Side-Effects of Pregnancy

Your changing figure

Spacing Out—My Hormones Made Me Do It

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

At one point in my pregnancy I became lightheaded whenever I rose quickly from a chair or bed. Of course, I panicked. But my doctor said not to worry. He told me to drink extra fluids and eat something salty like potato chips so that I could balance out the fluid my body was using for the baby.

Your hormones guide the changes that occur in your body during pregnancy. Once the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, your body's off and running with changes designed to provide everything your baby needs—and everything you need to ultimately give birth.

But while your hormones are making these changes, you might find yourself more absentminded than usual. Do not worry about this too much—it's a very common occurrence during pregnancy. Just accept that you may need some extra sets of keys. The worst of it is the teasing you may end up taking when you space out every once in a while.

Figuring on a New Figure

As your pregnancy progresses your body is going to fill out. For some women this means more cleavage than ever. And, for some women, this is a welcome change—it can make you feel very womanly. But for other women it can be an unwelcome change—the extra weight in the chest changes both posture and carriage, and can be uncomfortable.

While you are gaining cleavage you are also filling out in the hips—and certainly in the stomach. This was nothing new to me, a lifetime weight watcher, but for some women the change in shape can be depressing.

Womanly Wisdom

If your partner's empathy for your pregnancy symptoms isn't all you'd like it to be, drop him a reminder of his role in this whole process. A little creatively applied guilt works wonders, since men are generally baffled by this whole “woman” thing.

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This

I didn't eat for two during my first pregnancy—I ate for 23! So I took a little longer than most to regain my prepregnancy shape. When I got around to it, however, I lost the weight and was in great shape for the deliveries of both my second and third children. So don't obsess over your weight during pregnancy. Use good sense in your food choices but do not allow concern about your changing figure to make you feel down about yourself. Tell yourself how beautiful you are, because you are beautiful.

And it certainly takes some getting used to: As you begin to show you lose your waist and fill out in all kinds of directions. This is a very good thing for your baby and your skeletal system, but initially it can interfere with your sense of balance. Never fear—your body will find its equilibrium eventually, so you won't topple over with the weight of the baby.

Again, your attitude will determine how well you accept the physical changes that occur during the course of your pregnancy. Remember that your bodily changes are all natural aspects of preparing for the birth of your child. You will not always be built as though you are carrying a basketball under your ribcage. And with a little effort, once the baby's born you can completely regain your prepregnancy shape.

If you are eating reasonably healthy foods, don't freak out when you see the scale creep up with each monthly visit to your ob-gyn. You are supposed to gain weight during pregnancy. Your baby is growing, and you have increased fluids and have changing nutritional needs. The thing to keep in mind is that if you're not taking care of yourself nutritionally, your body will fill your baby's needs at your expense.

Make sure that you take a good prenatal vitamin and that you eat well. Do not even consider restrictive diets or excessive exercise. Your doctor will advise you if your weight gain or loss is healthy or not.

Most of all, don't let yourself obsess about your changing figure. You have many more important and rewarding things to think about when you're having a baby—why waste time worrying about how your shape has changed?

excerpted from:

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motherhood © 1999 by Deborah Levine Herman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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