Time drags on when you’re counting down to an event, and pregnancy is no different. Pregnancy is littered with milestones, and reaching these many points in your pregnancy tends to give the illusion of time standing still; however, there are moments when time seems to speed up as well. For many first-time mothers, pregnancy is like a roller coaster ride of highs and lows measured in time.
Pregnancy is broken up into trimesters and measured in weeks, which simplifies tracking the progress of your pregnancy and your baby’s growth. Feeling and actually seeing your baby bump forming is the one sign that can be visually shared with others, but the rest is all internal and can sometimes resemble the quiet before the storm or the storm itself.
Your first pregnancy can be exciting and scary at the same time. Worry is a normal reaction to most first-time experiences, and the flood of readily available pregnancy information can amplify worry and take you on an emotional journey you’d rather not take.
The time between the many milestones tends to drag on for many moms-to-be, and all the waiting and anticipation usually ends with a final rush to meet your newborn.
Moms-to-be each experience their pregnancy differently.
Some find it a walk in the park while others have to fight till the end. Regardless, it’s a brief period in life where these unique experiences make for deep-rooted memories. Let’s take a look at some time-related pregnancy issues and perceptions.
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With a planned pregnancy, you will be expecting the changes that your body goes through in the early stages, more commonly known as the first trimester.
An unplanned pregnancy will soon become evident, and to many women, this will bring much joy but will be short-lived and overshadowed by the many internal changes in body functions.
To some, these drastic physical changes are compounded by uncontrollable emotional swings, which can be absolutely miserable to deal with. No wonder the general consensus among women who have gone through pregnancy, say the first trimester, week 1 to week 12, is the worst of the three.
Besides an end to menstruating, your body goes through severe hormonal changes that affect most of the organ systems in your body.
Other changes include:
- Loss of energy and extreme tiredness.
- Tender, swollen breasts and your nipples may begin protruding.
- Morning sickness. A feeling of nausea; throwing up periodically but not all the time.
- Food cravings as well as a distaste for some foods you always enjoyed.
- Problems concentrating on matters beyond your baby.
- Mood swings.
- Begin urinating more often.
- Gaining or losing weight.
Most of the above symptoms will dissipate as your pregnancy progresses but let’s face it, this is a lot to suddenly contend with, given that there is no preparation time. These symptoms announce the reality of your pregnancy, and from this moment, you have an idea of what to expect and look forward to.
The fun part of pregnancy
General consensus singles out the second trimester, week 13 to week 28, as easier than the first trimester. Your baby bump will start showing between 16 and 20 weeks, and it’s during this time that you feel your baby move inside you for the first time. This moment will make the discomfort of a growing belly worth every minute.
Tiredness and nausea begin to slow but are replaced with new symptoms as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. Here is what you can expect:
- Aches in your back, thighs, groin, and abdomen.
- Weight gain with a boost in energy.
- Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, and buttocks.
- Numbness or tingling in your hands (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Itching around your abdomen, palms, and soles of your feet. This, in association with nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and jaundice can be signs of serious liver problems and a visit to your doctor is recommended.
- Your face, fingers, and ankles may begin to swell which will continue into the third trimester. If you have gained a lot of weight and the swelling is excessive it may indicate preeclampsia and will require urgent medical intervention.
- Your skin and hair will take on a glow
- The skin around your nipples becomes darker.
- A visible line running from your belly button to your pubic hairline.
- Patches of darker skin over your cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip that are usually symmetrical on both sides of your face. These changes are often referred to as the mask of pregnancy.
Most second trimester changes or symptoms are visual and non-threatening, which is a relief, but regular check-ups remain essential so any developing complications can be caught early.
The big moment that all moms-to-be wait on is feeling their baby’s first movements, and the anticipation can really bring time to a standstill. After this, time speeds up and slows, jerking like a vehicle pulling off in the wrong gear.
The final stretch to delivery day
It’s been a long 28 weeks filled with emotions, but you’ve also had that special glow about you that only pregnant women flaunt.
Now the third-trimester kicks in and from week 29 to the birth of your baby, which is usually around week 39; however, full-term pregnancy is measured to 40 weeks.
Some second-trimester symptoms will carry over into the third trimester with a few added symptoms that include the following:
- Going to the bathroom more often. Your baby’s growth puts pressure on your organ as space becomes an issue.
- Shortness of breath.
- Hemorrhoids. Drink lots of liquids to stay hydrated which will reduce the risk.
- Tender breasts that might leak a watery pr-milk.
- Difficulty sleeping. No sleep posture seems comfortable.
- Your belly button may slowly begin to pop out.
- Baby movements with occasional kicks that cause you pain and your baby dropping into the birth position.
- Your nesting instinct may kick in. You’ll start cleaning and preparing for the arrival of your baby.
- Contractions that can either be real or false.
Visible changes in your body’s appearance become much more apparent in the last trimester because your baby grows at an alarming rate. The skin around your abdomen stretches, becoming tight, making it tough to do simple things like sitting down or getting up.
All the different changes your body endures during pregnancy have a way of affecting your perception of time. The good days with little to no discomfort or any pressing issues will roll by like a bullet train, but the tough days will slow to a snail’s pace.
Women who experience fewer issues during pregnancy will still have a distorted sense of time but not as much as those who feel and experience every moment.
What alters time is being stuck in a whirlpool of discomfort, which compels you to focus on the cause. But what really gears up the pregnancy roller coaster ride is the anticipation of what’s to come and the hope that everything goes smoothly and ends with delivering a normal healthy baby.
Every woman will experience pregnancy differently, but there remains a common thread among all full-term pregnancies – three trimesters with an estimated 40 weeks to delivery day.
What are the most common signs of pregnancy?
Tiredness and feeling exhausted even after a good night’s rest and nausea, commonly referred to as morning sickness, are the two prominent signs of early pregnancy.
These signs will only begin about 6 weeks after your last period and start going away at about 12 weeks. Earlier symptoms could be associated with PMS, so it’s best to get tested to confirm that you are indeed pregnant.
What role does the thyroid play in pregnancy?
Your thyroid produces hormones that govern how your body uses energy, which relates to every organ, including your heart. In pregnancy, thyroid hormones are essential for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.
Your baby’s thyroid starts working at about 12 weeks and will be fully functional at about 18 to 20 weeks. Thyroid conditions like hyperthyroidism can be serious if not treated. Any thyroid condition should be checked and monitored by a doctor.
How can I ensure my thyroid functions properly during my pregnancy?
Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones and is important, especially during pregnancy, because your baby gets iodine from your diet. You will need about 250 micrograms a day. Iodine is derived from dairy products, seafood, eggs, meat, poultry, and iodized salt.
You may have to take a supplement to ensure you are getting enough for both you and your baby; however, consult your doctors before you start with supplements. Too much iodine can cause thyroid problems. Be safe and consult your doctor.
Pregnancy is a unique experience that ultimately changes your life by redirecting your sense of purpose to the new life growing within you. It can be tough at times, but the beauty within makes the journey a memorable and contributing one.
Pregnancy is the crossroad where a woman becomes a mother, and in time, this has led to beautiful virtues like humility, love, and caring that have carried humanity to greater heights.
Women each have their own sense of time during pregnancy. For some, time rushes by, while to others, it stands still. The aches, pains, discomfort, and frantic moments are all rolled up in a blanket of peace, love, and achievement in the aftermath of pregnancy where you stand, holding a new life in your arms that you nurtured and brought into this world.