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How To Survive The Pains Of Pregnancy

Some women love being pregnant. At least that’s what they say. Personally, I’m of the opinion that they’re either liars hellbent on creating a matronly image, or they’re just fit for a straight jacket. It would be great if pregnancy was 9 months of blissful smiles accompanied with a radiating bun-in-the-oven glow, but with three pregnancies under my belt (and number four currently being above my belt), I can say that’s not the case. It’s one heck of an experience. I’ve been lucky enough to do some research and play around with some different approaches though, so I can say that prenatal life can be made easier. Please, pregnant mamas everywhere, read this and find the slightest freedom from your everyday pains….

Exhaustion

Is there anything more exhausting than the first trimester -- other than the third trimester? I haven’t climbed Mt. Everest, but I think it’s safe to assume that surviving three pregnancies automatically qualifies you as a sherpa. Doing nothing is an utterly exhausting activity in itself, but women like us don’t get such luxuries. All those everyday activities are still staring us in the face. Many of us even get to work doing those dog days of barf-a-rific fatigue. As if it isn’t hard enough getting dressed!

And then, when we can’t be tired enough or feel more sorry for ourselves, we’re moms responsible for the caretaking of fellow human beings. Little humans that get all the specially-prepared meals, hot baths, and housekeeping assistance that we’d kill for. Special catering that’s courtesy of us. Off all people! But there’s no need to boil in envy because that will only make us greener than nausea already has us, so swallow it down (along with that urge to vomit). You have options!

By the third trimester, pregnancy increases blood volume by 40-50%. If we’re not matching this with a boost in the production of red blood cells, we’re going to feel even more pooped than usual. Iron is the main factor behind quality prenatal blood, so make sure to stock up the kitchen with things like pumpkins seeds, legumes, and spinach. If you’re looking for iron on the go, then consider adding a scoop of powdered chlorella and spirulina to that lemon water. I went from being a coffee-dependent office zombie to being a pregnant cheerleader that zips back and forth from bathroom to desk with an energy that contradicts my protruding belly and oversized hips.   

Nausea
I didn’t have any morning sickness the first two times around the block. None! Then my third came along and made me a full initiate of the gloriousness of pregnancy. It was four solid weeks of 24/7 crawl-on-the-floor, wish-for-death nausea. The fourth time around it wasn’t even half as intense, but instead of getting over it in a month I had 4 months of dealing with a super-sensitive, picky, and queasy stomach. I didn’t have the same urge to jump in front of a bus like I did with my third, but after two months I began gazing longingly at my ceiling fan. I’m not sure that 4 long months of torture beat out 4 quick weeks of hell…

While morning sickness is as pleasant as a nail to the head, there can be some perks. Keeping the stomach calm and tending to that sensitive palette takes a special approach, and that usually means good things for that baby. Old favorites like cupcakes, pizza, and coffee are suddenly as appealing as a whole canned chicken in all it’s jellied-greasiness (no joke - it’s a real thing). So instead of making yourself suffer through eating your usuals, take the hint and mix things up.

They say that morning sickness is probably hormone related and cravings show “no connections” to our nutritional needs, but I’m of the opinion that these scientists have never been pregnant. In my experience, eating healthy and simple foods made all the difference. Now, I was never interested in munching on a salad the first trimester, but I did find loads of comfort in things like raspberries, pineapple, kiwi, and simple generously-salted foods. And when I was smart enough to drink water with a little apple cider vinegar, or lemon or lime juice before meals, I was hardly queasy after eating -- even after a full plate of refried beans and camarónes a la diabla! Was I craving salt for it’s antimicrobial benes? Could I have been craving acidic fruits because they were less prone to bacterial growth and more easy to digest? Was I going ga-ga over herbs because of their medicinal properties? You can deduce whatever you want, but the bottom line is that it worked. So pay attention to what makes you gag and what sounds almost-maybe tolerable. The sweet sensations of taste and smell won’t steer you wrong my dearies!             

Swelling
Now that I’m nearing the third trimester, I really try to not look at my body before I jump in the shower. My body is no longer my body. It’s been stretched out, widened up, and packed onto, and it’s now unrecognizable. This shift from curvy to blobby is a tad depressing. Going up in size brings tears to my eyes, but the hugeness doesn’t end there. Not even my shoes fit!

Thanks to the amazing combination of extra bodily fluids with pressure-compromised circulation, our hands and feet could get an endorsement from Weight Watchers. They’re unwelcome being that their enormous puffy state hardly compliment our growing bottoms, but they hurt too! A quick walk or 5 minutes of standing will have them ready to burst with water retention, and this will be apparent to everyone who can see them. I don’t know that it’s possible to skip on the achy feet or the tight thighs of edema, but it can sure as heck be helped. Big time!

I know prenatal providers everywhere push exercise, but I can say that it seriously works. I felt 100x better when I was walking, biking, and dancing. It seems counterintuitive given the aches and inflated limbs, but getting that heart pumping has things flowing and circulating like nothing else. It’s totally worth the effort. And if you’re worried about sore muscles, then get yourself on the essential oil bandwagon. Yes, women everywhere are swearing by them and it’s sickeningly trendy, but just wait until you experience pregnancy with them! Cypress oil is a must for those swollen feet. It’s a prenatal miracle! There’s tons of other oils that can help with things like insomnia, stress, and soreness, but use cypress for edema at the very least. You won’t regret it!         

I’m 8 years older now than I was when I had my first, and I’m happy to report that pregnancy is nothing like it was when I was younger. I still roll around in bed like I’m performing some act for Sea World, and I have to perfectly arrange pillows before sitting or laying down, but life is definitely easier than it used to be. I hope you all find yourselves just a wee bit of relief so you can enjoy your time of expectancy. I’ve been told by some that I’ll miss it. Who knows? It might be true...

Animal Lover, Adoring Mother

Ash Stevens is a lover of family, animals, and easy living. If she isn’t writing, she’s surely playing badminton or the latest and greatest board game. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook where she explores fun and natural, simple living.