and home birthing.
But something that you need to discuss with your doctor is the method of pain management you want to go into. A long labor can be painful so some opt for painkiller injections, some for epidurals. You also have the option to try new-age techniques to make the delivery smooth sailing. Besides, having your partner supporting you during labor and childbirth can also make the experience less daunting.
7. What are the breastfeeding challenges?
Breastfeeding is not as easy as it seems. As one of the side effects of your pregnancy, the breasts will swell up and the nipples will become large so that the baby can latch on to it as soon it is born.
But most new mothers struggle with two things – latching the baby to the nipple and producing enough milk to fill its stomach up. This process is taken as a given but mothers find out the hard way that breastfeeding could be a challenge.
Talk to a lactation consultant who can not only tell you all the things you could do during your pregnancy and afterward to increase the flow of milk but they could also help you understand latching better.
You needn’t worry about sagging breasts. Your breasts will come back to their old size after you have stopped feeding.
8. Will I lose the pregnancy weight?
This is the most frequently asked question about pregnancy because women are perpetually worried about being stuck with the weight they gain during the pregnancy.
You start losing weight as soon you start breastfeeding, but it’s a good idea to watch what you eat and start exercising as soon as your body has healed to make those extra pounds melt away more quickly. There is no magic formula to knock off the excess weight overnight. Just eat healthy and exercise regularly, and you’ll get there.
Related Reading: Body Shaming Post Pregnancy Weight Gain – Being A Supportive Husband
9. Will I have sleep issues?
This is one of the toughest side effects of early pregnancy, as well as post-delivery. From the moment two pink lines are seen on the test kit, hormonal changes in the body give some women sleepless nights.
In the third trimester, you have to use the loo so many times in the night that your sleep is disturbed anyway. Then finding a comfortable position to sleep with that huge tummy becomes an issue. Invest in a nice pregnancy pillow to find some relief.
10. Is postpartum depression real?
It is very real. And our advice to you is do not ignore it if you see the signs. Having a baby is like a storm hitting you and many new mothers grapple with the changing realities. After having a baby, sleeplessness, inability to have a normal routine, constant advice from nosy elders or an ignorant life partner often leave women with self-doubt and a lack of coping mechanisms.
Statistics show that up to 80% of women have the “baby blues” or mild postpartum depression and it becomes severe among 10%-20% of new moms. A study reveals 1 in every 7 women experience postpartum depression in the first year. This is actually one of the worst side effects of pregnancy, so ensure you see a professional counselor.
11. Do all women have nausea during pregnancy?
The first thing that comes to Pam’s mind when someone asks her about the side effects of being pregnant is morning sickness. However, not all women are found retching during pregnancy. But some do get “morning sickness” and throw up the moment they leave the bed.
For some, the nausea continues throughout the day. Some even throw up 10 to 15 times in a day and may need medication. It differs from woman to woman.
Some feel nauseated throughout the day and are unable to eat anything. There could be the kinds who vomit and then find their appetite, some have no appetite and some hate the smell of food.
12. Are mood swings normal?
Mood swings are one of the most common side effects of pregnancy and this happens because of the hormonal changes in the body. That is why pregnant women asking you to drive miles for a tub of ice cream is very normal.
Having a baby stretches a couple in many ways – a stretch on your routines, your sense of freedom, your sense of individuality. The best way to handle it is to go headlong into the change, by participating fully in the process of being pregnant and of caring for the infant.
Most importantly, if you are aware of the side effects of pregnancy, you will be able to tackle it far better.
Morning sickness, stretch marks, heartburn, depression and mood swings are some of the common problems in pregnancy.
Eat and drink healthy foods like fruit and coconut water, and get lots of sleep to ensure good health for you and your baby.