Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Body Isn't Working Right...

So one of the biggest adjustments I have had to make is in my day to day activities. It seems that my body just isn't working right anymore. It started with my breasts, hurting more than I thought they ever could. It was like PMS but one hundred times worse. Then comes the shock and awe that you are pregnant. From the moment that you realize you are pregnant, at least for me, your outlook on everything you do changes. You start thinking about everything you put in your mouth and every action that you take. The one thing that is on your mind is "Is this going to hurt the baby?" or "Should I be doing this?" I am not sure if you ever stop asking these questions or if you ever should stop asking these questions.

The Dreaded Morning Sickness
I feel very blessed that morning sickness was not too big of a problem for me. I didn't start to experience morning sickness until about a full month into my pregnancy and disappeared about week 12 (although, my gag reflex has stayed very sensitive). I did my research and started eating a high protein snack before bed and found that this was very helpful. I made frozen yogurt with Greek yogurt (http://www.fageusa.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=SEM&utm_campaign=Greek_yogurt&gclid=CNOvmbTCi6oCFWc0Qgodw2wNxQ) and my electric mixer's ice cream attachment, which is higher in protein but low fat, and ate that before bed each night.I didn't feel great in the mornings but I wasn't on my knees in the bathroom either. Mornings were slow starts for me for the first trimester but I stayed focused and added a little bit of food to my stomach as things felt comfortable. In the morning all I could think was that "My body isn't working right!". It seems like a huge betrayal that your body won't do what you want it to!

Rescue Remedy: I know that many women have used crackers as a means of combating morning sickness but protein is the best way to prevent and combat stomach upset. I found that morning sickness can hit you at any time of the day. I have kept Luna bars (http://www.lunabar.com/)  in my car and my purse. I also keep chicken salad in the fridge ready to so that when I need to eat and am not feeling well I already have food to eat. My other saving grace are the individually sliced cheese squares call Till-A-Moo (http://www.tillamook.com/products/Cheese/Medium-Cheddar-Tilla-Moos-110.html)  put out by the Tillamook Cheese company. They are a little high in fat and salt but they are perfect if you need a quick protein boost. Don't be concerned if you find yourself eating every two hours but do be worried about what it is that you are eating. Make good food choices and you will be fine.

I Never Like to Eat That Before...!
For me my tastes for food changed rather quickly and was one of the first things I noticed. I have never been a fan of spicy food. I don't even eat the salsa they put on the table at the Mexican restaurant. Once my hormones started to kick in I found that I wasn't satisfied with bland food. I needed to kick it up a notch. This pleased my husband because he loves spicy food. The other surprising change was that my sweet tooth disappeared. I found myself turning down desert for the first time in my life. I used to eat chocolate silk cream pie for breakfast and then I find that I can't even get through more than a couple of bites of something sweet. Even when I do eat sweets I find they need to have a touch of bitter or savory to them (i.e. coffee ice cream, or dark chocolate covered cranberries). It was a struggle to come to terms with the change in my food preferences. Then to add insult to injury the doctor gives you a list foods you can't eat and that you should avoid. Not only do I want to order new things off the menu, some of my old favorites are now off limits.

Rescue Remedy: Don't worry about your change in tastes unless you are craving foods that are very bad for you. Also be aware that if you are eating foods you don't normally eat they upset your stomach, so don't leave home without your Tums! I have also done some research on foods that are good for you and foods that are not so good for you while you are pregnant. You should be aware of how many calories you should be eating a day and remember that protein is your best friend!!!

I Don't Look Pregnant but My Clothes Don't Fit!
One of the biggest struggles I have had is accepting my increasing body. I am a petite woman and I have worn the same size clothes since high school. By week 8 I was getting very uncomfortable in my pants. At dinner one night I shared my discomfort with my husband who promptly took me to Target and bought me maternity pants. By week 10-11 my regular clothes, even the bigger ones, were just not working as well and I need a maternity specific wardrobe. I have always taken pride in being physically fit and slim. I haven't been unhealthy in caring for my self image but I have paid attention. However, when your clothes stop fitting and you don't look pregnant yet it can be hard to accept the changes in your body. Even though we know we are going to gain weight during pregnancy we are also conditioned by society that we are not supposed to be fat. The transition time between first and second trimester is awkward and filled with unease. Fortunately, you have the joy of knowing that there is a special little life growing within you and the last thing you want to do is cause that little person inside of you harm.

Rescue Remedy: Maternity clothes can be difficult to shop for, especially when don't quite look pregnant yet. It can also be costly to purchase a whole new wardrobe. There are some things that can help. Keep your shopping simple and down to only a few pieces to start with like jeans and pants. If you know that you are planning to get pregnant then you may want to shop for clothes that will be helpful in the transition, (i.e. peasant style tops that are loose and leave you room to "gain baby"). I have found that many maternity only shops are rather expensive, they are capitalizing on the fact that you want to look good while you are looking pregnant. I have found that places like Target, Walmart, and Macy's are the best places to shop. Target and Walmart are cheaper and it becomes more justifiable for the short term wear. At Macy's you can find the boutique labels but your can get the rewards for shopping loyalty that you can't get at the maternity only stores. These stores also offer great online shopping options. I know from personal experience that if you are going to have an emotional melt down (like I did in a Macy's dressing room) while shopping for maternity clothes it is better to do it in the privacy of your own home.

Why Can't I Roll Over?
Around week 10 the changes to my middle section became more noticeable and I started to notice that I was not moving with the same ease as before. Once you pass the awkward stage of not looking pregnant to looking pregnant your body still will not work right. Your muscles are relaxing (that's what allows your uterus to expand) so your hard earned abs are missing and there is also heartburn to contend with (and sometimes a leaking bladder when you laugh or sneeze)! Then one day you are laying in bed and you realize that are having trouble sitting up, rolling over, and even slipping in and out of booths at restaurants. Once again your body is not working right and no one bothered to mention that one day you might realize you have taken rolling over in bed for granted.

Also, by your 12th week you are supposed to sleeping on your side. Sleeping on your back can cause pressure to be put on your Aorta and Vena Cava which can limit the blood supply to the baby. You can use pillows to prop yourself on your side, but I suggest getting the Snoogle Total Body Pillow (http://leachco.stores.yahoo.net/snoogle.html). Be sure to shop around for this pillow because prices do vary. Don't pay more for the pillow then you need to!!!

Rescue Remedy: There are several books and online resources that teach you how to stretch to help keep you more limber. I only do these stretches when my husband is home in case I need help getting up or getting out of a position. He enjoys being the knight and shining armor.

I Never Had to Catch My Breath Before
My next favorite change to my body has been the shortness of breath. As the baby moves upward in your body the baby starts to put pressure on your diaphragm, lungs,  and stomach. This can cause you to have shortness of breath when you do something as mundane as walk slowly up the stairs. I have also found that when I am walking it is harder to talk while I am walking. I have learned that while pregnant if you can't talk while walking then you need to slow your pace. This is still an adjustment, there are so many changes taking place in your body and now even the simplest tasks can't be achieved without difficulty.

Rescue Remedy: I really wish that I had a rescue net for this one. All I can say is slow down. You need to keep exercising for your health as well as in preparation for labor. There is nothing wrong with slowing down, just doesn't stop completely (unless your doctor says so)!

Why Am I Crying Over Hot Dogs?
For every woman the emotional roller coaster is different. I have not found myself to be over emotional but I have had my moments. The strangest moment for me was when I teary eyed while trying to decide on which hot dogs to buy. The tears will just come out of the blue, without any warning, and they don't last very long. Is it inconvenient? Yes! Will you get embarrassed? Yes!

Rescue Remedy: There is really isn't anything that you can do to stop these moments. Just savor them and allow yourself to process these emotions. Keep some tissue in your purse and let some one hug you if they offer. You will be surprised how many people are nice when they see your belly.

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