With the joys of pregnancy come a lot of changes with our bodies. Growing an entire human from start to finish means that your body's multiple systems have to work together symphonically, and sometimes the changes that happen as a result of that work present themselves in some, well, gross ways. While these changes might feel foreign and uncomfortable, there are ways to cope with the gross parts of pregnancy.
Even if you don't hate pregnancy, like many women do, there's a god chance that at some point you're going to feel uncomfortable with the weirdness happening to your body. Every woman who has ever been pregnant has experienced, and fallen victim to, the gross things that happen during pregnancy, and it's likely that we've all felt a similar distaste for our changing physiology at some point.
Though dealing with those changes sometimes feels like a struggle, it's important to remember that what's happening to your body is normal (usually, and if it isn't or you're afraid it isn't, make sure to talk to your doctor or midwife), even though it doesn't always feel like it. From the weird things that happen to your skin during pregnancy, to leaking boobs and weakened bladders, here's a list of some of the common "gross" things that women experience during pregnancy, and how to feel completely OK about and with them.
Peeing On Yourself
At some point, especially in your third trimester, you might find that your bladder control has all but disappeared. There's a good chance that your baby has run out of room by that point and, as a result of their limited space, their kicks and flips and rolls will happen on top of your bladder, occasionally causing you to spring for the bathroom or even pee on yourself. It can feel embarrassing, sure, but this is totally norma and, I guarantee you, most women have peed themselves at some point during pregnancy. Kegels can assist in strengthening the muscles surrounding your bladder, which can help prevent any future "oops" moments, and once your baby is off of your bladder, it will be much easier to control it. Panty liners can give you some extra security in the meantime. Also, just cross your legs when you sneeze.
Yeah, I know, no one likes the word "discharge," but it's an integral part of a woman's life, especially during pregnancy. You will notice more vaginal discharge towards the end of your pregnancy, and it will probably make you think that your water broke at some point, sending you to the labor and delivery wring of your local hospital (or frantically calling your midwife) to get checked out. It happens to all of us, and there's pretty much nothing you can do about it. Wear pads, and try to remember that it's temporary.
You Are Constantly Sweaty
Ah, hormones are great, aren't they? They make you an emotional wreck while also making you feel like you're experiencing the early onset of menopause as you're sticking your head inside a freezer to try and cool off. No one particularly enjoys sweating, but it's a fairly standard part of pregnancy. Your body's base temperature is a little higher while you're pregnant, thanks to an increase blood flow and an influx in hormones. This leads to sweating during pregnancy, and it's an extremely common complaint among pregnancy women. Try to keep cool in some air condition whenever possible, and wear light and breathable fabrics. Having hair on the back of your neck can make you feel uncomfortable, too, so if you're hair is that length or longer, feel free to throw that *ish up in a messy bun and cool off when you can.
Progesterone is to blame for this one, not just your pregnancy cravings. Progesterone is the hormone that relaxes the smooth muscle tissue all over your body, including your GI tract. As a result, and especially when your baby gets bigger, your digestion will slow, which can cause excess gas during pregnancy. The best way to cope with this phenomenon is to try and eat small meals, frequently, throughout the day and to avoid certain triggers that can cause gas (fried foods, soda, etc). Drinking plenty of water is an additional help, as is trying to increase your fiber intake. Of course, you can always just laugh it off, because farts are pretty much always funny.
We hear about "the glow" a lot when pregnancy is discussed, but instead of experiencing this mythical, mystical glow, some women find that their skin returns to a prepubescent-like state of acne breakouts. Sounds awesome, right? Again, hormones are to blame for pregnancy skin changes. The good news is, these breakouts are temporary. Just use a gentle cleanser when you wash your face, and try to keep it free of too much makeup, because clogged pores are never helpful. Tinted moisturizers are great for pregnancy, as they're light enough to keep your skin clean, but are still a good option for covering up blemishes if you feel self-conscious. Tinted moisturizer was my best fried during my second pregnancy.
The third trimester of your pregnancy might bring about some odd changes in your boobs. You might notice that your bra is wet, or that there's a yellowish substances in it, especially when you're nearing your due date. It's weird, sure, but it's also a really good sign that your body is gearing up for your baby's arrival and, in turn, is preparing to be able to feed him or her. The yellowish substance in your bra is called colostrum, and it's packed full of protein and it's a precursor to breast milk. It's appearance is a good indication that your baby is coming soon, thought it can be a bit embarrassing if it makes its presence known on your shirt. Just buy some bra pads to absorb the extra moisture and you should be fine. You can find them with the other breastfeeding supplies in the baby section of most stores.
Hormones will be, once again, be responsible for your new mustache. Shocker, right? Estrogen extends the growth phase of hair during pregnancy, causing your hair to fall out less (women usually lose 100 hairs a day) and making it feel thicker. That part is kind of awesome, but the part when you have to shave your legs (if you choose to) or other body parts (again, if you choose to) every single day is, well, not so awesome. Again, a sense of humor (and a good razor) is vital.
For some women, pregnancy feels like an endless ride on a boat in the middle of a very choppy ocean. Morning sickness is the freakin' worst, and hyperemsis gravidarum (aka hell on earth) is even more debilitating. Many women have different remedies for pregnancy nausea, but what most doctors recommend is eating small, light meals throughout the day. Try to eat often enough that you never feel hungry, and find foods that don't make you throw up, then stock up on them until your nausea subsides. And, of course, rest. Rest is typically the only time women suffering from morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum get any relief, so nap away.