5 Pregnancy Symptoms Explained

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Congratulations on your pregnancy! By now, you may already be feeling and seeing quite a few changes that are happening to your body. These changes may not be comfortable but if you understand the science behind them, they are actually quite amazing. Mimi Pira-Sy, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist, explains why these changes happen and what you can do about them. 1. Body swelling Do you think your feet or fingers look fatter than usual or as we Pinoys call it manas? That’s because they probably are. Your body produces approximately 50 percent more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of your developing baby.

What you can do: * Avoid standing for long periods * Minimize outdoor time when it is hot * Rest with your feet elevated * Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible * Avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles * Avoid crossing legs when sitting * Drink water, which helps flush the body and reduce water retention * Minimize sodium (salt) intake

2. Urinary frequency On your 6th to 8th week, you will feel the need to take a bathroom break more often. Your body is naturally filled with more fluid and your kidneys are working overtime to flush waste out of your system. As your baby grows and moves lower into your abdomen, this will put pressure on your bladder causing you to go to the loo more often.

What you can do: * Avoid caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, and coffee * If you are getting up at night, try drinking less in the evenings and more during the day. * Lean forward while urinating to empty your bladder completely

3. Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing You may have shortness of breath even if you are not exerting too much effort and that is harmless and normal. Progesterone hormone causes the respiratory rate increases because you consume more oxygen to meet the demands of your growing baby, placenta, and uterus. During the latter part of your pregnancy, your growing baby puts pressure on your diaphragm, which contributes to breathing difficulty.

What you can do: * Rest as much as possible * Sit up straight and keep your shoulders back * Use extra pillows when in bed

4. Heightened sense of smell Do you suddenly dislike the smell of your husband’s perfume or your own bath soap? That is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. Because of the estrogen hormone that you rapidly produce, you are suddenly nauseated by even the faintest of smells.

What you can do: * Avoid smells that are unfriendly to your nose * If you can’t avoid the smell, try opening windows or doors * Avoid inhaling smoke or the scent of strong chemicals * Wash your clothes using unscented soap

5. Hunger pangs How many times have you used the line “I’m eating for two!” as an excuse for your constant munching? Well, you are! You need proper nutrition to provide what your baby needs to grow and develop into a healthy baby. The placenta captures the nutrients from your blood and delivers them to the baby.

What you can do: * Eat a well-balanced diet. Don’t just give in to the munchies; make sure you eat the right amount of nutrients that you and your baby need.

Isn’t it amazing how your body just knows what to do to accommodate and take care of that growing baby in your belly? Pregnancy is a miracle. Enjoy every minute of it!