- The First Signs
Changes during Pregnancy
- What To Eat during Pregnancy
- What To Avoid during Pregnancy
- Week by Week Changes
- What about Sex
The First Signs
- A missed period
The first and most obvious sign that you may be pregnant is a missed period. This however may be caused by other factors or it may simply be late.
- Lighter periods
Some women continue to get their periods for a couple of months but they are lighter.
- Sore breasts
This can be a symptom in women who normally get sore breasts before their period. By six weeks, all women will experience an increase in the size of their breasts.
- Morning sickness
In the first six to twelve weeks, most women experience nausea or vomiting. It can be uncomfortable at any time of day.
- Frequent Urinating
You may find that you need to go to the toilet more often.
- Tastes in the mouth change
Some women may have a strange taste in their mouth and may even notice a dislike for alcohol, coffee, cigarette smoke and meat products.
- Emotionally Volatility
The hormones may wreak havoc on you at first and you may experience moodiness and stronger emotions than normal. If you experience any anxiety that lasts longer than the first trimester – speak with your doctor who may refer you to a counsellor for additional therapy.
Changes during the pregnancy
You will experience many physical changes during your pregnancy and many may come as a surprise to you. It is always best to be prepared for the changes so you are better able to cope with them and control them.
- Vaginal Discharge
this may increase during pregnancy. It is normal and does not usually require medical attention. If you notice it changing in odor or it becomes irritating – speak with your doctor.
- Constipation and heartburn
you will be experiencing an increase in the hormone progesterone which can affect the bowel and make it slower.
this can become worse as the pregnancy continues on. Try to avoid high heeled shoes. Do not lean back to counteract the extra weight in your belly – this will put added pressure on your back.
- Hemorrhoids or piles
the blood flow from your legs and pelvis is blocked by pressure from the baby . If you are constipated, this can make it worse.
- Varicose veins
may appear for the first time. If you wear support stockings, they may not appear at all. Keep moving around as this can help the circulation.
- Scarring on the abdomen
commonly called stretch marks, these fine scars may also come on your buttocks, thighs and breasts. There are many natural products on the market that may be able to prevent them from forming or becoming too noticeable. Ask our pharmacist about them.
- Breast changes
will occur throughout your pregnancy. They may be tender and the nipples may grow and become darker in colour. They may eventually become more painful as more blood flows to them. Eventually prolactin is produced and this encourages the breast to make milk.
You may notice your breasts ‘leaking’ at around 5 to 6 months. After about five months your breasts should not grow much bigger.
- Your belly
will increase and this can be a problem for women who have always tried hard to maintain their weight at a slim level. You will put on extra weight besides the baby as your body prepares for the pregnancy and the birth.
What to eat during your pregnancy
You should be eating a nutritious and varied diet in pregnancy as this is the best way of caring for yourself and your baby. You should not eat ferociously throughout your pregnancy in an effort to ‘eat for two’ as this will do more harm than good and make it difficult for you to give birth.
The following food groups provide you with the vitamins, minerals and protein you will need for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
- Vegetables and fruits.
- Breads, cereals, pasta and rice (wholegrain ).
- Milk about 900 ml daily or if you cannot tolerate milk or want to try something less fattening natural yoghurt about 200g, unprocessed cheese 35g or cottage cheese 300g. Ask your doctor about a supplement if you do not want to eat dairy products. This will give you your required Calcium.
- Lean proteins like fish, chicken, eggs, meat, liver, kidneys, nuts and pulses. Be aware that if you are only eating nuts and pulses for protein you will not be getting the iron, vitamin B12 or zinc which is required.
- Also ensure you are eating adequate Folic acid – present in liver, kidneys, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, brewers yeast, avocado and peas. Do not cook your vegetables until they are soft as this can destroy folic acid. What do you need to avoid during pregnancy?
- Most medications may affect your unborn child – always check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any drug either legal or otherwise.
- Alcohol – the occasional wine or beer will do no harm, but do not drink excessively. Do not drink spirits.
- Smoking – should be avoided and do not let anybody smoke in your presence.
- Caffeine – limit your intake to one per day.
- Soft cheeses – contain bacteria.
- Raw/”Blue” meat.
- Excessive exercise – although continue to do gentle exercises. What about sex?
Some people think that having sex will hurt the baby. Normally sex is safe throughout the whole pregnancy. Sometimes you may not feel like having sex due to the discomforts and tiredness. But this usually does not last long.
Some women find that they become more sexual during this time in their lives and feel more sexy. If however, you have had complications with pregnancies in the past or are worried see your doctor about your concerns.