11 Things You Really May Not Have Known About Being Pregnant


11 Things You Really May Not Have Known About Being Pregnant


Written by: Jennifer Landis

Pregnancy does some pretty wild things to the body! You feel like a piñata that has to stay stuffed for nine months but the kid’s inside whacking you with the stick instead. Your temperature shifts. Everything smells weird. Food tastes gastronomically magnificent or like it’s going to kill you — there’s no in-between. You keep reading up on what to expect as a new mom and there’s no shortage of literature and unsolicited advice, but real insight is hard to come by.

Here’s what you probably never guessed to expect while expecting.

  1. Future Mamas Need to Chill

Future mamas need to stay out of the heat and keep their temperatures down, according to one study in Norway. An increased rate of stillbirths has been linked with hot weather, since exposure to higher temperatures in the last four weeks of pregnancy increased the risks of stillbirth. However, this doesn’t mean heat causes stillbirth directly.

Instead, it’s dehydration that encourages uterine contractions. So stay hydrated and keep out of the humidity. Chill, mama.

  1. Work Affects Baby’s Growth in the Third Trimester

Working long hours, especially while standing, throughout your entire pregnancy could affect your baby’s growth. Women working over 25 hours per week birthed babies five to seven ounces lighter than those delivered to women who worked fewer hours — especially in the third trimester. Earlier studies showed that women who worked while pregnant tended to have fewer complications than those who don’t work. Working up to 36 weeks showed no adverse effects.

Working while pregnant is hard, but it’s helpful to have a position where you can shift between sitting and standing. Sitting for long hours increases the risk of blood clotting. Switch up your positions!

  1. Miscarriage Risk Doubles With Some Headache Meds

Check your medicine cabinet, stat! Interactions plus hormones are not fun.

There’s a difference between acetaminophen and ibuprofen. One study revealed your miscarriage risk more than doubles when you take nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) while pregnant, such as naproxen or ibuprofen. There may also be a small risk of congenital disabilities.

For most, taking headache medicine is as typical as taking vitamins. Stay safe and healthy by opting for acetaminophen for your pain relief.

  1. Work Out That Bump

Think exercise can take a back seat to the baby bump? Think again!

One study revealed that women who exercised moderately for 30 minutes an average of three times a week gave birth to children with better heart health, with signs of higher heart-rate variability and lower heart rates. These positive effects continue into childhood. Have a dance party with Baby!

  1. Hormones Increase Your Plaque

Got to love fuzzy teeth. When pregnant, you may need to increase your flossing frequency.

Those pregnancy hormones also increase your plaque levels — and flossing reduces 70 percent of bacterial plaque mass. Flossing also prevents periodontal diseases to keep your bones healthy and strong to house your baby before birth day.

  1. Eating Healthy Reduces Child Obesity Risk

What you eat is what the baby consumes, too. It sounds a bit hocus pocus, but if your diet is too fatty, it affects the DNA material structure to make your child more prone to obesity later on. Eating well reduces child obesity risk — even if you only maintain it during pregnancy.

Obesity is a risk factor for other long-term health conditions, too, such as heart disease. Eating all your leafy greens, whole grains and other healthy foods boosts your baby’s health.

  1. Yes, You Can Eat Some Fish

If you eat fish, does that mean your baby will get radiation poisoning or worse? Nope.

You can have some fish and you don’t have to chew. Researchers reveal that moms who take DHA supplements while pregnant had shorter and less frequent colds at one month, three months and six months old. DHA supplements are the same omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and aren’t made in the human body. When taken, they boost the baby’s brain functions and reduce heart disease risks.

Don’t like fish or supplements? Other sources of omega-3s include flaxseed and walnuts.

  1. Childbirth Fear Lengthens Labor

Get ready to practice soothing visualizations and color in your adult coloring book. Women with childbirth fear spend an hour and a half longer in labor than women who aren’t scared of giving birth. Eventually, the uterus gets tired at about 20 hours in and your contractions aren’t as effective.

The key to beating fear is to be proactive. Take prenatal breathing classes and get all the support you need, such as hiring a doula to help you through labor.

  1. Super Memory Powers

You’re like an elephant, but not in the way you think. An elephant never forgets! You’ll get a major memory boost while being pregnant. One study reveals new moms have improved visuospatial memories, meaning you’re more aware of the little details in the surroundings and you can recollect that information better than someone who’s never had kids.

Think of it as inheriting the “I have eyes in the back of my head” thing. How did Mom always know what you were up to? Science. Your spidey senses are on high alert, but besides being sensitive to smells and everything else, your memory is stellar.

  1. C-Section Births Aren’t Always a Breeze

So the doctors just slice you open and pull the baby out, right? Sure, there’s the scar, but otherwise, the birth is easy.

For planners, scheduling a Cesarean birth provides some relief from stress, but not all C-sections are a breeze. One in four births are Cesarean and about one in ten women develop a post-surgical infection after a C-section delivery, with a few of those needing re-admittance for hospital care.

C-sections are typical for women whose babies are in danger, but they shouldn’t be penciled in casually like a nail appointment.

  1. Vitamin D Is Key for In Vitro Fertilization

The “V” in “In Vitro” stands for vitamin D, which is the key to get that bun baking in the oven. Women who possess higher vitamin D levels are four times more likely to conceive during in vitro fertilization than women with lower levels. However, the exception to this finding was in Asian women who benefited from having lower levels of vitamin D.

The best solution is to check your vitamin D levels with your doctor and receive individualized advice on dosing and strategies to increase the likelihood of pregnancy.

Embrace the wild things your body’s going to go through during pregnancy. Have a dance party with your baby and wobble that piñata belly. You need to literally chill, mama. Eat your fill, but eat healthy with lots of vitamin D if you’re opting for in vitro fertilization.

There’s much to expect when you’re expecting, but most of all, remember to let go of childbirth fears or fears you have of being a new mom. You’ve got this! And remember — you’ve got eyes in the back of your head now, Super Mom!

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