Pregnancy is a feat of nature. It can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be exhausting, stressful, and scary. One minute, you may bask in the bliss of feeling your baby wriggling around. The next, you may wonder how on earth you’re going to survive another few weeks or put up with any more mood swings, cravings, or morning sickness. If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant, here are some tips to help you prepare for the months ahead.
What to expect: scans and tests
When you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll probably have to wait a few weeks to see your baby on the big screen. Most women have their first ultrasound scan at around 12 weeks. At this stage, the technician will be able to show you the body parts and check everything is developing as expected.
At around 20 weeks, you’ll have a more detailed scan, and you can usually find out the gender of the baby. Some couples can’t wait to see if their bundle is a little boy or girl while others prefer to leave it as a surprise. In some cases, it may not be possible to determine the sex. This may happen if the baby is in an awkward position. You could always book another scan if you’re desperate to find out. The sex of the baby comes down to its genetic makeup and whether it has XX or XY chromosomes. You may have tried to work out the gender using a Chinese gender chart. But in reality, much evidence suggests there’s very little you can do to influence the sex of the baby. Many women have no further scans unless there are hiccups along the way. If you do experience bleeding, or you notice that your baby has become less active, seek advice from your midwife. Don’t hesitate to get help if you feel like something’s not right. You know your body, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Coping with pregnancy symptoms
Pregnancy affects women in different ways. Some enjoy an incredible pregnancy while others have a really tough time. Symptoms vary, but usually include morning sickness, bloating, mood swings during the early stages. As your baby grows, you may find that you experience more physical symptoms. You’ll gain weight, you may retain more fluid than usual, and your back and breasts may feel sore. Hormonal changes can make you more emotional than normal. Try and take things easy and avoid stressful situations. Eat well, try and get enough sleep, and stay active. Exercises like swimming and yoga are relaxing, and they provide benefits for your physical health. At times, pregnancy can be overwhelming. Don’t suffer in silence if you’re struggling. Share your worries or feelings with your partner or a close friend. Ask your midwife if you have any concerns, and look after yourself.
Your body undergoes immense change during pregnancy, and you must have all the support you need. Apart from family and friends, support could also come in the form of simple treatments to ease your pain and discomfort, such as using a pregnancy belly wrap. These flexible garments provide much-needed support to the lower back and abdomen, especially during the second and third trimesters.
Most pregnant women find it uncomfortable to do simple things like exercise. A belly wrap helps make doing certain physical activities more bearable. In fact, it can still be worn after pregnancy and childbirth to help strengthen the core as your body recovers.
Pregnancy is a unique experience. Every woman’s journey is different. Hopefully, this guide will give you an insight into what to expect and some helpful tips to make life easier. Try and stay calm and relaxed, focus on yourself and your baby, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.