so this is my first pregnancy and i was happy but now i realize i have no idea what i am in for during pregnancy and labor. i know how to raise an infant i have a niece who lived with me since she was born so i know what comes after birth i just dont know what comes with the pregnancy what changes is my body in for?
Buy the book what to expect when your expecting, it will give you more then you want to know! But of course realize everyone is different. From my pregnancy I dealt with: gaining 65 lbs, swollen calfs when the blood vessels burst, extreme fatigue, occasional headaches, difficulty sleeping which was improved with a pregnancy body pillow, sensitive breasts the whole pregnancy, small stretch marks. Really my pregnancy was fairly easy compared to others. Just keep intuned to you body, eat health, take your prenatal daily, drink lots of water and just realize that your body is going to change a lot and you are just going to have to embrace it and know it is worth it. Your body was made to hold a baby and you will be amazed and what you can handle. The actual birth was OK for me, I stayed relaxes listenend to my Dr. and went to the classes that let me know what to expect. I think keeping myself educated throughout the process made it much easier. Good luck!!
It's hard to give you a list of specifics becuase it caries from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. In general some of the things you may experience during your pregnancy are:
loss of balance due to shifting of your central gravity becuase of the baby belly
skin breakouts OR clearer skin
depending on your body structure you may experience sore joints-this is becuase your body produces a hormone called relaxin that does just that, it relaxes the joints in order to help your hips seperate to allow the baby to fit through the birth canal
emotional extremes, you may find yourself crying at commercials or screaming at the refrigerator if it doesn't close right the first time.
Cravings and aversions to food and smells
I know this list sounds like pregnancy is a horrible thing, BUT..here are some of the good things:
the first time you feel the baby move is an AMAZING time
seeing your baby moving on an ultrasound screen
getting ultrasound pics to show off
buying baby stuff
the knowledge that you have created a life and are growing that life in side of you
The knowing smiles people give you
People being nicer, holding doors open, etc
Most importantly, knowing that in a few months time you will be holding your very own bundle of Joy-a feeling that can not be outdone by anything else in this world.
I'd suggest Pregnancy Week by Week. It is awesome! I have all the others too - but this one was spread out to each week. It gives you a lot of information. I've recommended it to anyone I know who's expecting.
I cannot recommend What to Expect When You're Expecting; I personally think it is a horrible book and this opinion of mine formed way back when pregnant with my first daughter before I knew anything about birth. It put a lot of fear into me when what I was seeking was peace and affirmation. I threw it out and ended up finding more books on what to expect but how to have an empowering birth packed with knowledge.
Here are books, specific on birth, that are absolutely amazing reads:
-Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
-Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein (they also put out the documentary The Business of Being Born which I HIGHLY recommend)
-The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Research-based, experience-based and honesty. Those are my top three picks for birth books that will give you a wealth of information. There are MANY more if you want me to find them for you. If I had to pick ONE for you to read I think Your Best Birth would be it because Ina May's book is very heavy-handed on natural birth so unless you are seeking natural birth Your Best Birth will give you all your options and it reads like your girlfriend is chatting with you.
I got all my birth books above on Amazon really, really inexpensive.
I also have Pregnancy Week-by-Week and it is very informative on what you're experiencing weekly but isn't a really good source for labor and delivery. I found mine at Walmart or Target for around $15 a few years ago.
I thought I'd add a little more because I reread your question and you want to know about changes in your body. I'd love to answer that for you:
If you watch what you eat (you're only supposed to eat an extra 500 calories a day when pregnant with a singleton) and keep up with moderate exercise (like walking) and gain the recommended weight you shouldn't pack on a ton in your body, just your belly.
You may feel fatigue, nauseous, moody (angry one minute, crying the next, then happy), sore/tender breasts, bloating. You may have more vaginal discharge, you may even see leaking from your breasts (I don't until baby is born but some women do). You may get age spots or weird discoloration of your skin. Your belly may become itchy as it stretches. You may also have 'round ligament pain' as the ligaments supporting your uterus are stretched so move carefully. Sciatic pain is pain along your lower pack into your buttocks and down your leg; it is sharp and painful. I get that if I'm not using correct posture.
Contractions are like waves of tightening over your belly. For some women they are painful, for others they are not. My sister just had her fourth and she said her contractions never felt worse than menstrual cramps; lucky girl!
When your water breaks, if it breaks hours before the pushing stage, you may have a gush of fluid with each contraction. However baby's head acts like a plug so some women only experience trickling.
You may have bloody show which is thick mucous tinged with blood.
You will bleed after delivery, whether you have vaginal birth or cesarean. At first it will be really heavy (like filling the toilet with blood and little clots) and by day three or so it is as heavy as a heavy period. It gradually slows down. You'll notice a lot of mucous in the blood as well as clots of uterine tissue.
You'll be sore but should be able to walk around after a natural birth real quick. If you have an epidural your back will be sore and you have the risk of migraines. You have to wait for it to wear off before you get up and may be on shaky legs. If you have a cesarean recovery will be mighty different from vaginal and it most likely won't be as easy.
Hope that info helps on what to expect. I didn't know about all the bleeding after delivery so I made sure to let you know about that because it was scary to me and it shouldn't have been so scary. It's normal.
thank you for all of the information now i dont feel as uninformed right now. this is great help i will get those books and is there anything that i can get for my husband that is just spacific to him being a new father that will help him with what to expect in this journey as well?
Okay The Birth Partner is by Penny Simkin. I really like her. I haven't read her stuff but I have heard her talk. I can't think of any other dad books I would recommend but The Birth Partner will talk a lot about his role in labor and delivery, what to expect, etc. Pregnancy Week-by-Week is a good one for you both because the chapters are super small and they have "Dad Tips".
A non-dad one that I remembered is Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper. I have that one in my personal library but haven't read it yet. Might be worth looking into.
And as always you can find some or most of these in your local library if you can't afford to buy them.
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