As a pregnant woman, you hear nothing quite as often as, “Once the child is here, your whole life will change.” Not true! Things change from the very moment that the fertilized egg makes itself comfortable in the womb. This massive change is finalized in the positive pregnancy test’s two stripes. You have no idea what to expect.
Whether pure enthusiasm or pure panic breaks out is not only a matter of attitude but can change practically every second. The good news: this rollercoaster of emotions has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen to all women everywhere, not just you.
From an upset stomach to buying a test
Pregnancy does not always announce itself with a marching band and the accompanying music is not always immediately interpreted correctly, either. If a woman knows her body well, she may have already guessed what the double line in the test field is now officially confirming. However, most of the time things may just feel strange.
Maybe you are feeling lethargic and craving couch time. You think to yourself that this is probably just the flu; after all, most of your colleagues are sick. Or do you have a tingling sensation in your stomach a possible sign of salmonella? Was the seafood in your salad may be past its expiration date? And the bleeding gums – awful! if this does not stop, a check-up appointment with the dentist is due.
These are some examples of possible thoughts that occur to you before the “wrong” symptoms finally find their “right” meaning. However, what exactly points to just an upset stomach and what doesn’t?
Which signs point to a pregnancy?
A single pinch in the abdomen or one regurgitated breakfast does not yet indicate the presence of a baby. However, if the following symptoms do reoccur, or especially in combination, then it’s probably time to buy a pregnancy test:
- Tiredness: In the past, a 10-kilometer run was not a problem, now morning on the sofa feels like a marathon? This may be an indication of increased progesterone levels trying to signal you to take a rest.
- Abdominal cramps: a pulling sensation in the lower abdomen can be confusingly similar to menstrual cramps.
- Increased discharge or bleeding: whitish or colorless discharge may occur, and/or slight spotting similar to bleeding between periods. The dark discharge is also possible during the time of the regular period.
- The constant need to pee: You have the hormone HCG(Human chorionic gonadotropin) to thank for that. This hormone is also the one responsible for testing negatively or positively on the pregnancy test. It is produced by the placenta after fertilization; a higher HCG concentration means you are pregnant.
- Nausea: if your beloved morning coffee triggers rejection from your body, this could be a sign. Although not all expectant mothers have to throw up, many suffer from mild to severe nausea induced by odors or even their usual favorite foods.
- Cravings: It doesn’t have to be the famous craving for pickles with whipped cream (that’s the exception anyway). More common is an inexplicable appetite for trivial things like buttermilk, tomatoes with salt, or fruity wine gums.
- Sensitive or swollen breasts: Many women know the “balloon feeling” as a sign of an approaching period. During the(early) pregnancy, this sensation can be intensified due to the onset of breast growth.
- The different coloration of the nipples: During pregnancy, a stronger pigmentation may be found in the areola, which makes for darker skin.
- Mood swings: Unreliable colleagues or a friend with a stutter were never a problem, but now you’re always either running out of patience or sobbing along to every movie-regardless of whether the film’s events are happy or sad. These drastic changes in mood may have a very legitimate cause.
- Increased basal body temperature: If it has already been measured to determine your fertile days, and is now consistently above average for about 18 days, pregnancy is likely.
And of course – last but not least- the absence of the period. If this (almost) sure-fire symptom is combined with other symptoms then it is high time to buy a pregnancy test.
The first reaction: Panic?
Waiting for the test results can seem painfully long three minutes can feel like hours. Then they are suddenly there: the two strokes. Even if you have mentally prepared yourself for this situation all of a sudden everything is different and the emotions are just as confused as the hormone balance. Thousands of questions and concerns arise as you bounce back and forth between panic and joy.
The biggest fears
The biggest fears can usually be voiced in these three questions:
- Will I be a good mother?
- Will the pregnancy go well?
- Will my child be born healthy?
That one wishes for a healthy baby already means that the first question can likely be answered with “yes”. On the other hand, as far as the question of health is concerned, various gynecologist visits and tests can give you clarity. (Assuming these check-ups are wanted by the expectant mother. It is of course equally possible not to take advantage of these services and welcome the offspring without any additional check-ups and screenings.)
Anticipation: Balancing out the fears
In the first trimester, the anticipation of the little being that is growing in one’s own body often battles for attention with symptoms that occur during early pregnancy. Anyone who is constantly plagued by nausea and circulatory complaints may be completely absorbed in their physical discomfort. However, this phase will pass.
To distract yourself, take the time to explore the beautiful sides of pregnancy by:
- Googling potential (and crazy!) baby names: Should it be a down-to-earth name like the German “Brunhilde” – or perhaps something like “Amelia”? Is a simple “Paul” enough – or are you tending more in the direction of a double name such as “Miro-Valentin”? Incidentally, celebrity children’s names are usually a good guideline for what names to stay away from -because “Fifi Trixibelle” (Geldof) or “Journey River” (Fox) aren’t names that anyone wants to shout across the playground, are they?
- Thinking about how to set up the nursery: Where should the changing table and the bed go? Should the color scheme be modern and unisex or traditional in pink or blue?
- Picking out maternity clothes: Maternity wear used to lack style and shape, often resembling a sack of potatoes rather than an actual outfit. Thankfully these times lie behind us – nowadays it is possible to have your baby bump looking not only beautiful but looking great in your style.
- Scouting baby clothes: It’s a little too early to get the full set of equipment before the second trimester begins. Nonetheless, marveling at tiny onesies and mini socks are great fun for most women and make the anticipation of their child more concrete.
Is this still my body?
In addition to the beautiful things, however, there will continue to be feared. After the initial state of “shock”, they may not only be about the baby. Rather, many fears are about one’s own body and one’s own life:
- Constant tiredness, low resilience, no desire for movement: Am I still the master of my own body?
- Stretch marks, enlarged breasts, bodily changes: How is the pregnancy affecting my self-image?
- Maternal leave, alone time for the parents, short nights: How will my child affect my job?
- Baby environment and baby conversation topics: Will my social contacts, friends, and acquaintances change?
Out of fear of being labeled as “selfish” as an expectant mother, many women do not express these concerns. However, these thoughts are really important because only a content woman can be a good mother. What may sound like a first-person experience has direct effects on the baby and is therefore anything but an ego issue ?
Time to get some answers! Not every question can be answered or confirmed immediately, but since things are no longer only about oneself, inner peace is a worthwhile endeavor.
Here are some tips and shortcuts that will help you stay sane:
- When you are not feeling up for exercise, your inner sloth can perhaps be tempted with a compromise. Since sprinting on the treadmill is now definitely no longer allowed, taking walks and doing yoga is very much recommended. These activities reduce stress and can be done at your own pace.
- Stretch marks are depending on your body’s predisposition -usually not something that can be avoided. Do impossible photoshop ideas have the right to prevent you from seeing yourself as beautiful?
- Career and child existing side by side – but both in combination at the same time is a rare (lucky) scenario. If you take care of a baby at home, you cannot sit at your desk. Here, priorities must be set and best discussed in advance with your supervisor.
- With a child, your interests broaden: But that does not mean that all social activities now have to be exclusively baby-centered -and you can demonstrate that to your environment during pregnancy.
Let’s do it
One thing rings true for long-awaited and unplanned pregnancies alike: change is what will characterize not just the next nine months, but the next few years. Not everything is a complete surprise though. At least the beginnings of most pregnancies tend to follow a pretty typical course,
which is why the following things should find their way onto your to-do list:
- Appointment at the gynecologist: Can the pregnancy be officially confirmed?
- Conscious food consumption: What are things – such as raw milk and cheese – that you shouldn’t eat during pregnancy? What are important things – such as folic acid-that you should eat to avoid deficiencies or developmental delays?
- Revise your hobbies: Parachuting and free-climbing are no longer suitable-how for doing pilates or going swimming?
- Informing your environment: Who should be informed, with whom should you share the special news immediately and who should you wait to tell until the critical twelfth week has passed?
So, there is a lot to do – and yes, that’s only the beginning. But there is also good news: Once you allow the (initial) excitement to pass, and develop a new sense of self for your new body, your self-confidence will return as well! Then the pregnancy can be properly enjoyed as preparation for another exciting upcoming period of your life.