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Published on April 28, 2020

pregnant woman standing by window hands on belly

What to Expect When You’re Pregnant

You’re pregnant! Bringing new life into the world is an amazing process that’s filled with lots of changes to your body and your entire life.

“It’s hard, giving over your body to pregnancy because it’s new and you have less control,” said Catherine Brockmeier, DO, an Avera OB-GYN specialist.

A Beautifully Changed Body

Perhaps the hardest change is the wider hips, a fuller stomach or new stretch marks. You’re beautiful. It’s easy to be hard on yourself, especially if you had high expectations of bouncing back within a month or two after delivery.

Brockmeier encourages grace. “Give yourself grace. Think of the amazing body that grew your baby.”

A healthy woman at a normal weight can expect to gain between 20 to 30 pounds. For women who start pregnancy at a lower weight, consider gaining more as this is healthiest for baby. Women who start pregnancy at a heavier weight should gain less.

During pregnancy, stay strong and active which will prepare you for the big moment in the delivery room. An exercise specialist can introduce you to modified forms of your favorite exercises. Also, remember, be careful about allowing high profile social media personalities to influence your pre- and post-pregnancy journey.

Common Pregnancy Symptoms

Then, there are the other physical symptoms. Whether you’re sleep-deprived or achy, Brockmeier assures you that you’re not alone, “You’re feeling like every other woman walking through my door!” Implement her following tips to help alleviate symptoms.

  • Nausea/Vomiting – Pregnancy’s most common symptom, morning sickness, occurs most often in the first trimester. Graze on bland foods throughout the day to keep your stomach settled. Avoid foods that are spicy, sour or acidic. Avoid large meals and instead eat small portions. Consider Unisom® (taken at night) and vitamin B6, a common over-the-counter treatment.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue during pregnancy is common. Enjoy a little extra sleep at night by going to bed early or in the afternoon, if you can nap. Practice good sleep habits, such as winding down without a glowing screen for better quality sleep.
  • Bleeding/Spotting – In the rare case of bloody discharge, call your doctor immediately. Typically, this poses no problem, but it’s best to be sure everything is OK.
  • Frequent Urination/Constipation – Having to pee often is common, but if you have pain associated with it, make sure to bring this to your doctor’s attention. As for constipation, try a mild stool softener, such as Miralax® — your provider can give you a list of safe medications to take while pregnant.
  • Pain – Muscle aches occur in the ligaments and muscles of the back, hips and thighs. Round ligament pain is common and runs along the front of your abdomen and pelvis. A support belt and Tylenol relieve this type of pain during pregnancy.
  • Emotions – Lots of emotions go into pregnancy. Some of it’s natural: joy, nervousness, hope and fear. The swirl of hormones can intensify emotions. “I want patients to open up if they’re struggling,” said Brockmeier. “From there, we can make decisions together on how an expectant mom can feel better.”

Look to your care team, family and friends — especially other mothers — for encouragement and advice. “After all, that’s why we’re here,” Brockmeier said.

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