Growing up as a woman, I have heard time and time again that labor is one of the most excruciating pains known to humankind, a sentiment that Nishi P has repeated in her post Should You Have Trusted Your Doctor 100’s Of Years Ago? when she writes, “I know that pregnancy is one of the worst pains women go through”. However, when completing the WebQuest activity discovered that this pain was sold a little short, for not only does labor cause grueling pain, but the months leading up to the moment a child is delivered has its own fair share of discomfort. This, despite the vast physical changes that I knew took place over the nine months of pregnancy, came as a huge shock to me.
During the first trimester a lot happens, the most notable being the conception of your baby. After the baby is conceived, the mother’s body goes straight to work
preparing for the upcoming nine months. In particular, it begins to produce an increased amount of the hormones Estrogen and Progesterone. This leads to what is commonly known as Morning Sickness. I have to admit, I was a bit startled to discover that, unlike the name suggests, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day, not only in the morning. Morning sickness has symptoms like nausea and fatigue, which can both be traced to the excess hormone. Unfortunately, there is no cure for morning sickness. Usually, women simply have to wait until the second trimester which is when these symptoms generally begin to subside.
However, the second trimester brings its own new challenges to pregnancy. As one’s uterus begins to expand and the mother begins to gain weight lower back pain becomes very common. A simple way to relieve some of this pain is to practice good posture and do gentle back stretches. Another symptom of pregnancy that develops during the second trimester is swelling in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet due to an increased amount of blood and other body fluids. Swelling can be treated in many different ways to increase comfort, such as icing swollen appendages frequently. For more information on how to treat swelling during pregnancy, visit the American Pregnancy Association. Unfortunately, these symptoms can not be completely cured and often carry on into the third trimester.
There are many symptoms that appear during the third week of pregnancy, but I think the one I would find most scary is the Braxton Hicks contractions. These are not actually the beginning of labor as some believe, but simply smaller contractions to relax your cervix before labor.
All these rather intimidating symptoms, along with the looming pain of labor, originally made me a little afraid of pregnancy. However I now feel confident that I could manage pregnancy because not only did I learn what pain I would go through, I also learned how to minimize it