This post won’t be for everyone, so if you’re squeamish or a bit of a prude, it might be best to scroll on. But if you like to know the ins and outs of a cat’s (pregnant lady’s) ass, it’s for you.
Ok so the luscious tendrils growing from your usual grease pit of a head might be nice. I know I enjoy them. The voluminous locks that now stand in place or your wispy or in my case, usually frizzy barnet, is a confidence booster, granted. However the extra hair growing everywhere else for me, is not. The thick black hairs that are making their way up my midriff or the ones snaking down my thighs and if I’m being honest even covering some of my butt cheeks, are not so welcome. I’ve had Veet strips slapped over every bit of bare and accessible skin in the last month and I know it’s only going to get a lot furrier around here. Good old Oestrogen. Thanks for that hun.
I know it’s not glam or indeed pleasant but it’s also a very real symptom for many of us expectant mums. I didn’t have piles during my first pregnancy but this second one is proving problematic in the haemorrhoids department. Discomfort is one thing but add constipation on top which is yet another bitch of a symptom and haemorrhoids can become unimaginably painful and pretty damn gross too. Watch out for those OTC creams and instead try witch hazel wipes and ice packs in your pants.
The extra blood produced in pregnancy can put pressure on your veins leading to hardening and pain, raised and purple in colour – clear signs of varicose veins. For many they will disappear after pregnancy but for some they can be longer lasting and cause significant discomfort including fatigue and restless legs syndrome. If you notice change in your veins during or after pregnancy it’s probably wise to give your doctor a heads up. For most people they’ll be unsightly but harmless but it’s always best to get them checked.
Many women these days choose to embrace their stretching skin as homage to the life they grew with, but for some of us they don’t just appear on the stomach. They can appear on the back, breasts and legs too. I have some deep set stretch marks right down to my thighs which have been known to split during shaving or waxing. Yes they are a sign that a life grew inside me, but they’ve still changed my body and that can be hard to accept, when your once smooth skin is suddenly covered in irreparable stripes. This acceptance can be even harder after the birth when you’re left with a bloated tummy that’s permanently lined. I’m not saying don’t embrace it, I think it’s great if you’re able to but don’t beat yourself up for not loving the skin you’re in all of the time. These things take some getting used to. Regular oiling can help fade stretch marks but if you’re really unhappy with them you could try laser or micro needling. However wait a while before spending lots on solutions and some marks do fade on their own once your bundle is here.
I don’t know about you, but because of symphis pubis dysfunction (I’ll talk more on that later) for me sex is almost out all together. Spreading of the legs is agonising and not possible, and the weight on my pubis whilst trying to imitate a canine position of all fours causes much of the same agony. If you’re feeling extra randy in pregnancy (some women do) then my advice is to put the onus on foreplay and enjoy some love making that way. It’s not all about the D huns. Also if your partner is acting like he’s gone off of you altogether, foreplay can be a great way to bring him back round without worrying he’s going to be jabbing junior in the head during penetration.
Sadly these are still far too common and even if you have a great medical team on hand to sew you up after birth they can leave you feeling disassociated with your most intimate body parts following pregnancy. Episiotomy’s are often required to deliver your baby safely but I personally felt a lot like I was left with a gaping vagina that didn’t quite feel like my own. Regular pelvic floor exercises during and after pregnancy can help prevent tears as well as the healing process. After labour keep up with sitz baths and anaesthetic sprays. If your tear is especially severe don’t delay in talking to your doctor.
SPD – or Symphis Pubis Dysfunction
The condition I mentioned earlier, also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain can be mild or severe. In my case it’s the latter. Both of my pregnancies have rendered me immobile by 16 weeks. Sadly the more babies you have the higher your risk of developing SPD and all the agony that it brings. Symphis pubis dysfunction is caused by hormones that cause your joints to relax to make room for your growing uterus. The more relaxed your joints become the more likely you are to suffer pain as a result. It’s a condition that really does blow and one that can be agonising and scary to live with. Losing your mobility is a fate we often can’t imagine and being as a direct result of your pregnancy can hard to process. Gentle exercises to strengthen the joints can help but it’s SO important not to overdo it! Any good physio will advise keeping the weight off of the joints as much as possible, and though not remotely fun or laughable, it is a condition that most women recover from well after birth. If you think you have SPD talk to your doctor as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the symphis pubis as your pregnancy grows.
All of the other shit
I know you’re probably thinking I’ve missed a few out, like morning sickness that is rarely in the morning and nausea that lasts the entire day. Heartburn, headaches, swelling of the extremities and more. I haven’t forgotten them, as if I could! Morning sickness can be severe for many women some even needing hospitalisation in an attempt to stay hydrated. If you’re throwing up continuously and unable to keep anything down, don’t delay in talking to your midwife or physician. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a severe form of sickness in pregnancy and needs timely treatment.
If your headaches are persistent and affect your daily activities you may be suffering from migraine. Another symptom that needs medical attention. Migraine can be a sign of other pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, specifically if accompanied by swelling in the hands and feet and or pain under your ribs. If you have a severe headache that is not eased with paracetamol or rest, talk to your doctor right away. They maybe able to prescribe stronger pain relief whilst also keeping your baby safe.
You’ve all heard of preeclampsia by now, a condition that can prove fatal to mums and or babies if not treated promptly. Your blood pressure will be regularly checked at routine appointments but if you’re worried anytime call your maternity department immediately. When picked up early enough preeclampsia is both preventable and treatable but like most pregnancy ailments timing is key. You’ll become attuned to your body and what’s normal for you pretty quickly, so if something feels off, trust your instinct!
Please note I’m not a medical professional and this article is purely based on my own experiences and opinion and should not be used as a replacement for medical advice.