Being pregnant for the first time causes a whirlwind of emotions. They can range from excitement, anticipation, and joy to sheer terror, worry, and despair. And worse, there isn’t a woman alive –whether she has kids or not, that won’t feel the most bit inclined to share some crazy myth, horror story, or advice with you. At least in the first few weeks, you can keep the whole thing to yourself if you so choose. Once you start showing, you will feel like a walking scratch and sniff museum where the world suddenly feels like it is okay to touch your belly and talk to you about very personal issues.
Let’s cover some of the myths first. Many women are terrified during their first pregnancy because they have heard so many stories about pregnancy and childbirth. The one thing that you hear, which is true, is that yes – without a doubt, delivery will hurt. There is not must getting around it. However, no matter what someone shares with you about the horrors of giving birth…it really isn’t that bad! At least not bad, enough that you will never want to do it again. Think of how many women each and every day get pregnant and have babies. Population rates aren’t declining which seems to indicate that the whole ordeal is a positive one.
Another myth that you have heard and probably believe is that you are eating for two. You are, but you don’t have to actually double your food supply in order to provide your fetus with all it needs for survival. The truth is just as an infant steals maternal sleep; your fetus will steal everything it needs from YOU. You do need to pay particular attention to what you eat. But pregnancy does not give you the need to purchase two Big Macs from McDonalds or stay at a buffet for several hours. In fact, increasing the quality of your diet is by far the best thing that you can do for yourself and your growing baby. And in the end, you will definitely be thankful for this advice, because it will be much easier to give birth and bounce back afterwards if you remain dedicated to healthy foods rather than abundant foods.
Another hot button issue is the fact that you cannot drink coffee or your favorite soda while you pregnant. All these years, you have been enjoying a hot cup of Joe in the morning – only to be made to feel like an addict if you want to continue this habit. The 2007 Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology indicated that one cup of coffee or a soda per day is not going to cause your baby some sort of harm. And it certainly won’t cause them to be a dysfunctional or developmentally delayed infant. Alcohol is definitely out of the question and shouldn’t be touched during pregnancy. However, one cup of a caffeinated beverage is not going to hurt you. Often times, doctors will advise pregnant woman that it is better to indulge in 8 -12 ounces of their favorite caffeinated beverage than it is to feel pressured to quit.
Some of the other myths that can make a first pregnancy all butt confusing and terrifying are that you should stay away from microwaves, coloring your hair, resist raising your arms above your head and stay away from nail polish, deodorants, and even hair spray. No wonder some first pregnancy women look so horrific! The truth is that while there are some toxins in some of these products – the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology does not see them as great enough for pregnant woman to seek total avoidance. And thank goodness for that, because the hormones with pregnancy can tend to make pregnant women suffer from body odor more than they normally would. Obviously, you want to reduce your exposure to these chemicals. If you color your hair and want to look stunning in delivery pictures (good luck with that), you need to make sure that you wear a mask to avoid the fumes and that your hair color is not applied to the scalp during the last trimester.
There are also a few things that no one seems to mention with your first pregnancy. Like the fact that none of your shoes will ever fit again. Not even after you deliver. Your nose will also spread at the rate that your hips do, and can make it difficult to even recognize yourself as you enter the 2nd or 3rd trimester. Few people tell you that it is nearly impossible to groom yourself in the private areas, that your vagina will swell due to hormones and that you will spend several months leaking everything from fluid to mucous and blood. Gross, yes! You will also find that you become a walking moron when you are pregnant. You will forget your keys, forget where you park, have trouble concentrating at work or on a television show. You may have conversation that you never remember. Blame it on the hormones or whatever you want, but you will definitely find that you aren’t working from the point of clarity when it comes to focus and attention span. Perhaps this is a preparatory method to ready you for the craziness of raising children. Regardless, it can be maddening. There is also the little case of hemorrhoids, very common in a first pregnancy – which few people will talk about until you yourself admit you have them. Nice, huh?
All in all, the first pregnancy should be enjoyed as much as possible. Your next pregnancy, should you choose to have more kids will not be the same. It too will be exciting, however feeling a baby move inside you for the first time and hearing a heartbeat drumming from inside your stomach – are definitely magical the first go around. So enjoy, wear your earplugs to drown out all the ignorance around you and savor the moments. While it may feel like an eternity, the truth is in retrospect, it will feel like just yesterday that the little pregnancy test turned pink.